Warley (1796 ship)

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The East Indiaman 'Warley', Robert Salmon, 1801, National Maritime Museum
Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg East India CompanyGreat Britain
Name: Warley
  • Voyages 1-6:Henry Boulton
  • Voyages 7-9:Martin Lindsay
Builder: Perry & Co., Blackwall
Launched: 15 November 1796[1]
Fate: Broken up 1816
General characteristics
Type: East Indiaman
Tons burthen: 1498, or 14706094[1] (bm)
Length: 176 ft 5 in (53.8 m) (overall); 143 ft 5 58 in (43.7 m) (keel)
Beam: 43 ft 9 in (13.3 m)
Depth of hold: 17 ft 6 12 in (5.3 m)
Complement: 140[2]
  • 1st letter of marque:34 x 18-pounder guns + 12 x 6-pounder guns.[2]
  • 2nd letter of marque:32 x 18-pounder guns + 12 x 6-pounder guns.

The Warley, launched in 1796, was a 1475-ton East Indiaman and one of the East India Company's larger and more famous vessels. She made nine voyages to the East between 1796 and 1816, most direct to China. In 1804 she participated in the Battle of Pulo Aura. In 1816, the company sold her for breaking up.


She was the second East Indiaman under that name that John Perry built at his yard in Blackwall Yard. Perry built her predecessor in 1788; in 1795 the East India Company sold the first of Perry's Warleys to the Royal Navy, which renamed her HMS Calcutta.

Warley's captain for her first five voyages was Henry Wilson, who had also been captain of the first Warley for her two voyages.[3]

Voyages 1, 2 and 3

Warley sailed under a letter of marque dated 1 January 1797, which named Wilson as the captain.[2]

  • Voyage 1: The destination was the coast of India and China. Warley left on 19 March 1797 and arrived back in British waters on 22 October 1798.[4]
  • Voyage 2: The destination was China. She left on 18 June 1799 and returned on 2 October 1800.[5]
  • Voyage 3: The destination was China. She left on 19 May 1801 and returned on 9 September 1802.[6]

Voyage 4: the Battle of Pulo Aura

The Napoleonic Wars having broken out, Wilson took out a second letter of marque, this one dated 20 June 1803.[2] Warley left Britain on 6 May 1803 for China.[7] It was on the return leg of this voyage that Warley had her greatest moment of glory.

File:Defeat of Admiral Linois.jpg
Defeat of Adml. Linois by Commodore Dance, Feby. 15th. 1804, by William Daniel

Wilson, in Warley, was second in command to Nathaniel Dance, who commanded the East Indiamen that were sailing in convoy back from China. As they were passing through the Straits of Malacca, they encountered a French squadron under Rear-Admiral the Comte de Linois, who hoped to seize as many of them as he could.[8]

Dance ordered his fleet to form a line of battle, while creating a bluff that four of his Indiamen were a squadron of ships of the line escorting the convoy. A skirmish ensued with the result that Linois, somewhat inexplicably, withdrew.[8]

Warley played a significant part and Lloyd's Patriotic Fund voted Wilson 500 guineas and a piece of plate worth 50 guineas. All the other captains received similar awards, with the officers and crews also receiving awards. Dance refused a baronetcy but was subsequently knighted.[8]

Warley arrived back in Britain on 14 August 1804.[7]

Voyages 5 to 9

  • Voyage 5: Wilson sailed Warley to China. She left on 25 April 1805 and returned on 7 September 1806.[9]
  • Voyage 6: Captain William Augustus Montague took over command. He sailed Warley to Madras, Ceylon, Bombay and China. She left on 22 June 1807 and returned on 10 December 1809.[10] Her itinerary was Portsmouth, Simons Bay, Cape of Good Hope, Madras, Colombo, Tellicherry, Managalore, Bombay, Penang, Whampoa anchorage, St Helena, and Blackwall.[3]
  • Voyage 7: Captain John Collins left Portsmouth on 8 April 1811 for China via Simons Bay and Penang, arriving at Whampoa on 22 October. She left the Pearl River on 12 January 1812 and returned on 14 May, having stopped in St Helena.[3]
  • Voyage 8: Collins left Portsmouth on 18 March 1813 for Madras and China. She sailed via Tenerife and Johanna (Comoro Islands), arriving at Madras on 9 August. She then sailed via Penang and Malacca, arriving at Whampoa on 25 October. She left on 22 February 1814 and by 6 August was in the Downs, having stopped at St Helena on the way.[3]
  • Voyage 9: Collins left the Downs on 3 April 1815 and reached Whampoa on 11 September. She left on 3 December and on 29 April arrived at the Downs, having stopped at St Helena. This was her last voyage.[3]


Warley was sold on 26 July 1816 at Lloyd's Coffee House for breaking up.[1]

Notable passengers

  • The first academic director of the Royal Naval College, Portsmouth, when it commenced operations in 1808, was Professor James Inman, who had returned to Britain from Port Jackson on the Warley. He was on board during the Battle of Pulo Auro and commanded a party of Lascar pikemen.[11]
  • The marine painter Clarkson Stanfield joined the merchant service under the name "Patrick Bland" as a seaman on board the Warley and sailed for China in 1815. He made numerous sketches on the voyage, which gave him material for his subsequent career.

Citations and references


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hackman (2001), pp.211-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Letter of Marque,[1] - accessed 15 May 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Archives
  4. Hardy and Hardy (1811), p.183.
  5. Hardy and Hardy (1811), p.198.
  6. Hardy and Hardy (1811), p.211.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hardy and Hardy (1811), p.228.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Hardy and Hardy (1811), pp. 119-125.
  9. Hardy and Hardy (1811), p.245.
  10. Hardy and Hardy (1811), p.246.
  11. Dickins (2007), p.47.


  • Dickins, Harry W. (2007) Educating the Royal Navy: 18th and 19th Century Education for Officers. (London: Routledge)
  • Hackman, Rowan (2001) Ships of the East India Company. (Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society). ISBN 0-905617-96-7
  • Hardy, Charles and Horatio Charles Hardy (1811) A register of ships, employed in the service of the Honorable the United East India Company, from the year 1760 to 1810: with an appendix, containing a variety of particulars, and useful information interesting to those concerned with East India commerce. (London: Black, Parry, and Kingsbury).
  • Miller, Russell (1988 [1980]). The East Indiamen. Amsterdam: Time-Life Books. ISBN 0-7054-0635-0.