Orford (70)

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Navies >> British Navy >> Orford (70)

Origin and History

The ship was built at Woolwich by Thomas Fellowes and launched on November 15, 1749.

During the Seven Years' War, the ship was under the command of:

  • from April 5, 1755: Captain Charles Steevens
  • from January 17, 1757: Captain John Montagu
  • from January 27, 1757: Captain Richard Spry
  • from November 11, 1761 to September 20, 1763: Captain Marriot Arbuthnot

On April 19 1777, the ship was renamed "HMS Grampus" and used as a store ship. In June 1783, the ship was sunk as breakwater.

Service during the War

In November 1755, the ship was part of counter-admiral West's squadron cruising off the coast of France. On November 13 towards 10:00 a.m. some 400 km west of Yeu Island, this squadron intercepted the slow Espérance (74) armed as a flute with only 22 guns, who was returning from Louisbourg. At 4:00 p.m., the Orford presented herself on the portside of the Espérance. The Orford fired the 35 guns of her starboard side. The Espérance could oppose her only 11 guns (18-pdrs and 8-pdrs) of her portside. The combat lasted for three hours, the conduct of the French crew forcing the admiration of its British opponents. At 9:00 p.m., the Espérance was surrounded by the four British ships of the squadron and a prize crew sent aboard.

In 1757, the ship was part of Admiral Holbourne's squadron which left Ireland on May 5 for the planned expedition against Louisbourg. By July 10, the entire squadron was finally at anchor before Halifax where it made its junction with Hardy's squadron. However on August, when the combined fleet was ready to set sail, Louisbourg had already been reinforced by three French squadron and governor Loudon canceled the whole enterprise. Holbourne's squadron stayed off Louisbourg till September 25 when it was shattered by a most terrible storm. It then returned to Great Britain in a very bad condition.

At the beginning of 1758, the ship was part of the fleet who assembled at Portsmouth under the command of admiral Edward Boscawen for a new expedition against Louisbourg. On February 19, this fleet set sail for Halifax and finally arrived there on May 9. On May 28, the fleet sailed from Halifax and arrived in sight of Louisbourg on June 1. Throughout the siege of Louisbourg, the fleet actively supported the British army and the fortress finally surrendered on July 26.

In February 1759, the ship sailed from Spithead in Great Britain as part of the fleet destined for the expedition against Québec. The voyage was long and tedious. On April 21, when the fleet finally reached Louisbourg, it was to find the harbour blocked with ice, so that the fleet made for Halifax instead. The fleet finally sailed for Louisbourg in May. Between June 1 and 6, the fleet gradually left the harbour of Louisbourg and sailed for Québec. On June 23, Saunders' fleet made a junction with Durell's squadron at Isles-aux-Coudres. On June 26, the whole British fleet of Vice-Admiral Saunders was anchored safely off the southern shore of Isle-d'Orléans, a few km below Québec without losing a single ship. The town finally surrendered on September 18. At the end of October, Vice-Admiral Saunders fired his farewell salute and dropped down the Saint-Laurent river with his fleet on his way to Great Britain.

On April 4, 1760, the ship captured the privateer La Marguerite (8).

On August 13, 1761, the ship captured the privateers La Sardoine (14) and L'Anémone (14) in the Bay of Biscay.

On February 25, 1762, the ship sailed for the Leeward Islands. From June to August, she took part in the British expedition against Cuba and in the capture of Havanna.


Technical specifications
Guns 70

N.B.: reported with 68 guns in 1757 by "Complete History"

Lower gun deck 26 x 32-pdrs
Upper gun deck 28 x 18-pdrs
Quarterdeck 12 x 9-pdrs
Forecastle 2 x 9-pdrs
Crew 520
Length 160 ft (48.77 m)
Width 45 ft (13.72 m)
Depth 19 ft 4 in (5.8 m)
Displacement 1,414 tons BM


Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 202-205, 233-235

Blasco, Manuel, British 3rd Rates, 3 Decks Wiki

Clowes, Wm. Laird, The Royal Navy – A History from the Earliest Time to the Present, Vol. III, Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London: 1898, p. 289

Parkman, Francis, Montcalm and Wolfe, Collier Books, New York, 1884

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.