Northumberland (70)

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Origin and History

The ship was built at Plymouth and launched on December 1 1750.

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

  • since 1753 until 1762: captain Alexander lord Colville

The ship was renamed "Leviathan" on September 13 1777 and converted into a storeship.

The ship foundered on February 27 1780 on her way home from Jamaica.

Service during the War

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. After refitting, Holbourne sailed for Great Britain, leaving a few ships under captain lord Colville, of the Northumberland, to winter at Halifax. Lord Colville had orders to endeavour, when the season should permit, to prevent supplies from getting into Louisbourg.

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 loosing 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. However, he also left captain lord Colville in command of a small squadron, including this ship, in North America.

To do: campaigns from 1760 to 1763


Technical specifications
Guns 70

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

Gun deck 26 x 32 pdrs
Upper gun deck 28 x 18 pdrs
Quarter deck 12 x 9 pdrs
Forecastle 4 x 9 pdrs
Crew 520
Length 160 ft (48,77 m.) at gun deck level
Width 45 ft (13,72 m.)
Depth 19 ft 4 in (5,89 m.)
Displacement 1414 tons (1283 metric tons)


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, pp. 167-169, 171-172

Phillip, Michael, Ships of the Old Navy

Wikipedia, HMS Northumberland (1750)

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