H.M.S. Pallas: historical reconstruction of an 18th-century Royal Navy frigate
A 1998 joint survey undertaken by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and Portuguese
authorities located and identified the sunken remains of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Pallas
(1757-1783) off of the Azorean island of SÃ£o Jorge. Physical remains are so limited as to suggest
that excavation would likely yield little new information. However, much documentary evidence
has been preserved in Admiralty archives.
Contemporary treatises about 18th-century British ship construction focus on glossaries
of terms, scantling lists and design theory, and include only short sections on frigates insofar as
they apply to those topics. They rarely address specific construction aspects. Most current works
address individual aspects of ship construction for the period, but provide little significant detail
about the frigate as a ship type. All of these works are useful and reliable, however none attempt
to combine the ship with the crew, or pursue the complete history of one ship.
As the flagship of a prototypical class, intended to address French superiority in cruiser
design, it is reasonable to expect that a history of Pallas would exist with some analysis of how
successfully these new frigates fulfilled the Royal NavyÂ?s perceived need. However, to date
there has been no attempt to consolidate the evidence of her 26-year career. This study provides
a comprehensive history of a single ship from perceived need and conceived solution through
design and construction. The shipÂ?s logbooks and additional primary sources made it possible to accurately document and analyze PallasÂ? activities, maintenance, modifications, and ultimately
to draw conclusions about the overall effectiveness of the frigate type.
I began with basic background information to establish the perceived need for a new
frigate type, followed by an examination of the conceived design solution. A partial set of
admiralty drafts served as a foundation from which to develop a more complete set of
construction plans, a spar plan, and rigging plans. Comprehensive research into life aboard Royal
Navy warships of the period provided a social context within which to examine the service
history of Pallas. Finally, a review of the maintenance record and the events leading up to her
sinking enabled an informed assessment of how well HMS Pallas fulfilled the perceived need
for which she was developed.
Advisor:Crisman, Kevin J.; Bradford, James C.; Castro, Filipe V.
School:Texas A&M University
School Location:USA - Texas
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:royal navy frigate reconstruction
Date of Publication:05/01/2005