The Gloucester Project

The Cromwellian Navy and the Building of the Gloucester

Commissioned in 1652 just three years after Charles I’s trial and execution for ‘tyrannical power’, the Gloucester frigate was part of an unprecedented expansion to the English navy under the Cromwellian regimes with 207 warships integrated between 1649−60. In 1652 England was at war with the Dutch Republic and eleven warships were built as part of the Programme to enhance the nation’s fighting forces. The Gloucester was built at a private dockyard in Limehouse under the supervision of the shipwright Mathew Graves and launched in the spring of 1654, with a complement of 54 guns and 280 crew.

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'Bouw van een schip' in Navium Variae Figurae by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647. © Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam