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Chart of "Line of Batle [sic]" with instructions

 Collection — Folder: 1
Call Number: MS P517


Chart of "Line of Batle [sic]" with instructions for communication by signals, sent by Vice-Admiral Sir Stafford Fairborne, commanding twelve Royal Navy ships in the North Atlantic off Kingsale, Ireland, to Captain Miles [i.e. Josian Mighells] in preparation for British battle with French ships during the Spanish War of Succession. Written aboard the HMS Medway in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Kingsale, Ireland.


  • June 4, 1704


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1 folder : 1 leaf , folded (4 pages). Binding: unbound; stub along spine indicates previously in an album or book. Scribe: clerk; signed in different hand "S Fairborne" on page 1.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession against the French, Admirals Shovell and Rooke were commanding fleets in the Mediterranean and the Channel. In May a squadron under Shovell went out to attack the French fleet fitting at Brest; after a fortnight's desultory action, Shovell joined Rooke, leaving Vice-Admiral Fairborne to carry on in the Channel. Shovell and Rooke took Cadiz in the end of July; nothing seems to be known of Fairbonne's action for the rest of the year

The names of the twelve ships, as recorded by the clerk, are: Revenge, Hazerdus, Hamshaire, Rupert, Medway, Pembrook, Moderate, Glocester, Ipswich, Flamburgh frigate, Terrable fireship, Medstone.

The commanders of the ships are identifiable as Kerr (Captain William Kerr, RN, active 1688-1708), Stepney (Capt. Thomas Stepney, R.N., active 1692, died 1740), Litleton. (Vice-Admiral James Littleton, R.N., active 1693, died 1723), Arris (Capt. Robert Arris [or Arries], R.N., active 1692, died 1720), Wakelin (Capt. William Wakelin, R.N., active 1692, died 1705) Miles (Captain Josiah Mighells, RN, active 1693-died 1707), and, tentatively, Harris (Captain Barrow Harris, active 1697-died 1725), Fogg (Christopher Fogg, captain 1693-died 1708), Lumley (Henry Lumley, captain 1693-died 1720 or George Lumley, appointed captain 1706), and Meads (Thomas Mead, captain 1703, died 1704 or Samuel Mead, captain 1708, died 1725).

Page 1 is "Line of Batle," a chart listing 12 ships, their commanders, number of men and guns. Page 2 provides Instructions for reading the colored pendants displayed by the Admiral's ship when he wishes to speak to one of the ships. Page 3 is blank, and page has the address "Flamburgh" and docketing "Sr Stafford Fairbone."

Physical Location

MS P517

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bristow, 1978


  • Charnock, John. Biographia navalis; or, Impartial memoirs of the lives and characters of officers of the navy of Great Britain, from the year 1660 to the present timeā€¦. London: R. Faulder, 1794-1798.
  • National Maritime Museum (Great Britain). Library. Biography.. London: H.M.S.O., 1969.
Guide to British Instructions for Naval Battle during War of Spanish Succession.
Chart of "Line of Batle [sic]" with instructions
Finding aid prepared by alh, 1978; revised by ksc, 2006. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2006.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
British Instructions for Naval Battle during War of Spanish Succession, MS P517, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States