Prison Hulks



A prison hulk was a floating prison ship in which convicts could be held prior to transportation to a penal colony by a convict ship

The Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books record the names of people incarcerated aboard these vessels.


The list below shows the Prison Hulks which are mentioned in the Calderdale Companion


HMS BellerophonRef 458-4
Launched [1786]. Served in the Battle of Trafalgar, she became a prison hulk [1815]. Renamed Captivity [October 1824]. Sold [January 1836].

Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:

HMS DolphinRef 458-20
Launched as an East Indiaman named Admiral Rainier, which the Navy bought and renamed HMS Hindostan. The Admiralty purchased her in 1804 for service as a 50-gun Fourth-rate. She was converted into a 20-gun storeship in 1811. She was renamed Dolphin [1819] and Justitia [1831]. Sold in 1855.

Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:

HMS EdgarRef 458-23
Launched in 1779. Converted to a prison hulk [1813]. Renamed Retribution [1814]. Broken up [1835]

HMS FortitudeRef 458-26
Recorded in 1833 & 1844.
  1. Fortitude was launched in 1780. Served as a prison hulk [from 1795]. She was broken up [1820]
  2. Fortitude was launched as HMS Cumberland [1807]. Converted to a prison hulk [1830], Renamed Fortitude [1833]. Up for sale [1870]

    Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:

HMS GanymedeRef 458-28
A French frigate called Hébé captured in 1809. Became a prison hulk [1819]. Broken up in 1838.

Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:

HMS HindostanRef 458-9

See HMS Dolphin and HMS Justitia

HMS JustitiaRef 458-35
  1. Justitia

    Vice Admiral Richard Onslow captured the Zeeland from the Dutch at Plymouth [4th March 1796]. Renamed Justitia [1812]. Broken up [1830], and her name transferred to Dolphin.

  2. Justitia

    Launched as Admiral Rainier. Bought by the Admiralty [1804] , and named HMS Hindostan. Converted into a storeship [1811]. Again renamed Dolphin [1819]. Became a prison hulk, and renamed Justitia [1830]. Sold in 1855.

    Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:

HMS LeviathanRef 458-40
Launched at Chatham [1790].

She fought at the Battle of Trafalgar, under Captain Henry William Bayntun, she was near the front of the windward column led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard his flagship HMS Victory. Captain Bayntun captured the Spanish vessel San Augustin. Four of the Leviathan crew died with more than 20 wounded.

Used as a prison hulk at Portsmouth [from 1816]. Used as a naval target [October 1846]. Sold [1848]

Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:

HMS RetributionRef 458-54
Launched as HMS Edgar [1779]. Converted into a prison hulk [1813]. Renamed Retribution [1814]. Broken up [1835].

Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:

HMS WarriorRef 458-66
Launched in 1781. Became a receiving ship [after 1818]. A prison hulk [after 1840]. Broken up [1857].

Prisoners recorded on this hulk include:



© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 18:42 / 1st July 2021 / 8194

Page Ref: MMP1156

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