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Personnel => Royal Navy => Topic started by: Ciaran Lynch on 27 January 2020 11:41:58 am

Title: HMS Brilliant - 1833 - Sir Richard Spencer
Post by: Ciaran Lynch on 27 January 2020 11:41:58 am

I'm researching the life and times of certain individuals who emigrated to the town of Albany in Western Australia during the 1830s. One of these men was Sir Richard Spencer of Lyme Regis, KCH (9 December 1779 – 24 July 1839. Spencer and his family arrived aboard the Buffalo but had chartered HMS Brilliant to deliver their chattels. HMS Brilliant (1814) was a 36-gun fifth rate launched in 1814, renamed Briton in 1889 and sold in 1908.[1]

My aim here is to find the muster for the Brilliant on that voyage under Captain Hopton, but it is proving difficult. It may have been there was another privately owned Brilliant but it seems unlikely. Could anyone point me in a direction where I'm likely to find the muster?   I have already searched the newspapers. Who was aboard that vessell August to November 1833, Portsmouth to Sydney via The Cape, Fremantle, King George Sound (Albany) and Hobart, is paramount to this search.  Many thanks for any suggestions.

Kind regards,

Ciaran Lynch
Title: Re: HMS Brilliant - 1833 - Sir Richard Spencer
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 28 January 2020 11:24:03 am

It cannot have been HMS Brilliant.   Although launched in December 1814, she was not completed and was instead 'housed over' and laid up at Chatham until 1844, when she was rebuilt as a 24-gun corvette. 
It must therefore have been a merchant vessel of the same name.
Title: Re: HMS Brilliant - 1833 - Sir Richard Spencer
Post by: PhiloNauticus on 28 January 2020 03:11:19 pm
The Brilliant referred to was certainly a merchant vessel, not naval.

1834 Lloyds Register records the Brilliant, A G Hopton commander,  196 tons, built in Sweden, 1804
rigged as a ship, sheathed with copper, single deck, built of oak and fir as sailing to Van Diemens Land in 1833-34.   The description is later amended to being rigged as a Brig, which coincides with newspaper reports

From The Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser, 16 February 1831:

“Is entered Out at the Custom House, and will Sail in all this Month, having a great part of her Cargo engaged:
the fine coppered Ship BRILLIANT;
Abney George Hopton, Commander; burthen 250 tons; lying in the St Katherine Dock. 
Has very superior accommodation for Passengers, having 6 feet 6 inches between decks
and will carry an experienced Surgeon
For Freight and Passengers, apply to:

Abney George Hopton, was shown as the captain of the ship Mary Ann that sailed from Plymouth for New South Wales in May 1829 before being shown in command of the Brilliant; his will was proved in 1841.

Searching ship movements in Lloyds List for the period, shows the Brilliant, Hopson, on at least two round trips to Australia:

27 May 1831 sailed Plymouth “for Van Diemens Land”
reported arriving Hobart 15 November with cargo and passengers; later to Launceston and Sydney. Sailed in April 1832 to return to England loaded with sperm oil and wool

10 May 1833 sailed Deal for Cape of Good Hope and Australia
8 November – arr Swan River.  A very full report of the cargo carried is listed in the Sydney Herald 17 February 1834.  Also noted two passengers – Mr P C Abbott and Mrs Soder and child

8 Dec 1833 – reported departing Swan River, for King Georges Sound and Hobart
25 Jan 1834 – reported arriving Hobart “from King Georges Sound”, with cargo and passengers, Mr Jordan, Mr O’Neil and Mr Lewis

10 Oct 1834 - arr Gravesend from Sydney NSW

Title: Re: HMS Brilliant - 1833 - Sir Richard Spencer
Post by: Ciaran Lynch on 29 January 2020 03:17:50 pm
Thank you very much indeed. I am indebted to you for this information. So it was the merchant vessel Brilliant.
You are so thorough in the detail provided I believe the muster/passenger list did not survive.

There is a family of six who arrived at King george Sound around this time, though no record of them prior to 1836 is extant.
James Newell, wife and four of their their six children, of Elstead, Surrey, may have been aboard Brilliant for this voyage.

Many thanks again.

Kind regards,

Ciaran Lynch