General Bibliography



All the ‘Hornblower’ series                        C.S. Forester

All the ‘Jack Aubrey’ series                        Patrick O’Brien

Both the above series provide exciting adventures set against an authentic background of life at sea, and are highly recommended, both as a good read and for their technical accuracy.


Welcome Aboard the Frigate Unicorn

Roderick Stewart                        1982


Mariners’ Meals and Other Daily Details

Una Robertson                        1982


The Guns of the Frigate Unicorn

Roderick Stewart                        1980


Tay Division Royal Naval Reserve 1861-1994

Roderick Stewart & Anna Kettles  1994


Fully detailed technical drawings of the 18-pounder guns as fitted in UNICORN are also available.


The Wooden Fighting Ship

E.H.H. Archibald

1968                        Blandford

A colourful and accessible overview of sailing warship development, lively illustrations.


An Illustrated History of the Royal Navy

John Winton, in association with the Royal Naval Museum

2000                        Salamander Books, London

Attractively illustrated and well written summary.


The Adventures of Tintin:  The Secret of the Unicorn


1959                        Methuen

Pure fiction, not even this Unicorn, but fun.


The years since c1970 have seen an extraordinary flourish of very high quality publishing on naval history.  In particular, the output from Conway Maritime Press, and now from Chatham Publishing, have provided us with a range of beautifully produced volumes which cover every aspect of war at sea under sail.  These are all attractive and authoritative volumes, well written and profusely illustrated.  Some of the finest recent works are listed below, but the list is by no means comprehensive.


Nelson’s Navy:  The Ships, Men and Organisation 1793-1815

Brian Lavery

1989                        Conway Maritime Press

Excellent!  Probably the best overall summary of the sailing navy.


Frigates of the Napoleonic Wars

Robert Gardiner

2000                        Chatham Publishing

The most comprehensive history of the design, development and employment of the sailing frigate yet published  Highly recommended.


The Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War 1600-1815

Brian Lavery

1987                        Conway Maritime Press

Excellent technical resource for modelmakers and others.


Seamanship in the Age of Sail

John Harland

1984                        Conway Maritime Press

Illustrated by Mark Myers, a fascinating summary of the practicalities of shiphandling.


Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail:  The Evolution of Fighting Tactics 1650-1815

Brian Tunstall,  Dr Nicholas Tracey (Ed)

1990                        Conway Maritime Press

A comprehensive analysis of all the major fleet actions and the development of naval tactics.


A History of the French Frigate  1650-1850

Jean Boudriot

1993                        Jean Boudriot Publications, Rotherfield, East Sussex

Comprehensive and thoroughly illustrated.


Fregatte de 18  LA VENUS 1782

Jean Boudriot, H Berti

C1990                        Editions ANCRE, 18 Avenue du Bel Air, Paris

Excellent review of a representative French frigate, with a full set of technical drawings and specifications.


Broke and the Shannon

Peter Padfield

1968                        Hodder & Stoughton

The story of one of the most famous frigate captains ever, and his ship.


The Frigate DIANA

David White

1987                        Conway Maritime Press (Anatomy of the Ship series)

A highly detailed description of the 1794 frigate HMS Diana with comprehensive drawings.


The Sailing Navy List

David Lyon

1993                        Conway Maritime Press

A masterpiece of research and compilation, listing and, for the first time, classifying all the ships of the Royal Navy from 1688-1860.