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EDGAR 1 class protected cruisers (9, 1893 - 1896)


Royal Arthur 1891


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Edgar A5, N05, N38   Devonport DYd 3.6.1889 24.11.1890 2.3.1893 sold 5.1921
Royal Arthur (ex-Centaur) A0, N10, N86   Portsmouth DYd 20.1.1890 26.2.1891 2.3.1893 guardship 2.1915, depot ship late 1915
Hawke A9   Chatham DYd 17.6.1889 11.3.1891 16.5.1893 sunk 15.10.1914
Endymion A6, N17, N41 335 Earle, Hull 21.11.1889 22.7.1891 26.5.1894 sold 3.1921
Grafton A8, N23, N53   Thames Iron Wks, Blackwall 1.1.1890 30.1.1892 18.10.1894 sold 7.1920
Crescent A4, N04, N29   Portsmouth DYd 13.10.1890 30.3.1892 22.2.1894 guardship 2.1915, depot ship 11.1915
Gibraltar A7, N19, N49 420 Napier, Glasgow 2.12.1889 27.4.1892 1.11.1894 depot ship 6.1915
St. George   341 Earle, Hull 23.4.1890 23.6.1892 25.10.1894 depot ship 3.1910
Theseus 2A, N14, N98   Thames Iron Wks, Blackwall 16.7.1890 8.9.1892 14.1.1896 sold 11.1921

Technical data

Displacement normal, t

Edgar, Hawke, Endymion, Grafton, Theseus: 7350

Royal Arthur, Crescent, Gibraltar, St. George: 7700

Displacement full, t


Length, m

109.7 pp 118.1 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 VITE, 4 cylindrical double-ended and 1 cylindrical single-ended boilers

Power, h. p.

natural draught: 10000

forced draught: 12000

Max speed, kts

natural draught: 18

forced draught: 20

Fuel, t

coal 1250

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mmsteel; deck: 127 - 76, gunshields of 234mm guns: 76, casemates: 152, ammunition hoists: 178 - 51? CT: 305

Edgar, Hawke, Endymion, Grafton, Gibraltar, St. George, Theseus: 2 x 1 - 234/32 BL Mk VI, 10 x 1 - 152/40 QF Mk I/II, 12 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 5 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 - 450 TT (2 beam sub, 2 beam aw)

Royal Arthur, Crescent: 1 x 1 - 234/32 BL Mk VI, 12 x 1 - 152/40 QF Mk I/II, 12 x 1 - 57/40 6pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 5 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 4 - 450 TT (2 beam sub, 2 beam aw)



Standard scale images

<i>Hawke </i>1905
Hawke 1905
<i>Crescent </i>1908
Crescent 1908


<i>Royal Arthur </i>1891
Royal Arthur 1891
<i>Endymion </i>1916
Endymion 1916

Project history

Provided under the Naval Defence Act of 1889, these ships were reduced editions of the Blake class with the same armour and armament arrangement. Displacement was reduced by 1800t by adopting a smaller machinery plant, for a designed speed of 20kts, and a reduced coal stowage giving an endurance of 10000nm at 10kts. However, the machinery proved very reliable and most exceeded the designed speed on trial. As the Blake class had not achieved their designed speed and endurance, the Edgars proved equal to their predecessors in everything except the thickness of their armoured deck while representing a substantial saving in size and cost. In service they proved to be very good seaboats and exceptional steamers. The Royal Arthur averaged 18kts for 48 hours after serving 18 months as flagship of the Pacific station without entering a dockyard, and her sisters achieved similar performances at various times. Besides the main boiler plant they carried a single-ended cyl boiler for auxiliary use.

The Gibraltar, Crescent, Royal Arthur and St. George were sheathed in wood and copper for tropical service which added 350t to their displacements, reduced speed by 0.5t and lowered their endurance. The Crescent and Royal Arthur were fitted with a forecastle, to increase freeboard forward and improve seaworthiness, and carried two 152mm QF guns forward in place of the single 234mm.

Royal Arthur was laid down as Centaur but was renamed in 1890.

Ship protection

The arched steel protective (lower) deck was 76mm on the crown and 127mm at the sides, the top being 0.5m above Iwl and the outer edge 2m below. Engine hatches were protected by 152mm armour.


late 1914, Edgar, Endymion, Grafton, Gibraltar, St. George, Theseus: - 2 x 1 - 234/32; + 2 x 1 - 152/40 QF Mk I/II

late 1914, Royal Arthur, Crescent: - 1 x 1 - 234/32

2-5/1915, Edgar, Endymion, Grafton, Theseus: were bulged

1915-1918, all survived: + some AA guns

Naval service

Crescent in February 1915 was reduced to guardship, she was paid off in November 1915 and disarmed as depot ship, sold for BU in September 1921. Edgar served as Boys` TS till May 1909. Endymion served as tender to HMS Widfire for gunnery training in 1906-1912. Gibraltar early in 1915 was disarmed and converted to depot ship for the Northern Patrol. Later she formed part of the anti-submarine school at Portland and in 1919-1922 served as destroyer depot ship, sold for BU in September 1923. Grafton served as tender to HMS Excellent in 1905-1913, 11.6.1917 she was damaged by a torpedo hit but returned to Malta for repairs, in 1919 on Black Sea she served as depot ship for British ships supporting the White Russians, sold in July 1920. Hawke was Boys` TS till August 1906, served with Nore torpedo school until 1907. 20.9.1911 she lost her ram bow in collision with liner Olympic in the Solent. She was repaired but without a stiffened ram. Hawke was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 524 men by German submarine U9 15.10.1914 in North Sea between Peterhead and Stavanger. Royal Arthur was reduced to guardship in February 1915 and then became a depot ship for submarines, paid off in December 1920 and sold in September 1921. St. George served as Boys` TS till May 1906, converted to a destroyer depot ship in 1909-1910, in 1917 converted to submarine depot ship and sold in July 1920. Theseus was a tender to HMS Cambridge in 1905-1913, in 1918 she served as depot ship for trawlers, she was paid off in February 1920 and sold for BU in November 1921.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.