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MONMOUTH 1 class armoured cruisers (10, 1903 - 1904)


Cumberland as built


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Kent P27, P80, P99   Portsmouth DYd 12.2.1900 6.3.1901 1.10.1903 sold 6.1920
Essex 51, 62 236 Pembroke DYd 1.1.1900 29.8.1901 22.3.1904 sold 11.1921
Bedford   414 Fairfield, Govan 19.2.1900 31.8.1901 11.11.1903 wrecked 21.8.1910
Monmouth D28 304 London & Glasgow, Glasgow 29.8.1899 13.11.1901 2.12.1903 sunk 1.11.1914
Lancaster 71, 78 714 Armstrong, Elswick 4.3.1901 22.3.1902 5.4.1904 sold 3.1920
Donegal 9C, 55 417 Fairfield, Govan 14.2.1901 4.9.1902 5.11.1903 sold 7.1920
Berwick 36, P74, P08 474 Beardmore, Dalmuir 19.4.1901 20.9.1902 9.12.1903 sold 7.1920
Cornwall D31, P04, P84 237 Pembroke DYd 11.3.1901 29.10.1902 1.12.1904 TS 1919, sold 6.1920
Cumberland D37, P76, P86 312 London & Glasgow, Glasgow 19.2.1901 16.12.1902 1.12.1904 sold 5.1921
Suffolk 20, P87, PA5   Portsmouth DYd 25.3.1901 15.1.1903 21.5.1904 TS 1919, sold 7.1920

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t


Length, m

134.1 pp 141.3 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



Kent, Essex, Bedford, Monmouth, Lancaster, Donegal, Cumberland: 2 4-cyl VTE, 31 Belleville boilers

Berwick, Suffolk: 2 4-cyl VTE, 31 Niclausse boilers

Cornwall: 2 4-cyl VTE, 31 Babcock boilers

Power, h. p.


Max speed, kts


Fuel, t

coal 1600

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mmbelt: 102 - 51, bulkhead: 127, decks: 51 - 19, turrets: 127, barbettes: 127, casemates: 102 - 51, ammunition hoists: 51, CT: 254

2 x 2 - 152/45 BL Mk VIII, 10 x 1 - 152/45 BL Mk VII, 10 x 1 - 76/40 12pdr 12cwt QF Mk I, 3 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 2 - 450 TT (sub, beam)



Standard scale images

<i>Kent </i>1905
Kent 1905


<i>Cumberland </i>as built
Cumberland as built

Project history

The Monmouth class was built in answer to a general increase in armoured cruiser construction in foreign navies, Kent and Essex being provided under a supplementary estimate to the 1898/99 Programme, Bedford and Monmouth under the 1899/1900 Programme and the remainder under the 1900/01 Programme. The ships represented an attempt to provide first class cruisers of equal speed to the Drake class but of smaller size so that they would be cheaper to build and operate, more economic on manpower and could be built in larger numbers. This object was achieved by substantial reductions in both armour and armament, enabling the displacement to be bought down to 9800t. However they were heavily criticised for these reductions in fighting power and were regarded by many as second rate ships which could not adequately fulfil the functions for which they had been designed.     Four of the 152mm guns were mounted in twin turrets on the forecastle and quarterdeck while the remainder were mounted in two-storey casemates abreast the fore- and mainmasts and in single casemates on each side amidships. The turrets were electrically operated and promised to be one of the best features of the design but the electrical gear proved to be unreliable, the gunhouses too cramped for efficient operation and the guns difficult to align due to their being fitted in a single cradle.     All exceeded the designed power on trials, but three, Essex, Monmouth and Kent were accepted at slightly less than the design speed. Lancaster and Suffolk, however, made 24 and 24.7kts respectively at full power, while the remainder averaged 23.6kts. In general they were good steamers and seaboats but they had very fine lines fore and aft which, combined with the weight of the turrets, tended to cause heavy pitching in rough weather.

Ship protection

The arrangement of armour was the same as that in Cressy but of generally reduced thickness. The main 102mm belt was 73.8m long by 3.5m deep amidships and was continued to the stem by 51mm thick side armour. The protective deck was 64mm thick abaft the armoured bulkhead and 19mm for the length of the belt, while the main deck was 32mm for the length of the belt.


1917, Berwick, Cornwall, Essex, Kent, Lancaster: - 6 x 1 - 152/45 (in lower casemates); + 4 x 1 - 152/45 BL Mk VII (in shields on the shelter deck)

Naval service

Bedford wrecked at Quelpart Island in the China Sea 21.8.1910, wreck was sold for BU in October. Cornwall and Suffolk served as Cadets` TSs from 1919 until paid off for disposal. Donegal collided with merchant ship off Gibraltar in December 1909 but repaired.

Monmouth was sunk by German cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau 1.11.1914 off Coronel.

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