Deal Dockyard

From Naval History Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search
HM Naval Dockyard, Deal
Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
Part of Downs Station
Nore Station
Deal in United Kingdom
Site information
OperatorRoyal Navy
Controlled byNavy Board
Board of Admiralty
Site history
In use1672-1864

Deal Dockyard or formally H.M. Naval Dockyard, Deal was a British Royal Navy dockyard of the Downs Station from 1672 to 1815 then it was a naval facility of the Nore Station from 1815 until 1864.

The dockyard was managed by the Navy Board until 1832 and thereafter the Board of Admiralty.


Deal is first mentioned as a village in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Addelam. It is referred to as Dela in 1158, and Dale in 1275. The name is the Old English dael meaning 'valley', cognate with the modern English 'dale'.[1] Deal developed into a port by the end of the 13th century. The port of Deal had the right, under charter, freely to import goods in return for their services as Cinque Port men in providing what had been long recognised as the sole naval defence of the realm.

In 1495 the town was the site of an attempted landing by the pretender to the English throne Perkin Warbeck. His supporters were driven off by locals loyal to Henry VII at the Battle of Deal, fought on the beach. Sandown, Deal and Walmer castles were constructed around the town by Henry VIII to protect against foreign naval attack.

The proximity of Deal's shoreline to the notorious Goodwin Sands has made its coastal waters a source of both shelter and danger through the history of sea travel in British waters. The Downs, the water between the town and the sands, provides a naturally sheltered anchorage. This meant that, despite the absence of a harbour, the town became a significant port (both for merchant ships and for the Royal Navy) with transit of goods and people from ship to shore conducted using smaller tender craft. Deal was, for example, visited by Nelson and was the first English soil on which James Cook set foot in 1771 on returning from his first voyage to Australia. The anchorage is still used today by international and regional shipping, though on a scale far smaller than in former times (some historical accounts report hundreds of ships being visible from the beach).

In 1672, a small Naval Yard was established at Deal, providing stores and minor repair facilities.[2] On the site of the yard there is now a building originally used as a semaphore tower linked to London, and later used as a coastguard house, then as a timeball tower, which remains today as a museum of time and communication.

A naval yard began to develop in the seventeenth century, first a naval storehouse was built in Deal in 1672, providing for ships anchored in the Downs. In time, the establishment grew to cover some five acres of land, to the north of the Deal Castle. There was also a Victualling Yard on site. In contrast to other [HM Dockyard|naval yards]], there was no place for ships to dock alongside at Deal, so instead a number of small supply boats were maintained at the yard; these would be launched from the shingle beach, carrying supplies, provisions, personnel or equipment as required.

In 1861 Naval Barracks were constructed as Royal Marines Depot, Deal after the outbreak of the French Revolution. They originally consisted of adjacent cavalry and infantry barracks (later known as South Barracks), alongside which were separate hospitals for the Army and Navy. In due course the hospitals were also turned into barracks (known as North Barracks and East Barracks respectively). The Yard closed in 1864.[3]

Administration of the Dockyard

Officers of the Ordinary

These were officers charged with the superintendence of ships In-Ordinary at Deal Dockyard.

Naval Officer at Deal

  1. Josh Trounsell, 3 November 1807 – January 1820.[4][5]

Superintendent of the Dockyard

Commander-Superintendent, Deal Dockyard

  1. Commander: Edward Boys, 16 September, 1837 - 6 November, 1841.[6]

Officers of the Yard

Master-Shipwright, Deal Dockyard

  1. John Jacob, 1 August 1804 – December 1814.[7]

Master Attendant, Deal Dockyard

  1. John Cutfield, December 1814.[8]

Storekeeper, Deal Dockyard


  1. Charles Allen, June, 1722 – November, 1727.
  2. William Helby, November, 1727 – July, 1744.
  3. Lancelot Burton, July, 1744 – October, 1750.
  4. Tyringham Stephens, October, 1750 – April, 1756.
  5. George Lawrance, June, 1779.

Clerk in Charge of Stores, Deal Dockyard

  1. Chas Wooton, 6 November, 1841 - March, 1861.[10][11][12]


  1. Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.140.
  2. Lavery, Brian (1989). Nelson's Navy. London: Conway Maritime Press.
  3. Coad, Jonathan (2013). Support for the Fleet. Swindon: English Heritage.
  4. Office, Admiralty (December 1814). The Navy List. London: John Murray. p. 132.
  5. Admiralty, British (January 1820). The Navy List. London: John Murray. p. 121.
  6. Admiralty, British (August 1841). The Navy List. London: Simpkin Marshall and Co. p. 266.
  7. The Navy List. Dec. 1814. p.132.
  8. The Navy List. Dec. 1814. p.132.
  9. Harrison, Simon (2010–2018). "Storekeeper at Deal". S. Harrison. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  10. The Navy List. Dec. 1852. p.186.
  11. The Navy List. Jun. 1853. p.188.
  12. The Navy List. Mar. 1861. p.218.