Stone frigate
Stone frigate is a nickname for a naval establishment on land. The term has its origin in Britain's Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 after its use of Diamond Rock
Diamond Rock
Diamond Rock is a 175 meter high basalt island located south of Fort-de-France, the main port of the Caribbean island of Martinique. The uninhabited island is about three kilometers from Pointe Diamant. The island gets its name from the reflections that its sides cast at certain hours of the day,...

, off Martinique, as a 'sloop of war' to harass the French. The command of this first stone frigate was given to Commodore Hood's first lieutenant, James Wilkes Maurice
James Wilkes Maurice
Vice-Admiral James Wilkes Maurice was an officer of the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars...

, who, with cannon taken off the Commodore's ship, manned it with a crew of 120 until its capture by the French in the Battle of Diamond Rock
Battle of Diamond Rock
The Battle of Diamond Rock took place between 31 May and 2 June 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. It was an attempt by Franco-Spanish force despatched under Captain Julien Cosmao to retake Diamond Rock, at the entrance to the bay leading to Fort-de-France, from the British forces that had occupied...

 in 1805.

Until the late 19th century, the Royal Navy housed training and other support facilities in hulks
Hulk (ship)
A hulk is a ship that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea. Although sometimes used to describe a ship that has been launched but not completed, the term most often refers to an old ship that has had its rigging or internal equipment removed, retaining only its flotational qualities...

—old wooden ships of the line—moored in ports as receiving ships, depot ship
Depot ship
A depot ship is a ship which acts as a mobile or fixed base for other ships and submarines or supports a naval base. Depot ships may be specifically designed for their purpose or be converted from another purpose...

s, or floating barracks. The Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 regarded shore accommodation as expensive and liable to lead to indiscipline. These floating establishments kept their names while the actual vessels housing them changed. For example, the gunnery training school at Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

 occupied three ships between its foundation in 1830 and its move ashore in 1891 but all were named (or renamed) HMS Excellent.

As ships began to use increasingly complex technology during the late 19th century, these facilities became too large to continue afloat and were moved to shore establishments while keeping their names. An early "stone frigate" was the engineering training college HMS Marlborough
HMS Marlborough
Six warships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Marlborough after the Duke of Marlborough:*Saint Michael, a second-rate, renamed Marlborough in 1706, fought in the Seven Years' War, present in Sir George Pocock's fleet at the taking of Havana from the Spanish in 1762, foundered at sea later in...

, moved ashore to Portsmouth in 1880. The gunnery school continued to be named HMS Excellent after its move ashore to Whale Island
Whale Island, Hampshire
Whale Island is a small island in Portsmouth Harbour, close by Portsea Island. It is currently home to HMS Excellent, the oldest shore training establishment within the Royal Navy, and the Headquarters of Commander in Chief, Fleet.-Early history:...

 in 1891. By World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 there were about 25 "stone frigates" in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


Under section 67 of the Naval Discipline Act 1866, the provisions of the act only applied to officers and men of the Royal Navy borne on the books of a warship. When shore establishments began to become more common it was necessary to allocate the title of the establishment to an actual vessel which became the nominal depot ship for the men allocated to the establishment and thus ensured they were subject to the provisions of the Act.

The use of stone frigates continues in the Royal Navy and some other navies of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, including the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

, the Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

, the Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces...

, and the Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal New Zealand Navy
The Royal New Zealand Navy is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...


HMCS Stone Frigate

The Stone Frigate, storehouse at the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard
Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard
The Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard was a Royal Navy Dockyard from 1788 to 1853 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, at the site of the current Royal Military College of Canada.-History:...

, Point Frederick Peninsula
Point Frederick Peninsula
Point Frederick is a peninsula National Historic Site of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The peninsula is near where Lake Ontario empties into the Saint Lawrence River...

, now called 'The Stone Frigate' located at Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada
The Royal Military College of Canada, RMC, or RMCC , is the military academy of the Canadian Forces, and is a degree-granting university. RMC was established in 1876. RMC is the only federal institution in Canada with degree granting powers...

 in Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...

, designed by Archibald Fraser, 1819-24. It was constructed by Captain Robert Barrie to store gear and rigging of the British fleet from the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 which had been dismantled and housed in Navy Bay pursuant to the Rush-Bagot Treaty
Rush-Bagot Treaty
The Rush-Bagot Treaty was a treaty between the United States and Britain ratified by the United States Senate on April 16, 1817 . The treaty provided for a large demilitarization of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain, where many British naval arrangements and forts still remained...

 of 1817. Closed in 1835, the dockyard reopened in 1837 in response to rebellions in the Canadas. Captain Williams Sandom and a party of sailors resided in the Stone Frigate warehouse close to the St. Lawrence pier in Navy Bay. By the 1860s, only the Stone Frigate storehouse and one wharf were kept in repair.

The former warehouse was converted into a dormitory
A dormitory, often shortened to dorm, in the United States is a residence hall consisting of sleeping quarters or entire buildings primarily providing sleeping and residential quarters for large numbers of people, often boarding school, college or university students...

 and classrooms when the college was established in 1876.
In 1941, the Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada
The Royal Military College of Canada, RMC, or RMCC , is the military academy of the Canadian Forces, and is a degree-granting university. RMC was established in 1876. RMC is the only federal institution in Canada with degree granting powers...

 cadets were housed in the Stone Frigate while student officers taking Canadian junior war staff courses, field security courses and radio technician`s courses were quartered in Fort Frederick (Kingston)
Fort Frederick (Kingston)
Fort Frederick is a historic military building located on Point Frederick on the grounds of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Its construction dates to 1846 and the Oregon crisis. The fort consists of earthworks surrounding a Martello tower...


Known within Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada
The Royal Military College of Canada, RMC, or RMCC , is the military academy of the Canadian Forces, and is a degree-granting university. RMC was established in 1876. RMC is the only federal institution in Canada with degree granting powers...

 as "The Boat", the Stone Frigate houses 1 Squadron who in turn call themselves the Stone Frigate Military Academy. Renovations to the Stone Frigate began in the summer of 2003; some interior refinishing had taken place in the mid 1960s, however the overall interior condition of the building was poor. Interior stone walls were restored and cleaned and new structural supports and interior walls were constructed. Windows, doors, and mechanical and electrical services were installed and an annex extension was built. The Department of National Defence
Department of National Defence (Canada)
The Department of National Defence , frequently referred to by its acronym DND, is the department within the government of Canada with responsibility for all matters concerning the defence of Canada...

 officially re-opened the renovated Stone Frigate building in early April 2004. The Stone Frigate is on the Registry of Historic Places of Canada.

A plaque erected in 1957 describes the Stone Frigate "Once part of a large and active naval dockyard, this substantial stone building was erected as a warehouse for naval stores. Although initially planned in 1816, it was not completed until four years later when the need for storage facilities to hold gear and rigging from British warships dismantled in compliance with the Rush-Bagot Agreement had become acute. After the Rebellion of 1837 the building briefly functioned as a barracks for the naval detachment charged with patrolling the lakes. It was then apparently used as a storehouse again. By 1876 the structure, now known as the Stone Frigate, had been refitted to house the newly-established Royal Military College of Canada, an institution it continues to serve."

Pipe Major Donald M. Carrigan composed the `Stone Frigate` Reel in honour of the Stone Frigate at the Royal Military College of Canada c. 1983.

External Links

See also

  • List of Royal Navy shore establishments
  • Ascension Island
    Ascension Island
    Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

    , formerly called "HMS Ascension"
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