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Rosyth, Hms Caledonia, Figurehead of Admiral Duncan

A Category C Listed Building in Rosyth, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0323 / 56°1'56"N

Longitude: -3.4481 / 3°26'53"W

OS Eastings: 309859

OS Northings: 683107

OS Grid: NT098831

Mapcode National: GBR 1Y.RZ7F

Mapcode Global: WH6S3.0MBW

Entry Name: Rosyth, Hms Caledonia, Figurehead of Admiral Duncan

Listing Date: 16 August 2007

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 399630

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50979

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dunfermline

County: Fife

Town: Dunfermline

Electoral Ward: Rosyth

Traditional County: Fife

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Description

1811 (see Notes). Double life-size painted timber figurehead of Admiral Adam Duncan formerly forming part of prow of the warship HMS Duncan. Situated in prominent location on parade ground, comprises uniformed torso and head springing forward from base decorated with carved foliage and naval symbols including sabres, cannon, ramming rod and flagpole. Lead backing where formerly attached to ship.

Statement of Interest

This decorative figurehead of Admiral Adam Duncan (1731-1804) is an unusual and distinctive piece of 19th century Naval sculpture. There is one other example in Scotland, from HMS Active, also located at Caledonia but this is both a smaller and a less decorative example and without the close association to a historic figure. Now permanently fixed at HMS Caledonia in Rosyth Admiral Duncan forms the focal point of the parade ground at the base and is also a prominent landmark on the approach to the main camp area. As noted in the conservation report the figurehead is of importance as a rare three dimensional representation of a Scottish naval hero.

The figurehead was first set on the prow of HMS Duncan (a '3rd rate' launched in 1811 and broken up in 1863). This ship of the line, commissioned soon after Duncan's death, was named as a memorial to this famous Admiral who defeated the Dutch Navy at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797. The battle changed the maritime balance of power in favour of the British and arguably made Duncan one of the most famous Scottish naval heroes in history. The figurehead is a fairly accurate depiction, with the correct Naval uniform of the day, although the facial features have been necessarily distorted to aid perspective when viewed from below.

The figurehead survived the decommissioning of HMS Duncan and has been relocated on several occasions. It has been at its present location since 1997.

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