Fact Check

Was a 50-Gun Warship Named HMS Romney?

What do a Republican presidential candidate and an old Royal Navy ship have in common?

Published Aug 6, 2012

A ship named HMS Romney was once used to help enforce import duties on the British North American colonies.

The Royal Navy has included, at various times, five different ships called HMS Romney, generally thought to have been named after the town of New Romney in Kent (or possibly in honor of Henry Sydney, 1st Earl of Romney). That name because a source of some amusement in the U.S. in 2012, when former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney successfully sought the Republican nomination for president:

The third of those HMS Romney ships was a 50-gun fourth rate launched in 1762 which served the Royal Navy for over forty years — through the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic Wars — until she was finally wrecked after running aground off the Netherlands in 1804.

In 1768, HMS Romney was dispatched to Boston Harbor at the request of commissioners tasked with enforcing the Townshend Acts, which imposed duties on colonial imports such as paper, glass, lead and tea exported from Britain in order to raise revenue for the administration of the North American colonies.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.