HMS Sheldrake was one of the hundreds of small warships used by the Royal Navy for inshore patrols, conveying merchant ships, and hunting slavers, pirates and privateers. She was a 16-gun brig built in 1806, and sold in 1816.
In 1811, Sheldrake under Commander James P. Stewart distinguished herself. Serving in the Baltic against the Danes, she fought gunboats four times and captured or destroyed five. To finish off the year she took a French privateer. Stewart was promoted to Captain for his good work.
William Parr, who later became partners with Robert Bagott, owned these vessels, including the center ship and the brigs Betsy to the left and Phoenix on the right. The world was a dangerous place in 1809, when French and Spanish privateers and naval vessels roamed, ready to snap up unprepared merchant ships. Indeed, Betsy had been taken from the French.