H.M. Brig Fantome was built at the Royal Dockyard Chatham and launched in 1839. She was one of 14 16-gun brigs built between 1832 and 1852 to the design of Sir William Symonds, Surveyor of the Navy. She was 105 feet long, 33 ½ feet in beam with a burthen of 485 tons. With a crew of 130 men she carried a battery of four 32-pounders and twelve 32-pounder carronades. By the mid-19th century the brig was common in the Navy and was a most useful general-purpose warship. Her size and rig enabled her to go anywhere, showing the flag in many out-of-the-way ports and harbours. She was fit for a wide range of duties including the suppression of piracy and slave trading – the latter particularly in the Atlantic off the West coast of Africa where up to 130,000 slaves a year were being transported even after it had been declared illegal. The great bulk of the work done to prevent this was undertaken by British ships – particularly the brigs. The decline of the sailing navy in the latter half of the 19th century limited the life of Fantome in the navy and she was sold in 1864. Her sister brigs, the Martin (built Chatham), the Seaflower (built Portsmouth) and the Sealark (built Pembroke) were the very last of the sailing warships.