Destined to become one of the most famous ships of her day, H.M.S. Centurion was built by Surveyor Allin at Portsmouth Dockyard to a modified 1719 Establishment design. Ordered and laid down in 1729, she was launched on 6 January 1733 and measured by her builder at 1,005 tons. A Third Rate two-decker mounting 60 guns, she was 177½ feet in length with a 40 foot beam, and carried a crew of 400 men.
When the war with Spain began in the autumn of 1739, Centurion was placed under the command of Captain George Anson whose orders were to take a squadron to the Pacific, harry Spanish possessions there and, if possible, capture one of the valuable treasure ships which annually travelled between Mexico and Manila. By June 1743 various misfortunes had reduced Anson's squadron of six vessels to a single ship, Centurion, but she was by then well-armed and manned by a highly experienced veteran crew. On 20 June, she sighted, chased and brought to action a huge Spanish treasure galleon in a celebrated engagement after which, with the Spaniards combing the ocean around the Philippines, Anson decided to return home by circumnavigating the globe, still a highly unusual and immensely risky voyage in the mid-eighteenth century. Arriving home in 1744 with treasure valued at over half-a-million sterling, Anson's reputation was made and his career assured; likewise his ship, whose name became synonymous with the triumphant exploits of her commander.
Centurion, re-fitted after her long voyage around the world, was re-rated as a Fourth Rate of 50 guns late in 1744 and given the new name of Eagle. Probably due to Anson's influence however, she resumed her original name in 1745 and thereafter saw distinguished service at the battle off Cape Finisterre in 1747. In action again during the Seven Years War (1758) and Quebec (1759), and was also engaged at the capture of Havana in 1762. Laid up after the Treaty of Paris in 1763, she was deemed no longer fit for service and was broken up at Chatham in December 1769.