Chartered by the East India Company, it had to function as a merchant and passenger ship as well as an armed vessel. The Grosvenor was pierced for 26 guns although it is possible it had more. Its registered tonnage was 729, but was chartered at 499 tons. The reason for this anomaly was that, in East India Company policy, any vessel over 500 tons had to carry a chaplain. He cost money because his wages had to be paid, but it was felt he brought an insufficient return for the outlay.
Besides, the crew were quite happy to dispense with the recitation of the Prayer for the Honourable English Company.
Consequently, the company practised its deceit. Perhaps, in light of the subsequent tragedy, it wished it had not.
On what was intended to be its final voyage, the Grosvenor was sailing from Madras to England, laden with cargo and 150 people on board. Driven on to rocks close to the shore, all but 15 people safely made it ashore. However, in the following months, most of the survivors died in their desperate search for help.