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 'Caledonia' wrecked off Morwenstowe 1842  
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johnemitchell
Wee Haggis


johnemitchell

United Kingdom
3 Posts
Last here:
11 Oct 2017
Posted - 10 Jun 2013 :  5:14:27 PM Show ProfileSend johnemitchell a Private Message Reply with Quote
I was born and brought up in Arbroath 1951 to 1967 and have lived in Cornwall since 1976. I am a member of the Mevagissey Male Choir and we were recently invited to sing at Morwenstowe Parish Church. As the choir was assembling in the church yard my attention was drawn to the ghostly figure of an old ships figurehead in the form of a female in highland dress holding a drawn claymore and shield. To my amazment the plaque nearby stated that the vessel was called 'Caledonia' registered in Arbroath and wrecked below Morwenstowe at Sharpnose Point Sept 7th 1842. The figurehead marked the last resting place of the crew who were brought together and buried by the vicar of the church. As a shipbroker I was intrigued by her history and as to why she was sailing and wrecked off the trecherous north coast of Cornwall.

Briefly all the crew with one exception were from either Arbroath, Inverkeilor or Montrose. She was built in Arbroath by Arthur Smith in 1839 and owned by Joseph Sanderson Esplin who I understand was a flax canvas weaver. Her last voyage was from London to Rio de Janeiro followed by Rio to Corfu and Turkey with coffee and finally from Odessa to Gloucester with bagged wheat. What a voyage for a small 206 ton sailing vessel.

The full story of her short life and that of the crew is magnificently investigated and told in a book by Jeremy Seal called 'The Wreck at Sharpnose Point' Not the most exciting title but I can assure of an excellent and moving story.
keptie
Senior Smokie


Scotland
867 Posts
Last here:
5 days ago
Posted - 10 Jun 2013 :  10:22:57 PM Show Profile Visit keptie's HomepageSend keptie a Private Message Reply with Quote
Hi Welcome to the Arbroath website and another Red Lichtie ... An interesting story there you tell and I seem to remember stories in the Arbroath herald and in the Courier (angus & mearns edition) about the vicar there wanting to have a memorial service on some anniversary of the sinking and I am sure it was in these recent years that this story was in the media ! Im trying to remember the story that was the papers ...

Maybe a emailed letter to the Arbroath Herald would be of interest to readers . My great grandfather Capt PW Anderson had 5 schooners in arbroath and in Montrose . They sailed to the Baltic and on the Dundee Leith London coastal route and my grandfather did not fancy that so he chose being an accountant in an arbroath lawyers in Hill St instead letting his other younger brothers to go to sea and become Ship Captains !

pwa


keptie
johnemitchell
Wee Haggis


johnemitchell

United Kingdom
3 Posts
Last here:
11 Oct 2017
Posted - 11 Jun 2013 :  3:48:32 PM Show ProfileSend johnemitchell a Private Message Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keptie

Hi Welcome to the Arbroath website and another Red Lichtie ... An interesting story there you tell and I seem to remember stories in the Arbroath herald and in the Courier (angus & mearns edition) about the vicar there wanting to have a memorial service on some anniversary of the sinking and I am sure it was in these recent years that this story was in the media ! Im trying to remember the story that was the papers ...

Maybe a emailed letter to the Arbroath Herald would be of interest to readers . My great grandfather Capt PW Anderson had 5 schooners in arbroath and in Montrose . They sailed to the Baltic and on the Dundee Leith London coastal route and my grandfather did not fancy that so he chose being an accountant in an arbroath lawyers in Hill St instead letting his other younger brothers to go to sea and become Ship Captains !

pwa

Hi Keptie and thanks your reply. I was aware that either the Herald or the Guide had printed a story concerning the re-dedication of the Figurhead. The one in the graveyard is a modern reproduction made of fibreglass. The old one was in danger of rotting away but has been refurbished and actually hangs on a wall inside the church.

According to Jeremy Seal's book there was a deputation from Arbroath and the last traceable relative of one of the crew, who came from Canada I think, that attended the re-dedication cermony several years ago. I think the cermony was held in the mid 90's

It was interesting to know that your great grandfather had 5 vessels which may have been contemporaries of the 'Caledonia'.
Do you have the names and any details of these vessels? I was completely unaware that sailing ships were registered and traded out of Arbroath in the 19th century. The main trading route of the Caledonia had been to the Baltic to bring back Flax Seed for the Arbroath mills. My father was works manager and laterly a director of Francis Websters just before he retired in 1977.

The Capt of the Caledonia was Stevenson Peter. An odd christian name but he was born just after the Bell Rock light house was completed and I guess he may have been named after the builder - Robert Stevenson!

If you can provide details of your great grandfathers vessels I should be very interested.

John
mc
Wee Haggis


Canada
2 Posts
Last here:
01 Oct 2014
Posted - 01 Oct 2014 :  06:47:48 AM Show ProfileSend mc a Private Message Reply with Quote
I had attended the re-dedication of the Caledonia figurehead with my dad Joseph Cant. My relative Alexander Kent (Cant) was one of the sailors who perished from that shipwreck. It was a great experience to be a part of such a well organized event.
mc
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