Ancient Monuments

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A Scheduled Monument in Sutton Weaver, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.3015 / 53°18'5"N

Longitude: -2.6892 / 2°41'21"W

OS Eastings: 354162.566813

OS Northings: 378502.995504

OS Grid: SJ541785

Mapcode National: GBR 9ZN8.L7

Mapcode Global: WH87Y.N8MV

Entry Name: Daresbury

Scheduled Date: 21 March 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1417593

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Sutton Weaver

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Aston St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The remains of a Mersey Flat sailing barge known as DARESBURY situated within the west end of Sutton stop lock on the Weaver Navigation, near the village of Sutton Weaver.

Source: Historic England


Daresbury is grounded and largely submerged within standing water of unknown depth, with the upper parts of her hull surviving above the present water line (October 2013). The vessel is of carvel-built timber construction and measures 17.5m long by 4.88m wide. She lies towards the west end of the small lock, closer to its south side than the north. The stern is at the west end and, hence, the vessel appears to have been ‘parked’ facing upstream. The vessel has a flat, or transom, stern and although the upper part survives in a fragmentary fashion, a substantial upright timber might be part of the rudder arrangement. Some of the planks forming the deck of the stern section are visible within the hull. Although the exact position of the stern cannot be established, the slightly inward curving sections of the hull exhibited several square sectioned baulks of timber projecting above the line of the gunwales. These are considered to be the remains of a low, ‘safety’, rail commonly provided around the stern of flats, vessels being steered from this part of the deck. Similar ‘safety’ rails can be seen on the C19 flats at the Ellesmere Port Museum.

A prominent feature about 4.5m from the stern is an upright baulk retaining traces of a cleat for attaching a rope on the side facing the stern. This features in the earlier photographs of Daresbury afloat at Northwich; lying alongside it appears to be the recumbent boom of the derrick and it is considered that the surviving upright baulk is related to the use of the derrick. Forward from the stern deck section is the hold, now full of water. This is about 9m long, and the horizontal ceiling planks that lined the inside of the hold are visible. This planking is fixed to the inside face of the ribs that formed the main structural elements of the hull, the carvel strakes being fitted to the outer face of the ribs and visible on the port side. In three places on the starboard side these ribs project above the line of the gunwales and in each case they exhibit a horizontal, metal peg fitted through them, forming a mooring cleat or bollard.

The bow section, beyond the hold, was also planked over to provide a working deck; a single plank remains visible, but iron knees, for supporting the deck, are visible on both the port and starboard quarters. About 9m beyond the conjectured position of the bow several large metal items and a baulk of timber are visible within the lock. Partly submerged, their identification is uncertain but one at least appears to be a cogged wheel. Photographs of the Daresbury afloat, show a substantial winch mechanism mounted on the foredeck as part of the arrangements for raising and deploying the derrick.

Extent of Scheduling: the scheduling comprises a rectangular area a maximum of 37m by 7m, and includes the full extent of Sutton Lock in order to ensure that any hull fragments and associated fixtures which may have become detached from the vessel are included; the area has been drawn within the lock walls on the north and south sides.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The remains of Daresbury, an C18 Mersey Flat, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: Daresbury represents the only known pre-1840 survival of a once widespread regional sailing vessel;
* Survival: despite deterioration as a result of neglect and weathering, the wreck of the Mersey Flat Daresbury survives reasonably well and retains a number of her key characteristics;
* Potential: the survival of a number of characteristic features means that Daresbury has considerable potential for providing an insight into late 18th century boat construction techniques;
* Documentation: the importance of the vessel is considerably
enhanced by abundant contemporary documentation;
* Historic: the Mersey Flat was a key link in the distribution process of commercial expansion of the North Atlantic trade.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
MacGregor, D R, Merchant Sailing Ships 1850-1875, (1984), 234
Mannering, J , The Chatham Directory of In-shore Craft: Traditional Working Boats of the British Isles, (1997), 210
Stammers, M, Mud Flats Archaeology in Intertidal and Inland Waters Around the Mersey Estuary, (1999), 6
Stammers, M K, 'The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology' in The Archaeology of the Mersey Estuary: Past Work and Future Potential, (1994), 27-33
Hulk Assemblages: Assessing the national context, accessed from
The Daresbury on the Weaver Navigation, accessed from
Wrecks on the River Weaver!, accessed from
D4048: Letter from Mr John H Scholes Esq. (Curator of Historical Relics at The British Transport Commission) detailing his observations on the origins and alterations to Daresbury. National Waterways Museum Archive, Ellesmere Port.,

Source: Historic England

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