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Unknown wreck, 600m ENE of Bamburgh Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Bamburgh, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6105 / 55°36'37"N

Longitude: -1.7011 / 1°42'3"W

OS Eastings: 418926.708589

OS Northings: 635246.387239

OS Grid: NU189352

Mapcode National: GBR J3KK.JM

Mapcode Global: WHC0L.V74S

Entry Name: Unknown wreck, 600m ENE of Bamburgh Castle

Scheduled Date: 21 March 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418570

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Bamburgh

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Bamburgh St Aidan

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The wreck of a pre-1840 unknown wooden sailing vessel thought to be later C18 in origin.

Source: Historic England


The wreck is situated within the intertidal zone of Bamburgh Castle Beach. The vessel is lying stern ashore and on its starboard side so that only the port side became exposed in 2013. The formerly visible remains measured 22.5m long by 5m wide, although as there was considerable evidence for buried material at the site the actual dimensions are expected to be considerably larger. Although the hull on the formerly exposed port side of the vessel is largely missing, two layers of deck beams are present. The starboard side of the hull is considered to survive from the keel to just below the turn of the bilge. The hull is of carvel construction using predominantly wooden treenails and the planking of the outer hull where it survives on the port side is 11.5cm thick and 16cm wide. The ceiling planking is 4cm thick and 24cm wide. The surviving structure from amidships to the stern consists of eroded frames. Several other structural remains were recorded including lower and main deck beams, the former with unusual circular holes running through them, the survival of which suggests the likely survival of decks below the sand. The wreck retains several rare surviving features, including the lower portions of at least one mast; that in the bows is cylindrical and 1.2m in circumference. Adjacent to the stern face of this mast is a small squared off timber interpreted as a bollard used to tie off rigging ropes. A cylindrical object in the stern is of uncertain function but could be a second mast or a pump tube. The remains of a windlass with an octagonal section is also present.

Extent of Scheduling: using point data supplied by MAST the precise recorded location of the wreck has been obtained. The scheduled area has been defined around the known remains of the vessel to include a margin of 2m around all sides in order to ensure its adequate protection. The protective area has maximum dimensions of 27m by 14m.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The wreck of this later-C18 coastal sailing vessel is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: lost and wrecked vessels of the period 1500 to 1815 in English waters are relatively rare and number fewer than a hundred;
* Survival: despite the effects of weathering, a significant portion of the vessel survives and it retains a number of key characteristic features;
* Potential: it has considerable potential for providing insight into late 18th century and later boat construction materials and techniques and for coastal trade during this period;
* Documentation: the importance of this vessel is considerably enhanced by the information obtained from structural and archaeological survey including dendrochronology;
* Historic: the coastal trader was a once prolific and highly significant part of the expansion and development of England’s mercantile trade.

Source: Historic England


Dr Roderick Bale, Tree ring dating and species identification of timbers from the Bamburgh Castle wreck, Northumbria, 2013,
Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust, Bamburgh Castle Beach Wreck, 2013,
Maritime Archaeolohy Sea Trust, Bamburgh Castle Beach Wreck: Technical Report, 2013,

Source: Historic England

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