Possible source of wreck

Exposed ship at Bamburgh by Charlie Brown
Exposed ship at Bamburgh by Charlie Brown

A retired Northumberland harbour-master has dug up some information that could shed light on the shipwreck visible on Bamburgh beach.

Earlier this month, the Gazette reported that the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST), with help from local archaeologists and volunteers has conducted a complete site survey on the partially-exposed shipwreck.

The work was made possible by a £3,000 grant from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty partnership’s Sustainable Development Fund.

The site lies in the intertidal zone and only appears roughly one hour either side of low-water slack. The site itself sits within its own scour which, along with the tidal conditions, means that it may never completely dry out.

The wreck appears to contain the exposed remains of the port side of a wooden sailing vessel lying on its starboard side with its stern inshore.

Now, Brian Graham, a former harbour-master from Seahouses, has contacted the Gazette with some information which may prove useful.

The following extracts come from the diary of Master Mariner George Tait, who was harbour-master at North Sunderland from 1881 to 1897.

The March 14, 1894, extract reads: “This day began with fine weather. At six o’clock am the Dutch Brigantine “Inatje Baaf” of Groningen from London to Alloa with Chalk stranded at Bambro Castle and became a total wreck.”

The following year on July 12, Mr Tait wrote: “This day began with strong winds. At two o’clock am the scoonner “Paragon” of Inverness struck Knavestone Rock and came off after being ashore for two hours. Lifeboat went off and boarded her and in the attempt to bring her into harbour she capsized. The crew were all saved, captain sorely exhausted. After being supplied dry clothing were sent home. The tugboat from Berwick came up in the afternoon and got hold of the vessel and towed her away with the intention of taking her to Berwick.”

But the following day, he added: “This day began with strong wind. The “Paragon” broke away from tugboat and came ashore on the beach near Bamburgh Castle. Apparently a total wreck.”