Three shipwrecks off Dorset
EARLIER this week the remains of a medieval ship were revealed and its 13th-century cargo was discovered off the Dorset coast.
However, this is not the only shipwreck off Dorset.
Here we look at other shipwrecks that have been found in our waters.
The 13th-century mortar wreck discovered in Poole Bay by the Swash Channel, with its cargo of Gothic Purbeck stone tombstones, is the oldest known protected wreck in English waters where hull remains may be seen.
It was discovered by local charter boat skipper Trevor Small of Rocket Charters who reported the find to archaeologists at Bournemouth University.
Trevor said: “I was born into a family of sailors. I have traveled thousands of nautical miles searching for wrecks from my home port of Poole.
“In the summer of 2020 I discovered what I thought was an undetected wreck site. Recent storms had revealed something unknown on the seabed. I was allowed to dive on the wreck. The rest is history! I discovered one of the oldest shipwrecks in England.
Read more: ‘Extremely rare’ medieval 13th century shipwreck found off Dorset coast
Dating of tree rings from the wreck indicates that the wood used to build the hull came from Irish oaks, felled between 1242 and 1265, during the reign of King Henry III.
One theory is that the ship may have been lost leaving the Dorset coast. Its destination is unknown.
Studland Bay Wreck
Studland Bay Wreck is the remains of an armed freighter, believed to have been Spanish. It was discovered in January 1983 by divers from the Hamworthy Sub-Aqua Club investigating the setting of a fisherman’s net.
The wreck dates back to around 1520 due to the style of building the ships and the pottery found associated with it. It is believed that the ship may have traded in the waters during the first quarter of the 16th century before relations between Spain and England deteriorated.
Ballast stones were recovered and about half of them were identified as coming from the Basque region in Spain.
According to the Historic England website, although dated to the early 16th century, the wreck was originally believed to be the Spanish carrack San Salvador, the flagship of the Paymaster General of the Spanish Armada, which was sunk in November 1588.
The wreck site was first listed as protected on October 22, 1984.
Swash Channel Wreck
Located on the approach to Poole Harbour, the Swash Channel Wreck is the remnant of a 17th century Dutch or German armed cargo ship, which appears to have sunk in the Swash Channel after 1630. The wooden sailing vessel was laden with pottery , possibly from the Rhine.
The site was discovered in 2004 following geophysical surveys carried out by Wessex Archeology (WA) on behalf of Poole Harbor Commissioners and the former Poole Town Council prior to dredging to deepen the approach to Poole Harbor Poole.
Read more: Identity of a 17th century ship wrecked off the coast of Poole
Experts believe it to be a Dutch merchant ship named The Fame that sank in a storm in March 1631.
According to Historic England: “The structural remains on the seabed suggest that a significant proportion of a large or very large ship survives consistently in substantial sections and that the quality of survival of some of the timbers is very high. ”
It was designated a protected wreck site in 2004.