Historical List of Shipwrecks at Chesil Beach &

from Bridport to Lyme Regis

Extract included by kind permission of David Burnett (Dovecote Press) & provided by Weymouth Library from a book on Dorset Shipwrecksby David Burnett (now out of print). Current book is "Shipwrecks" in the 'Discover Dorset Series by Maureen Attwooll (Dovecote Press).

Wine Jug from 1588

According to legend, this wine jug was taken from the captured Armada Ship "San Salvador" in July 1588 by a British sailor from Burton Bradstock, Dorset, named Symes. It was handed down from father to son from 1588 until the death of the last William Symes who died in 1920.

Published with kind permission of the Dorset Natural History & Archeological Society - Copyright

The jug is presently believed to be in the Dorset County Museum

The Chesil Beach

1588 July. San Salvador, a captured Armada ship which sank while being moved.
1600 Christmas Day: Isobel, privateer, and 20 other ships reputedly wrecked in the same storm.
1629 January: Spanish ship wrecked off Burton Bradstock and looted.
1641 December: Golden Grape, wrecked near Wyke Regis when bound for Dover from Cadiz.
1706 January: Golden Fleece, lost on the Chesil.
1716 January: Jesus Maria Joseph, wrecked on the Chesil. Customs men failed to recover the cargo because looters 'Beat, Hounded and Resisted us in the Salvidge.'
1742 February: unknown ship foundered off the Beach. The customs men 'caused a thorough Rummage' but found nothing of value.
1749 January 16th: Hope, Dutch East Indiaman, wrecked and looted opposite Fleet.
1754 November 9th: Charming Molly, lost off Wyke. 2 men buried on the beach.
1758: ship carrying timber stranded near West Bexington.
circa 1760: Squirrel, wrecked with cargo of tobacco off Abbotsbury.
1762 January 12th: Zenobie, French privateer, wrecked in Chesil Cove.
1767 March 7th: Peggy. wrecked off Chesil.
1773 February: Johannes, wrecked and looted on Chesil.
1774 September 22nd: Dutch ship lost on the Beach. 8 drowned, 3 saved.
1780 April 17th: Blandford, 50 ton sloop carrying copper and tin, wrecked on Fleet Bank.
1781 January 30th: Theresa, 110 ton Flemish brigantine laden with coal, wrecked off Bexington. February 13th: Amsterdam, 220 ton Swedish brigantine, wrecked off Bexington with cargo of raisins, 'very few of which will be saved owing to the ship's going to pieces as soon as she struck.' 5 drowned.
1795 November 18th: Aeolus, Golden Grove, Thomas, Piedmont, Venus and Catherine all wrecked on the Chesil. The Hannah was also wrecked in the same storm.

Mrs Burns a survivor of Admiral Christian's squadron in 1795

One of only two survivors from the Catherine, Mrs. Burns, after six ships of Admiral Christian's squadron had struck on the Chesil in 1795.


1797 December 17th: Marquis of Worcester, West Indiaman, wrecked near Fleet House returning from St Vincent with cargo of sugar. 23 drowned, 1 saved.
1799 September 22nd: Concord, in ballast, lost off Abbotsbury. The Rodney and De trende Sodikende were wrecked on the Beach in the same storm.
1807 January 9th: Johanna Elizabeth, Swedish galliot, wrecked off Abbotsbury with cargo of salt and wines. 2 drowned, 6 saved.
1815 March 27th: Alexander, East Indiaman, wrecked opposite Wyke.
1818 March 4th: Le Mercuria, 500 ton French vessel, lost near Chesil Cove. 20-30 drowned.
1821 March 18th: Arthur le Juvenale, French brig carrying coffee and cotton, wrecked at Langton.
1823 November 10th: Iris, Swedish brig, lost on Chesil.
1824 December 19th: Fortuna, Dutch galliot carrying tobacco and wine, wrecked opposite the Ferry House.
1831 December 7th: Atlas, American brig, wrecked on Chesil. 2 drowned, 9 saved.
1835 October 25th: Margaret & Ann, schooner carrying Welsh slate, lost on Chesil in a 'perfect hurricane'. All on board lost, 5 bodies found.
1837 November 23rd: Systrarne, (two-masted sailing brig) Swedish, wrecked off Burton Bradstock. 4 drowned, 3 saved. The ship's steward, Olaff Bjorkholm, is buried in Burton Bradstock and an entry in the Burial Register records the wreck.

This photo is of a piece of wreckage found on Burton beach - it is the Traverse Board from the Systrarne which can be found in Dorset County Museum (www.dorsetcountymuseum.org).

The board was an early navigational aid and is a rare shipwreck survivor. A fascinating study into the Systrarne, the wreck and the Traverse Board (and how it was used) by Merelina Ross can be found in the "Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. 126 2004".

Photo by

George Wickham

1838 November 28th-30th: Mary Ann, schooner, lost off Abbotsbury. Arethusa, lost off Fleet with no survivors. Louise, Swedish barque, thrown unladen on to the Chesil.without loss of life. Dove, 70 ton local trader, abandoned in West Bay and wrecked on the Chesil. The Dove had been captured by the French in 1806 and its master, Peter Bussell, had been imprisoned until 1814. Columbine, schooner, lost west of Wyke. Le Jean Bart, French smack, first seen off Bridport but wrecked near Burton Bradstock with cargo of hides. 4 drowned, 5 saved by local villagers who hauled them from the wreck to the top of the 200 feet cliff. Other ships were wrecked in the same storm, some on the Chesil, some off-shore.
1840 January 24th: Saggitario, Austrian polacco bound for Constantinople with timber, cloth and sugar, wrecked near Chesil. 13 man crew rescued. It was described at the time as a 'pirate vessel'.
1851 January 17th: VriendshapHeike, Dutch galliot, wrecked near Fleet and later sold on the Beach.
1852 December 27th: Nouvelle Loire, French barque, broke into 2 pieces before striking.
1856 December 9th: Petronilia, Belgian barque, wrecked on the Chesil and crew of 4 buried in St George's churchyard.
1857: Little Belt, smack, lost on the Chesil.
1866 January 14th: Ocean Bride, schooner, wrecked opposite Langton.

Drama as the Royal Adelaide struck the Chesil in 1872

Drama as the Royal Adelaide struck the Chesil in 1872, coming broadside on the beach, the waves hurling her only ablout 20 yards from the feet of the people who were assembled to render assistance. Note the flare overhead.


1872 November 23rd: Jane Catherine, 70 ton schooner carrying shale, wrecked between Wyke and Fleet within 40 yards of the shore. 4 drowned. November 25th: Royal Adelaide, iron-built emigrant clipper, wrecked on the Chesil and looted.

Survivors of Royal Adelaide

A group photograph of all the men who survived the wreck of the Royal Adelaide.

1875 January 24th: Marie Reine, French barque, lost on the Chesil.
1879 January 7th: Speedy, lost opposite Ferry Bridge.
1882 January 5th: Edwin & Sarah, ketch, wrecked in Chesil Cove. Result, ketch, wrecked on the Chesil in about 1882.
1887 January 18th: Nor, 943 ton Norwegian schooner-rigged steamer, wrecked on the Beach in thick fog with cargo of salt.
1888 March 8th: Lanoma, 665 ton iron-built barque, wrecked near Fleet with 2,000 bales of Tasmanian wool. 12 drowned, 6 saved. The Lanoma was a purpose-built wool clipper and had once completed the Australian run in 63 days.
1889 March 8th: Vera, 2,019 Hull steamer, wrecked near Langton exactly a year after the loss of the Lanoma. The crew of 24, 3 passengers, and 2 nine-year-old stowaways were rescued by coastguards.
1890 October 3 1st: Fannie C, schooner, beached in Chesil Cove whilst on fire. 10 saved.
1891 October 13th: Ora et Labora, Norwegian brig, wrecked near Chesil Cove.
1894 August 26th: Gertrude, wrecked on the Chesil.
1897: Flirt, wrecked on the Beach near Burton Bradstock. (see story of this wreck & heroic rescue by a local)

Emma Maria breaking up

The Russian schooner Emma Maria breaking up on the Chesil in October 1903. The barque Patria was wrecked on the

same part of the beach on the following day.


1903 October 25th: Emma Maria, Russian schooner, lost on Chesil with cargo of fire-clay. The Norwegian barque Patria was wrecked close to the Emma Maria on the following day and its crew taken off using the rocket apparatus.

Patria being destroyed on Chesil Beach

The Norwegian barque Patria in the process of being destroyed on the Chesil in October 1903. The crew was taken off by rocket line.


1914 January 7th: Cora, French schooner, lost on the Beach.
1920 January 15th: Preveza, Greek steamer, wrecked on the Chesil in thick fog.
1944 October 13th: LC(T) A .2454, American tank landing craft, wrecked on the Chesil in southwesterly gale. The Weymouth lifeboat, William & Clara Ryland, was preparing to take off the crew when the naval authorities ashore ordered it to stand off, lest it also be wrecked. 3 men were saved using rocket apparatus, then the apparatus was swept away and 2 coastguards were drowned.
1963 July 15th: Bassurelle, French trawler, wrecked off Langton. 5 saved.
1974 January 25th-29th: Scaldis, sank off Chesil with the loss of 3 lives.

Bridport to Lyme Regis
1280: Unnamed wreck at Bridport Creek.
1377 November: 50 ships reputedly lost at Lyme Regis in a series of storms.
1670: A Lyme barque wrecked at Bridport. Two vessels from Lyme also wrecked.
1709 December 25th: HMS Solebay, wrecked at Lyme.
1748 July: Laguiticus de Lille Dieu lost off Lyme with cargo of wool, all on board saved.
1789 August: Endeavour, brig, left Sidmouth for Newcastle to load with coal, wrecked near Bridport, 'the crew were with difficulty saved.'
1812 February 21st: Fox, London to Exeter schooner, driven ashore near Bridport and wrecked. Henrietta, London smack wrecked near Bridport.
1817 January: Trois Amis wrecked near Bridport during gales. Volante, Mary and Union all wrecked at Lyme. Unnamed French chasse-marée wrecked on Charmouth Beach.
1829: Magnet, foundered in Lyme Bay. Part of the wreckage washed ashore at Bridport in the following year. July 1st: Prince William, Liverpool sloop, misread signal flags during a gale when entering Bridport and wrecked on rocks to the west. Captain washed overboard, crew of 3 saved.
1832 March 1st: Swallow, Bridport based, driven ashore near the Harbour.
1836 December: William & Anne, wrecked at Lyme.
1846 November 20th: Colyton Union, 72 ton coaster wrecked at Lyme, where it had been built in 1826.
1851 mid-January: gale from the south-south-west. Smack lost 5 miles out from Bridport. Remains of the Jessy, of Plymouth, washed up at Bridport With 2 other small Exeter boats. Mary Ann, schooner, wrecked at Lyme just east of the Cobb, crew saved.
1852 December 26th: Heroine, wrecked at Lyme. The local boat Sarah was wrecked on the following day.
1854 January 7th: Jeune Rose, foundered off Lyme.
1860 November 14th: Elizabeth Ann, Lyme smack laden with coal wrecked on rocks near the Cobb. 3 man crew taken off by lifeboat.
1865 November: Black Diamond wrecked at Bridport.
1867 January 8th: localized south-westerly gale at Lyme led to the loss of the schooners Ann & Emily, Vulcan, and Panda, and the Spec, brigantine - all local ships. 3 men rescued by coastguard cutter as it was impossible to launch the lifeboat.
1868 January 24th: Marie Leocadie, wrecked at Bridport.
1869 January 22nd: Demetrius, ran ashore opposite watch-house at Bridport.

December 30th: Louise et Eu genie, French brig laden with wheat from Dunkirk, blown off course and wrecked 200 yards west of Bridport Harbour wall, 2 men drowned.
1870 January 16th: Laura, 9 man crew saved after the 307 ton vessel had sprung a leak and sunk 20 miles south of Bridport. October 26th: Kennet, wrecked at Bridport.
1871 March 15th: Collingwood, wrecked near Lyme Regis.
1874 December 12th: Corsair, 119 tons, wrecked on Seatown Beach.
1881 October 31st: Flying Fish, wrecked near Cobb, Lyme Regis.
1887 August 27th: King George, 40 ton trawler laden with limestone from Lyme Regis, went ashore among the Black Rocks to the west of West Bay and sank.
1891 October: two Shoreham smacks driven ashore at West Bay during a gale.
1895 January 18th: Olive, holed in calm weather at West Bay and eventually sank.

1903 March 12th: Albion, grit carrying schooner wrecked on the beach at West Bay after colliding with the west pier.
1909 November 27th: Lancelot, sprit-sail barge driven ashore near West Bay.
1913 November 4th: Empress of India, 14,000 ton battleship deliberately sunk in Lyme Bay whilst being used as a naval target.
1914 December 11th: Emma & John, Weymouth fishing smack wrecked on the cliffs to the east of Lyme Regis in southerly gale.
1923 May 3rd: Alioth, wrecked on beach to east of West Bay

The Preveza in two pieces in Chesil Cove

The two sections of the Preveza on the beach in Chesil Cove after it had broken up during a storm in 1920. The boilers remained visible for many years.


1924 January 12th: Nordead, French mud-hopper driven ashore at Seatown with no one on board.
1930 January 12th: Reine des Cieux, French ketch, seen drifting across Lyme Bay after crew taken off by Torbay lifeboat. Eventually wrecked at Eype, just west of Bridport.
1937 January 31st: St Michel, French ketch, wrecked between Charmouth and Lyme.
1969 January 17th: Karuna, catamaran, abandoned at sea after collision with tanker and towed into Lyme. Broke its moorings during a gale. Two lifeboatmen drowned when attempting to recover it and the Inshore Rescue Boat capsized.

NOTE: The Index does not include ships wrecked in the 'Great Gale' of 1824.

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