Endymion Porter was the son of a landowner in Gloucester but was brought up by his grandparents in Spain. In 1623 at the age of 36 he joined the English Royal Court and later, when Charles Ist became King, he was made a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. The King sent to him Spain to negotiate an alliance against France. He returned on a Spanish Ship which foundered off Burton Bradstock on the 2nd January 1629. Endymion , together with the ships captain Don Antonio,and it's 130 crew were cast ashore. Sir Thomas Freke, the Sherriff of Dorset, together with the help of Mr. Porter undertook to look after the crew and supplied them with cloth to replace their garments and paid for their vitualling for the two months they were shipwrecked. The Captain also had his spyglass replaced. The villagers of Burton Bradstock took advantage of this wreck and serious looting occurred. Robert Napier of West Bexington and his Catholic friend, John Arundell of Symondsbury were highly embarrassed by the villagers actions and sought to amend the situation by writing an apology to Endymion, thus:-
Your rustick freind presuming on your worth, dareth to salute you, not with a puritanical hart, as did the Burtonions or rather Brutonians, at your perilous arrival on our barbaric coast, but with a reall and Catholike hart, solely and wholely devoted ever to honour and serve you.
Napier tried to deliver this letter in person to Endymion to express regret at the 'base abuses and beggarly insultings' Burton had offered their unexpected guest.
Taken from Companion to Dorset by Dorothy Gardiner first published in 1939
1641 The Golden Grape on from Cadiz to Dover went down. She was forced onto the shore at East Fleet by foul weather and seven men and boys drowned. She was carrying Spanish port, sherry, 2000 barrels of raisins, 400 jars of oil, silver plate, silk, pistols and bullion.
Despite the violent sea villagers lost no time in plundering the wreck, stuffing raisins into every available pocket, carrying off barrels of oil, port and sherry.
The authorities searched many homes to try and recover the cargo and more than 400 locals were brought in for questioning.
Extract from Rene Gerryts' article called 'Country Life' in the Dorset Evening Echo dated Friday, November, 6th 1987.
Other interesting items are from the registers of Burton Bradstock Church of St. Mary the Virgin and are as follows:-
1763. Feb 23. Was buried a Lad of abt. 4 or 5 years old who was thrown ashore in the Parish and supposed to be a Passenger in a vessel bound from the Bay of Honduras as a Quantity of Logwood etc. came ashore at the same time. N.B. The Boy genteely dress'd and deem'd to be the son of a Lady richly dress'd who was taken up a few miles from the Parish.
1837. Nov 24. Olloff Bjorkholm of Stockholm supposed to be 20. Olloff Bjorkholm was steward of a Brig. named Systrarne of Stockholm which was driven on this shore on the 23rd Nov., at noon. This man with three others, attempted to swim on shore after the vessel struck on the rocks. He was unfortunately drowned, but the others were saved through the praiseworthy exertions of the Inhabitants of the Parish. The vessel had been run foul of by another Brig in the course of the night by which her Bulwarks were stove in, her masts carried away, and she became waterlogged and a perfect wreck, drifting at the mercy of the waves. She was Bound to Batavia, laden with timber, iron and tar. Verdict-'Found dead'
1838 Dec 3. 1 St Malo man of 50 years. 1 Spanish boy of 13. These two, with seven others, were washed on this shore 29th Nov., 1838. The vessel was a French Smack Le Jean Bert, of St. Maloes, from Oran, near Algiers, with a cargo of Hides, bound to Havre de Grace. The captain, two men, and a Spanish boy were drowned. The vessel was a total wreck and a very little of the cargo was saved. The above was the Captain and the Spanish cabin boy. No. of hands on board 9. 5 saved. 4 drowned. 2 never found. The five lives that were saved were entirely through the Praiseworthy exertions of the Persons present who hauled them from the wreck to the top of the cliff by ropes a height of at least 215 feet. A Coroner's Inquest was holden on the Bodies by Mr. Jno. Frampton.
Look also at Weymouth's web site for Shipwrecks & Collisions around the coast of Weymouth and Portland
Other books of interest in the library.
In the Discover Dorset Series ' Shipwrecks' by Maureen Attwool
Hampshire and Dorset Shipwrecks by Graham Smith