Extreme weather exposes shipwreck of a sailing boat that sunk without trace in 1854

The remains of the sloop were uncovered on Pensarn Beach in Abergele, North Wales.

Stormy weather has unearthed a shipwreck dating back over 150 years on Pensarn Beach in Abergele, North Wales.

The historic remains were discovered by a member of the public, Mike Hughes, who contacted the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT).

CPAT rushed to investigate the find and surveyed the site. Teams worked quickly against the tide, taking detailed measurements of the 45ft-long wreckage and compared them with historical records.

The archaeologists found that the shipwreck was the long-lost sloop Endeavour — which had sunk without trace in October 1854.

The 35-tonne wooden ship, built at Chester in 1817, was caught in gale force winds and blown inshore at Abergele. Fortunately the crew were saved by the Rhyl lifeboat before the sloop sunk, but until now the remains had been lost.

Philip Smith/Alamy Stock Photo

The wreck lies in the Abergele Roads, an area of shoals, near a tidal pond, which is only visible after storms and during low tides.

CPAT said the vessel had appeared after stormy weather in July.

The ship appears to be lying on its keel, with lower parts of the stern and sides visible. The bow is believed to be lost or submerged, although elements of a possible bowsprit can be seen.

It is possible that more of the hull is also preserved beneath the sediment.

‘It is always exciting to find a new piece in the jigsaw puzzle of history’, said Dr Paul Belford, director of CPAT. ‘The shifting sands of the Welsh coast have the potential to reveal all sorts of secrets about the past, and we really appreciate new information from members of the public.’

The site is now a scheduled ancient monument. CPAT has recommended it be fully surveyed, including the use of techniques such as dendrochronology and wood sampling to accurately date the wreck.

Further degradation is hoped to be prevented through conservation methods such as using sand and stone layers, which are known to help preserve partially submerged remains.

In an interview with the BBC, Dr Belford said more ancient monuments and historic ruins will be uncovered as extreme weather becomes more frequent.

‘You’ll see more and more wrecks and ancient monuments uncovered as extreme weather events become more frequent due to the impact of climate change.

‘Like the recent shipwreck find, these discoveries can help us answer the questions of our history.

‘Hopefully research will also help us learn lessons from the past and aid the fight against climate change.’

More information about the survey and a copy of the report can be found here.