A selection of items compiled by Steve Keates from various sources during his study of 18/19th century coastal shipping links between South Wales ports and the English counties of Devon and Somerset.
The section headings are;
List of coastal shipping giving Masters names of vessels that traded regularly between Somerset (mostly Bridgwater) and the Welsh Ports of Swansea, Neath, Cardiff and Newport. ( Some of these vessels were still sailing in the 1920's)
Watchet: Conveyances by water.
To Swansea and Newport
Cargos for the Swansea and Newport boats likely to be coal and limestone.
Arrivals from the 26th December 1842 to the 3rd January 1843
This list is only of those boats from Wales, the paper gives other shipping but this was outside my research study parameters.
One or two regulars and confirming Newport as a principle coal port at the time.
Also from the Somerset County Gazette
Bristol Packet and Taunton Packet both for Newport plus the following;
In these lists Friends occurs with different masters. There was however more than one vessel named Friends working in these waters.
Some of these Vessels and Masters names are mentioned in Graham Farr's book The Somerset Harbours, [Christopher Johnson 1954]
Since these coasters varied their routes any one of these masters could have a connection with the Welsh ports.
Extract from the book 'Somerset Harbours' by Graham Farr (1954);
."....arrivals in the Parrett in January 1851........There were no less than 54 craft; comprising 22 from Cardiff, 19 from Newport, 7 from Lydney and one from Swansea, doubtless all with coal or iron..........Four from Gloucester, probably with salt or flour; and one from Bristol with general cargo transhipped from ocean-going vessels. The ever popular names were there - Ann, Fame, Prudence, Unanimity, Friends, and the inevitable Caerleon from Newport. The Masters, too included names still found on Parrett-side --- Smart, Duddridge, Withycombe, Davidige, Hobbs, Herbert, Bryant, and there were the two Sharmans, William of the James and Sarah, and James of the William and Mary. The latter.....figured in the Moss Rose rescue of 1836, commemorated by the stone on Burnham promenade. There was a captain John Sharman in charge of the Nancy as early as 1788."
Original document in Som. R.O. DD/DP7/9
This estimate gives wages and the taxes paid on Welsh coal, and the goods being shipped to Swansea showing active building taking place. Spelling is as per the original and is interpreted from the good captains handwriting to the best of my ability. It was not easy.
Captain Hawkins estimate of expenses attending a ship load of 25 Chaldrons off coal from Swansea to Bridgwater. April 17th 1776.
Expense of a ship load of coal Swansea to Bridgwater.
*Defvce literally a contrivance but seems used to describe a vessel. 'Sterning ye Defvce' means Commissioning the vessel i.e. flying a stern flag to show where the vessel is registered.
*Chaldron a measure used in the shipping of coal and limestone in this case each Chaldren was 36 Bushels.
On the voyage out to Swansea it was proposed the ship carry Timber (Elm planks), bricks and cloth (Long ells, a white wool cloth manufactured mostly in the Wellington area)
This is for the estate of Monkton Somerset. Further expense would have to be incurred to transport the coal to the estate from Bridgwater. It shows then that the cost of coal in this region Somerset was reasonably high and provides one reason why the Cloth manufactures in these regions were reluctant to introduce steam power.
Capt Hawkins did not have a boy called Jim, nor a dog called Black Spot.
From Early Chancery Proceedings - a Welshman makes a case for the return of goods.
Chancellor : The Archbishop of Canterbury
Date : 13 May 1443-31 January 1450
Petitioner : William Nerbere of St Athan in Glamorgan South Wales
Complaint : Thomas Gower, captain of Cherbourg and John Bere of Barnstaple in Devonshire were in possession and owners of a * balinger called the 'Mary'. Thomas Gower granted his part of the ship to the petitioner who had been peaceably in possession of it, by reason of the grant, in common with John Bere; until William Lethycote, also of Barnstaple, was allowed by John Bere to enter wrongfully onto the petitioner's part of the ship, and kept it wrongfully from him for more than six years, and was still doing so, to his great harm.
Request : That the chancellor would consider the foregoing and grant a writ of subpoena directed to William Lethycote, commanding him to appear on a given day before the king in chancery to answer the petitioner in the matter, so that the latter might recover his part of the ship and the damages he had sustained in accordance with the chancellor's wisdom, as good conscience and reason required, for the love of God.
*English sailing barge usually with from forty to fifty oars, shallow-draughted and clinker built.
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