Vessels built or refitted in
East-the-Water

R. I. & S. H. Kirby, 25 Feb 2017



Table of Contents

Notes on the lists 6

Completeness 6

Tonnage 6

Location of the ship-yards 7

William Brook's yard, Cross Park, ?-1824 till 1846 9

Location of the yard 9

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 9

Incidents relating to the yard 10

Ships launched 10

1824, brig Apollo, 179 tons 10

1828, brig Emma, 190 tons. 10

1829, brig Antigua, 170 tons 11

Circa 1830, unidentified vessel, approx 220 tons 11

1832, sloop Gleaner 11

1832, unidentified vessel 11

1833, brig Star of Brunswick 11

1833, unidentified brig, 110 tons 11

1834, schooner Quicksilver, upwards of 84 tons 11

1836, bark of unknown name, 205 tons. 12

1836, barque Gazelle, 282 tons 12

1838, schooner The William and Mary, 40 tons 12

1838, barque Highlander, 500 tons 12

1838, at least one unidentified vessels (see account of the launch of the Milford below) 12

1839, brig Milford, upward of 323 tons 12

1841, unidentified schooner 13

1841, unidentified ship, c. 385 tons o.m., 450 tons n.m & unidentified schooner of 140 tons o.m 13

1842, four unidentified vessels, 600 tons, 300 tons, 280 tons, and ? 13

1843, unidentified ship, 371 tons o.m., 486 n.m. unidentified schooner, 131 tons o.m. unidentified Brig (Alice Maud?) 14

1843, unidentified vessel, 900 tons. 14

1845, barque Alice Maud, 464 tons 14

1846, The Mistral 14

Vessels refitted or altered 15

Mr Chanter's Yard, Barnstaple Street, 1863 15

Location of the yard 15

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 15

Incidents relating to the yard 15

Ships launched 15

Mr John Crocker's Boat-building Yard, East-the-Water 16

Location of the yard 16

Biographical background on the boat-builder/s 16

Mr John Evans' Yard, East-the-Water 16

Location of the yard 16

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 16

Incidents relating to the yard 17

Ships launched 17

Mr. Thomas Evans' Yard, East-the-Water, 1824-39 17

Location of the yard 17

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 17

Incidents relating to the yard 19

Ships launched 19

1824, schooner Margaret. 19

1828, schooner, Navarino, 60 tons 19

c1829, unidentified vessel, 126 tons 19

1832, Reward 20

1832, unidentified vessel 20

1834, an unidentified lighter * 20

1837, schooner Kate, 120 tons 20

Ships re-furbished 20

1829, brig, Sarah and Eliza, 160 tons * 20

Ships owned 20

William Heard's Yard, Cross Park, c. 1793 21

Location of the yard 21

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 21

Johnson's Yard, Barnstaple Street, 1839-76 21

Location of the yard 21

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 22

Incidents relating to the yard 23

Ships launched 25

1840, schooner Isabelle, 125/109 tons 25

1841, Sincerity, 165 tons 25

1842, Prince of Wales 25

1843, schooner Maria, 90 tons 25

1846, sloop, Arrival 25

1848, unidentified vessel 26

1849, schooner Catherine, 94 tons 26

1849, brig Vivid, 280 tons 26

1850, unidentified ship 26

1850, brig Caroline Schenk, 300 tons 26

1851, schooner Abeona, 180 (or 130) tons 26

1851, clipper-built brig Earl of Derby, 300 tons 27

1851, clipper-built schooner John Pardew, 250 tons 27

1853, clipper-built schooner Cezimpra, 170 tons 27

1853, clipper-built schooner I'll Try 27

1853, brig Georgiana 27

1853, clipper-built brigantine Alice Jane, 280 tons 28

1853-4, at least one unidentified vessel 28

1854, clipper-built brigantine Clara Louisa, 300 tons 28

1856, clipper barque Louisa Bragington, 500 tons 28

1856, clipper built schooner Gilbert Wheaton/Gilbert Whitton, 180 tons 28

1856, brigantine Wild Flower, 152 (or c. 200?) tons 28

1856, schooner Renown 29

1857, clipper-built schooner Sarah Smith, 340 tons 29

1857, clipper-built Try Again, 140 tons 29

1857, schooner Criteria, 125 tons 30

1857, eliptic stem-schooner Sanspariel, 170 tons 30

1858, schooner Circe, 220 tons 30

1858, schooner Jane Davies, 160 tons 30

1858, brigantine Crest of the Ocean/Wave, 250 tons 30

1858, schooner William S. Green, 200 tons 31

1859, barque Yedora, 480 tons 31

1859, clipper brigantine Stanley, 145 tons 31

1859, brig Flying Cloud 31

1860, schooner Jehu, 162 (210 O.M.) tons 31

1860, smack Kate, 90 tons 32

1860, schooner Tirsah, 140 tons 32

1861, clipper-built schooner Lightning 32

1862, barque Copiapo, 430 tons 32

1862, schooner Catherine, 180 tons 32

1862, schooner Western Star 33

1863, dandy-rigged Daring, 110 tons 33

1863, brigantine Cazique (or Cazigine) 33

1864, brig, Eastern Star, of tonnage 208 33

1864, schooner Uganda, 137 tons register, 230 tons burden 33

1864, schooner John Farley, 180 (or 160) tons 34

1864, barque Beatrice 34

1865, barque Florence Danvers 34

1866, smack Dolphin 34

1866, brig Zingara, 330 tons. 35

1866, schooner, unidentified, 200 tons 35

1867, schooner British Gem, 150 tons 35

1867, fishing smack Morning Star 35

1868, barque G. A. Preston, 350 tons 35

1868, schooner Busy Bee, 100 tons 36

1869, barque Zayda, 200 tons 36

1869, barque Zedora, 480 tons 36

1869, brig Astoria, 400 tons 36

1869, barque Delamere 36

1870, brig Anne Harris, 156 tons 36

1871, schooner John Clark 37

1871, unidentified barque 37

1872, schooner Choice Fruit, 125 tons 37

1872, schooner Successful, 127 tons 37

1873, schooner Forward, 136 tons 37

1873, barque, Aureola/Oreola, 450 tons 37

1874, brig, Western Belle, 239 tons (GRT) 229 (NRT) 38

1874, brigantine Caroline, 160 tons 38

1875, three-masted barquentine May Cory, 163 tons (NRT) 38

1875, unidentified barque, 420 tons 38

1875, ketch H F Bolt. 38

1876, ketch Julia, 100 tons 39

Re-fitted at the yard 39

1867, smack Times, 80 tons. 39

1870, barque Lady Gertrude (formerly Pace), 850 tons 39

Owned by the Johnsons 39

1856, brigantine Wild Flower, 200 tons 39

1853, schooner, I'll Try 40

Henry Morgan Restarick's, Barnstaple Street, 1877-86 40

Location of the yard 40

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 40

Incidents relating to the yard 40

Background on the yard 40

Ships launched 40

1877, smack Kitten 40

1878, schooner Mona, c120 tons 40

1878, screw schooner Amy, 165 tons 40

1879, barquette Winifred, 200 tons (192n) 41

1883, smack (mission ship) Cholmondeley, 64.37 tons 41

1884, smack (mission ship) Edward Auriol 41

1855, smack Sparkling Nellie 42

1885, smack (mission ship) Sir Edward Birkbeck, 88 tons 42

1886, smack Maud of Scotland 42

1886, smack Fair Fanny, c99 tons 42

Re-fitted or repaired by Restarick 43

1884, Helstone 43

William Taylor's yard, Cross Parks, ?-1803 till 1830-? 43

Location of the yard 43

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 43

Incidents relating to the yard 44

Ships launched 44

1803, Brigantine Pillhead, 117 tons 44

1805, Brigantine Miners, 84 tons 44

1806, Brigantine Underhill, 84 tons 44

1807, brig sloop, HMS Carnation, 383 tons 44

1807, ‘Thai’ Class fire-ship, HMS Comet, 444 tons 45

1808, cruizer class Brig Sloop Carnation 45

1808, schooner Traveller, 102 tons 45

1809, brigantine Marys, 106 tons 45

1811, brig Kangroo, 210 tons 45

1812, cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Fairy, 386 tons 45

1812, Schooner Fame, 130 tons 46

1812, Sloop Venus, 58 tons 46

1813, Brigantine HMS Mastiff, 184 tons 46

1813, bomb vessel HMS Belzebub/Beelzebub/Belsebub, 334 tons 46

1813, Brigantine Pacific, 135 tons 47

1814, Brigantine Aurora, 154 tons 47

1814, Schooner Elizabeth, 116 tons 47

1814, Schooner Enterprize, 125 tons 47

1815, Schooner Dove, 84 tons 47

1815, Brig Jane, 168 tons 47

1815, Brigantine Rover, 101 tons 47

1817, Ship HMS Tees, 452 tons 47

1818, Sloop Venus, 53 tons 48

1819, Brigantine Hazard, 53 tons 48

1820, Sloop Margaret, 54 tons 48

1820, Sloop Swiss, 34 tons 48

1820, Schooner Two Brothers, 87 tons 48

1821, Sloop Perseverance, 49 tons 48

1822, Schooner Francess Ann, 101 tons 48

1822, Sloop Rising Sun, 39 tons 48

1823, yawl Fly, 60 tons 48

1824, schooner-brig Brothers, 80 tons 48

1824, brig Friends, 122 tons 48

1824, Snow Rocket, 212 tons 49

1825, ketch James Lyon, 137 tons 49

1825, ship Cosmo, 409 tons 49

1826, brig Salus, 169 tons 49

1826, brig Three Sisters, 88 tons 49

1826, brig William & Elizabeth, 79 tons 49

1827, brig Drake, 150 tons 49

1827, smack Gurnet, 15 tons 50

1827, brig Saltern's Rock, 142 tons 50

1827, ketch Swallow, 148 tons 50

1828, sch/brig Brothers, 84 tons 51

1828, sloop James & Louisa, 17 tons 51

1829, brig Shepherdess, 127 tons 51

1830, schooner Little Cosmo, 57 tons 51

1830, Barque Mary Jane, 249 tons 51

Henry Tucker's yard, East-the-Water, ?-1806-? 51

Location of the yard 51

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 51

Incidents relating to the yard 53

Ships launched 53

1806, sloop Mutine 53

1813, Gun-brig Pelter, 183 51⁄94 tons 53

1824, brig New Alfred, 120 tons 54

Waters' yard, Cross Park, ?-1848 till 1872-? 54

Location of the yard 54

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s 54

Incidents related to the yard 55

Ship launches 55

1845, sloop Ebernezer, 22 tons 55

1851, copper-bottomed schooner Vivid, 150 tons. 55

1852, schooner Queen of the Seas, 240 tons 55

1852, smack Quiver, 65 tons 55

1852, screw steamer Alpha 56

1854, barque Chieftain/Ellen Sophia, in excess of 200 tons 56

1855, brig Wildwave 56

1856, unidentified schooner. 56

1856, schooner Gleanings, 90 tons. 56

1856, schooner Heroine, 126 tons 56

1857, schooner Zouave, 120 tons. 56

1857, schooner Fairy, 140 tons. 57

1858, schooner Leader, 140 tons 57

1858, smack Pride of Torridge 57

1859, St. Germans 57

1862, unidentified vessel 57

1868, Schooner Isme 58

1865, schooner The Two Sisters 58

1867, unidentified schooner 58

1868, schooner Ismene, 180 tons 58

1870, clipper schooner Forward Ho! 58

Ships refitted or altered 58

Built in Bideford, but not in East-the-Water 59



Notes on the lists

Completeness

The following lists are potentially incomplete, as every so often additional records turn up, but they document published evidence of over 180 vessels built in East-the-Water shipyards, many of which have yet to be associated with names. It has been compiled primarily from press reports of launches, or vessels on the stocks, but this has been supplemented with names found on other lists, where vessels have been found to be missing.

Pre-19th C. origins

In Pigot's 1844 Trade Directory, only one Bideford-based shipbuilder – Evans & Cox – is listed outside East-the-Water. But ship-building in East-the-Water can be traced back far earlier than that.

A plan from around 1717 suggests that sites near those at Bridge End and Clarence Wharf/Brook's Yard were active at that time. It does not show detail far enough to the north to know about the Cross Parks yard, or any potential ship-yard sites on the other side of the river.

The folk-memory of shipbuilding in East-the-Water goes back to Elizabethan times, and tells that of two of Sir Richard Grenvilles ships, used against the Spanish Armada, had been built there. Certainly Bideford was, at that period, capable of building one of the largest vessels in the land.

The latter history of ship-building in Bideford includes many more yards on the west of the Torridge, for the deep water channel moved to that side in the latter 19th C. Prior to that the deeper water seems to have frequently favoured the East-the-Water shore.

Tonnage

Prior to 1854 tonnage, a measure of carrying capacity, had been based on the size of a wine cask (tun), one ten being about forty cubic feet. In 1854 the first British Merchant Shipping Act mandated the use of the Moorsom System of tonnage, based on the internal volume available, and therefore the earning capacity of the ship. Under the Moorsom System required two tonnages, the gross tonnage was the entire space, except for exempted spaces, the second, net tonnage, was what remained after various deductions, and was intended to be a clearer reflection of the ship's earning capacity for taxation purposes. Under the Moorsom System one ton equals one hundred cubic feet, so a ship of 300 tons under the old system would be about 750 tons under the new. It is not always clear, from the newspaper reports, which tonnage is being used, so the reader will have to form their own opinion, or consult other records.

Location of the ship-yards

During the 19th C. there appear to have been ship-yards on at least five sites. See the table below for my current hypotheses concerning their locations (starts and ends of occupancy are based on the detailed data given later in the text).

Wm. Henry Rogers typed manuscript Notes on Bideford reproduce, amongst notes taken from a notebook kept by Vernon Boyle (1858-1926), some reminiscences from T. Murphy, recorded in 1904, when Murphy was 89 [Vol 3, Pg 35]. They include the following “East-the-Water there were 5 shipyards : Johnson's by the bridge, one where Gabriel's yard now is, then Water' opposite the Terminus Inn, one on the beach where the goods station now stands or a bit further back against the road and one at cross park.” Barnstaple-street-raised resident of East-the-Water Derek Barnes used to live near Gabriel's Yard and in 2016 pointed out the remains of its wall. From this it is clear that the shipyard mentioned by Boyle was in the area now known as Clarence Wharf.

Location

Description

Occupant

First appear on records

Last appearance on records

Crosspark Yard


Probably at the northern end of Crosspark Rock, a site later occupied by a pottery

William Taylor

1803

1830

Chanter's Yard

Probably west of the Old Barnstaple Road (on site of an earlier quay known as Burnard's Quay)

Chanter (Possibly Thomas Burnard Chanter, Thomas Burnard's nephew)

1863 (he never seems to have got round to building any ships on it, possibly he just refitted there)

1863 (about when the station approach road would have run across it)

Brook's Yard

(exact locations shown on plans from the period)

To the west of the Currier's Arms (now the East of the Water restaurant) in 1832 but appears to have migrated northward to be opposite 1 Barnstaple Street by 1842.

William Brook

(his occupancy proved beyond doubt)

1824

1846 (a launch in this year identifies the yard as of “the late Mr. Brook”, Mrs Brook put the yard up for sale in Oct 1846)



Thomas Waters, then William Waters

1848

1873

Clarence Wharf Yard

(General area known)

On the southern side of the modern car-park, on the site once known as Gabriel's Yard

Henry Tucker (moved out of ship-building to focus on malting and bark export)

1805

Tucker died in 1846 (site sold in 1848, with Thomas Waters living there


c1850 till c1867 the Bideford Anthracite Company were actively using this area, much of the time with a gantry across it that would have impaired ship-building on the site.


The foreshore in this area converted into a dry dock

Johnson

c 1869

c. 1870

Bridge End Yard

(Exact locations shown on plans for the latter period)

Originally west of Embery's Drang, but extended south under Johnson (to take 3 vessels)

John Evans (possible occupant, alternatively the site may have been a timber-yard)

1806?

c. 1822



Thomas Evans

1824

1839



Robert Johnson, then John Johnson

1840

1876



Henry Morgan Restarick

1877

1886



William Brook's yard, Cross Park, ?-1824 till 1846

Location of the yard

On early plans of the area this yard is shown immediately opposite the Currier's Arms (later the Terminus, now the 'East of the Water' restaurant), and marked as Brook's.

Grant and Christie's statement that he succeeded William Taylor at the Cross Park shipyard [Alison Grant and Peter Christie, The Book of Bideford, Buckingham :Barracuda Books Limited, 1987, page 39] needs to be treated with caution, as the periods of operation of Taylor and Brook overlap.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

The name Wm. Brook is listed in Pigot's Trade Directory of 1822-23 under three occupation categories, Salt Merchant, Coal Merchant, and Lime Burner. Address on each occasion is given as East the Water.

He is listed in Pigot's 1830 Directory for Devonshire, under Ship Builders, as “Brook William, East the Water”

In 1832 Brook was accused of circulating a false report concerning William Tardew Esq. From his published refutation we discover that he was a churchwarden at Bideford. [“To William Tardew Esq.” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 14 April 1832 p3 c5]

He is listed in Robson's 1839 Directory for Devonshire, as “Brook William, Ship Builder, East the Water”

The 1841 Census lists one “Henry Brook” aged 47, ship builder, living with his wife Mary, his family and one servant. The premises look to be that later occupied by Thomas Waters, another shipbuilder.

In July 1842, “a fine little girl, daughter of Mr. Brook, shipbuilder, left her home about five o'clock, to play in the yard opposite” she was later seen playing with some girls in a boat, but then disappeared. It was assumed that she had fallen into the water, the river was dragged repeatedly, but her body was never found. [Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 30 July 1842 p3 c4]

In 1843 he stood for election as a local councillor on the conservative platform, but was defeated. [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 02 November 1843 p2 c6]

Brook is listed in Pigot's 1844 Trade Directory under Shipbuilders, when address given as East the Water.

March 11, at Bideford, Mr. William Brook, aged 51” [“Died” Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 27 March 1845 p3 c2] The Western Times listed his death as “W. Brooks, shipbuilder, aged 51 years.” [Western Times 22 March 1845 p5 c2]

The yard closed in about 1846, following William's death.

In 1863 Louisa “eldest daughter of the late Mr. Wm. Brook, shipbuilder, Bideford” was married to Lucien Bartholemy, Esq., of London. [Western Times 05 February 1863 p1 c3]

Incidents relating to the yard

On 19 Mar 1831 Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette [p3 c3] reported 'On Monday last, as Mr. Brook, shipbuilder, of Bideford, with several of his men, were engaged on board the “Betsy,” which had been driven ashore at Appledore, with a view to getting her off, on the coming up of the tide, the vessel suddenly heeled, when a shipwright, named Hanger, of Bideford, fell overboard; and was carried out to sea by the waves and drowned.'

In July 1840 a workman was injured, but two conflicting press reports leave some doubt over quite what happened. The local paper states, Edward Clarke, who was in the employ of Mr. Brook, ship-builder, fell downthe hatchway of a vessel, a few days ago, and sustained a dreadful fracture of his leg. [North Devon Journal 16 July 1840 p3 c2]. The Exeter paper states that a painter named Clark fell through the skylight on board a ship in the yard of Mr. Brook and broke his leg. [Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 18 July 1840 p3 c3]

In the Bideford Regatta, of July 1845, the prizes in a race fro two-oared boats were taken by “two boats belonging to the new barque, in the late Mr. Brooke's yard.” [Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 10 July 1845 p3 c4]

Bideford, Devon, --Eligible Opportunity to Shipbuilders and Others. TO BE LET, for a Term, with immediate possession, The commodious Shipbuilding Yard Of the late Mr. William Brook, situated East-the-water, Bideford.
The Premises are exceedingly compact, and from their situation and extent and admirably adapted to any mercantile purpose, but especially for the Shipbuilding business, for which they were erected by the late Proprietor.
There is a Saw-pit within the walls, 70 feet by 18 ; a Smith's Shop, 34 feet by 20 ; spacious Lofts, with every convenience required in the trade. Vessels can lie alongside the yard in perfect safety.
For viewing and particulars, apply to Mrs. William Brook, East-the-Water, Bideford.
Dated October 7
th, 1846. [North Devon Journal 08 October 1846 p1 c4]

Ships launched

1824, brig Apollo, 179 tons

"On Wednesday, a beautiful brig bearing the name and figure head of Apollo, about 180 tons burden, was launched from the yard of Mr. W. Bock [sic], East-the-Water, Bideford. She went off the stocks in fine style, to the great gratification of a large concourse of spectators." ["Bideford." North Devon Journal 30 July 1824 p4 c2]

Graham Farr gives her as a Mediterranean trader of 179 tons [“Ship Building in North Devon.” Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

1828, brig Emma, 190 tons.

'On Saturday evening, the “Emma” a finely modelled brig, about 190 tons burthen, was launched from the yard of Mr. W. Brook, shipbuilder, of Bideford.' [Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 07 June 1828 p2 c4]

1829, brig Antigua, 170 tons

"Last week, a fine brig, named Antigua, intended for the trade to and from that island, about 170 tons burthen, was launched from the yard of Mr. William Brook, Shipbuilder, East the Water. At half past six o'clock in the evening, upon a signal given by the builder, the dock-stays were knocked down, when she left the yard in fine style, being fully rigged, with her colours flying, amidst the shouts of upwards of 2000 people, who thronged every part of town that commands a sight of the yard, After the launch, the builder entertained a large party of friends at his house, and in the mean while, the shipwrights enjoyed themselves after their own fashion, at a neighbouring public house. On Wednesday she sailed for Belfast, to which port she belongs, with a cargo of bark. She is commanded by Mr. Wilson, an Irishman, and the many hats and hands waved in the air while the vessel was under weigh, bore testimony to the character which this open-hearted son of Erin has gained during his residence among us. -- The keel of a vessel 50 tons larger than the above, has since been laid down for the same merchants. ["Bideford." North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 23 April 1829 p4 c2]

Circa 1830, unidentified vessel, approx 220 tons

The keel for such a vessel was mentioned as having been laid down in 1829, see details for the brig Antigua ["Bideford." North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 23 April 1829 p4 c2]

1831, unidentified brig

“On Thursday last, during the launch of a brig from the yard of Mr. brook, ship builder, east the river, one of the workmen named Hooper had his foot dreadfully bruised by the fall of a piece of timber. The poor fellow has been laid up all the previous winter from a similar misfortune.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 21 May 1831 p3 c2]

1832, sloop Gleaner

'On Thursday last, a sloop of about 34 tons register, was launched from Mr. Brook's yard, East the Water, named "Gleaner."' [North Devon Journal 10 May 1832 p1 c5]

1832, unidentified vessel

Last week, two fine vessels were launched from the yards of Mr. Brooks and Mr. Evans, they are intended for the coasting trade.” [North Devon Journal 05 July 1832 p4 c4]

1833, brig Star of Brunswick

"A very fine brig, named 'The Star of Brunswick,' was launched on Thursday last, from the yard of Mr. Brook, east the water ; she went off the stocks in fine stile [sic], amidst the acclamations of numerous spectators." [North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 02 May 1833 p4 c2]

1833, unidentified brig, 110 tons

For Sale, at Mr. Wm. Brook's Yard, in Bideford, a FINE BRIG of the following Dimensions –Length of Keel, for measurement, 65 feet –Breadth, 19 Feet 2 Inches—Depth in Hold, 11 Feet 9 Inches – will register 110 Tons, with a 12 inch Quarter Deck ; she is well adapted for the Foreign or Coasting Trade, being copper fastened below wales, and will carry a very large Cargo, 175 Tons. The above vessel can be launched in a Month. Application to be made, free of postage, to Mr. Wm. Brook.--Dated at Bideford, 25th July, 1833” [Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 03 August 1833 p3 c5]

1834, schooner Quicksilver, upwards of 84 tons

'On Monday last, was launched from the yard of Mr. William Brook, shipbuilder, a fine schooner, named “Quicksilver,” upwards of 84 tons burthen per register, intended to trade from the port of Truro. She went off the stocks in gallant stile, with colours flying.' [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 26 June 1834 p4 c2]

1836, bark of unknown name, 205 tons.

Launched, on Tuesday morning, at the shipbuilding yard of Mr. William Brook, east the water, a fine bark of 205 tons burthen per register, built for Mr. Wm. Phillips, of Liverpool, merchant. She went off the stocks in gallant style.” [North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 21 January 1836 p4 c4]

1836, barque Gazelle, 282 tons

'On Monday a large barque, of 282 tons per register measure, was launched from the ship building yard of Mr. William Brook, east the water. She went off the stocks and plunged into her natural element in fine style, in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators who lined the quay and bridge. She is built for some merchants of Liverpool, and was named the “Gazelle.”' [North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 01 September 1836 p4 c4]

The local press of Sept. 1836, stated —'on August 29th a barque was launched by Mr. William Brook at Bideford for Messrs. Ferris, Butler and Co., of Liverpool, named Gazelle.'” . . . “The Gazelle dropped from L.R. [Lloyd's Register] between 1841-3.” [Grahame E Farr Editor. Records of Bristol Ships, 1800-1838 (vessels Over 150 Tons). Bristol: Bristol Record Society, 1950. Pg 233]

1838, schooner The William and Mary, 40 tons

'Launched at Mr. Brook's ship-building yard on the east side of the river, a schooner, named “The William and Mary,” built for W.V. Richards, Esq. of Georgeham; she measures 40 tons, but by the old measure she would have exceeded 50 tons.' [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 1 March 1838 p4 c3]

1838, barque Highlander, 500 tons

“We seldom remember to have witnessed so large a concourse of individuals of all grades of life, as was present to view the launching of the barque 'Highlander,' at this port, on Thursday evening last. The bridge, the quay, the Barnstaple new road, the builder's yard, indeed wherever a good sight could be had, was crowded. The river also presented a very animated appearance, being studded with boats with parties on board to view the launch. At a few minutes past six o'clock, and the moment after the word was given to remove the bars, the majestic vessel dashed into the river with a graceful and easy descent, “and like a thing of heart and life” rode buoyantly and proudly on the stream. The 'Highlander' is a beautiful specimen of naval architecture, and reflects no small degree of credit on our talented townsman, Mr. Brook, her builder. She is 500 tons burden, and it is intended that her first voyage shall be to Sydney and New South Wales.” [North Devon Journal 31 May 1838 p4 c4]

1838, at least one unidentified vessels (see account of the launch of the Milford below)

1839, brig Milford, upward of 323 tons

On Wednesday the 'Milford,' a large brig, upwards of 323 tons, Captain Davidson, master, was launched from the ship building yard of Mr. Brooks, East-the-Water, Bideford.--She is built for a merchant of Bristol. This is the fourth large vessel built by Mr. Brooks within this last twelve months, making together upwards of 736 tons. [“North Devon” Western Times 12 January 1839 p3 c4]

Thomas Corey published his account of recent events in Bideford involving the Milford. “I entered into a written contract with Mr. Brooks to build a ship, which was to be called the Milford, of certain dimensions, and at a certain given price per ton, which was to be completed in the month of june last, and sums amounting to 850l. were to be paid at stipulated stages of the building, and the remainder when the ship was complete, by a bill of six months date. The ship, although agreed to be completed in June last, was not (much to my inconvenience and loss) launched until 2nd January last, when she was delivered to my captain. Instead of paying Mr. Brook 150l. before the ship was launched, agreeable to the contract, I paid him 2,000l. The price of the ship according to the contract would be 2, 752l. 7s. and having paid the above sum, I caused my bill for the balance to be tendered to him, which he refused to receive, demanding a larger sum than he was entitled to receive by the contract. The ship having been delivered and placed in the hands of my captain, I employed a steamer with seven aboard to bring her to Bristol, but I deny that the men were armed. On arrival of the steamer at Bideford, myself and four men boarded her (my captain and one man being then on board) and caused her to be made fast to the steamer, when Mr. Brook and several of his men threatened to cut the rope which fastened the ship to the steamer, and which I resisted, having a right so to do; the ship being my property and in my possession, having paid for her according to the terms of the contract; and as a proof that Mr. Brook considered he had acted wrong, upon quitting the ship at Appledore, he offered to shake hands with me, and proposed to send the ship's tiller which was in his yard on board, which he accordingly did in the course of the day.” [“The Late Occurence at Bideford” Bristol Times and Bath Advocate 16 March 1839 p3 c4]

1841, unidentified schooner

The port of Bideford, which has for some time presented a scene of activity and gaity[sic] from the number of vessels fitting out for emigration, was considerably enlivened, on Wednesday last, by the launch of a fine schooner from the yard of Mr. Brooks, East-the-Water. At half-past six every preparation being completed, and the signal given, she went off the stocks in gallant style. A more interesting launch we have not witnessed for some time, and the evening being fine, a large number of spectators assembled to witness it.” [North Devon Journal 25 March 1841 p3 c1]

1841, unidentified ship, c. 385 tons o.m., 450 tons n.m &
unidentified schooner of 140 tons o.m

For PRIVATE SALE, at Bideford, Now Building, and can be launched in three months, A SHIP, of the following dimensions-- Length for measurement, 112 feet; breadth, 27 feet 6 inches, or thereabouts ; depth, 19 feet;--a full poop, 35 feet in length, with a top-gallant forecastle ; will ad-measure about 385 tons o.m. and about 450 tons n.m. She has been in frame nearly twelve months, and is building under the inspection of Lloyd's surveyor, and to be a first class ship 12 A 1. Her frame and plank are all of the best English oak.
Also, a SCHOONER,
Now in in [sic] frame, and can be finished in three months, about 140 tons o.m. : a sister vessel to the Schooner Pet, now in Liverpool, commanded by Captain William Shotton, who will give any information required respecting the Ship or Schooner; and for particulars as to price, & c. apply to WILLIAM BROOK, Shipbuilder, Bideford.” [Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser 04 November 1841 p3 c2]

1842, four unidentified vessels, 600 tons, 300 tons, 280 tons, and ?

The Shipbuilders of Bideford and Appledore, looking forward to a revival of trade, are building largely on speculation. Mr Brook has a fine vessel on the stocks, which will burthen 600 tons ; besides three others, ranging from 280 to 320 tons.” [Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 01 September 1842 p3 c5]

1843, unidentified ship, 371 tons o.m., 486 n.m.
unidentified schooner, 131 tons o.m.
unidentified Brig
(Alice Maud?)

ON SALE, at Bideford, A SHIP, Ready for launching, of the following dimensions: Length for measurement 112 feet, breadth 27 feet, depth 19 feet; has a full poop with a topgallant forecastle, a full figure-head, carved stern and quarter badges; admeasures 371 tons o.m. and 486 tons n.m. She has been more than 2 ½ years in the building, and under the inspection of Lloyd's Surveyor, of London, first class ship twelve A 1, and can be completed for sea in one month.
Also, a SCHOONER,
Ready for launching, of the following dimensions;--Length for measurement 70 feet, breadth 20 feet 9 inches, depth 13 feet 3 inches; admeasures 131 tons o.m.

Also, a BRIG,

Of the following dimensions:--Length 85 feet, breadth 23 feet, depth 15 feet 6 inches, with a quarter deck 24 inches in height; and is now planking; can be finished in three months; to be first class twelve A 1; has been inspected by Mr. Bailey. --For particulars as to price, &c. apply to WM. BROOK, Shipbuilder, Bideford. May 14th, 1843. (One concern)” [Gore's Liverpool General Advertiser 15 June 1843 p3 c3]

1843, unidentified vessel, 900 tons.

A most splendid vessel of 900 tons burthen, will be ready to be launched from the building yard of Mr. W. Brooks, East the Water, in the course of 6 weeks or two months hence. The model and workmanship of this fine structure are and will be additional proofs of the abilities of Mr. Brooks, the owner and sole contractor and manager from the commencement to the completion.” [“North Devon.” Trueman's Exeter Flying Post 29 June 1843 p3 c6]

1845, barque Alice Maud, 464 tons

On Tuesday evening the fine ship so long laying on the stocks in the yard of the late Mr. William Brook, was launched. She was named the 'Alice Maud.'” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 18 September 1845 p2 c7]

Graham Farr identifies the 464 ton barque Alice Maud as the last vessel attributed to Brooks [“Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

The Passengers in History site has records for three voyages by a 463 ton barque called Alice Maude, built by William Brook in Bideford in 1845, dimensions 110.0x24.0 x18.6, demise J. Lidgett, reg. London. These were: one from Melbourne to Port Adelaide (arriving 1 Mar 1849); two from London to Port Adelaide (29 Jun 1854 till 20 Nov 1854, and 8 Apr 1858 till 17 Jan 1859). [“Alice Maud” Passengers In History. South Australia Maritime Museum. Online http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/919460 Accessed 20/12/2016]

1846, The Mistral

On Saturday, a fine vessel was launched at the yard of the late Mr. Brook, ship-builder. She went off well, and was named The Mistral. She is intended for the South American trade.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 18 July 1846 p3 c5]

Vessels refitted or altered

None identified as yet.

Mr Chanter's Yard, Barnstaple Street, 1863

Location of the yard

Appears to have been near to the site of the goods station, as one proposal for the new road to the Cross Park station was to run it “in a line from Cross Park Rock and Mr. G Heard's Quay, and reaching from the railway station to Mr. Chanter's ship-yard, through which it bends into East-the-Water street” [“Town Council” Wooler's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 04 September 1863 p6 c2].

In reminiscences from T. Murphy, recorded in 1904, when Murphy was 89 [Notebook of Vernon Boyle (1858-1926), cited in Wm. Henry Rogers typed manuscript Vol 3, Pg 35], he states, concerning shipyards, that there was “one on the beach where the goods station now stands or a bit further back against the road.” A plan, dating from between 1832 and 1855, shows a quay in this precise location, marked as belonging to Mr. Burnard. This Mr. Burnard is likely to have been Thomas Burnard, the uncle of Thomas Burnard Chanter. Thomas Burnard, himself a successful merchant and shipbuilder.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

From details on the deeds of nearby properties, it appears likely that the Mr. Chanter in question was Thomas Burnard Chanter.

Chanter was born in Torrington. In 1818 his uncle, Thomas Burnard, established the shipbuilding settlement of New Bideford (later Bideford), on Prince Edward Island. The next year Chanter took over the venture. Having built up a successful business, he left an agent in charge and returned to Bideford in 1829, never to return to Prince Edward Island. Never-the-less he financed the building of at least 35 ships there and carried hundreds of emigrants to Quebec. [Basil Greenhill, “CHANTER, THOMAS BURNARD,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 28, 2016, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/chanter_thomas_burnard_10E.html. ]

Incidents relating to the yard

Around 1863, Chanter, then a member of the Local Government Board, seems to have been trying to develop on the property, rather than actively use it for ship-building.

Ships launched

No ships have yet been linked to this yard.

This lack of any reference to ship launches is somewhat surprising, given the contemporary witness that this was an active shipyard. It therefore seems likely that this yard was only ever used for re-fitting existing vessels, or finishing vessels built elsewhere.

Mr John Crocker's Boat-building Yard, East-the-Water

Location of the yard

The location of this business is unknown, beyond the fact that it was in East-the-Water.

John Crocker is not to be confused with George Crocker, the shipbuilder (whom Robson's 1839 Directory for Devonshire, lists as “Crocker George, Ship builder, Willet St.” and operated on the other side of the Torridge)

Biographical background on the boat-builder/s

This business is listed in Robson's 1839 Directory for Devonshire, as “Crocker John, Boat builder, East the Water”

Prior to its use as a Board School, the school premises near the bottom of Torrington Lane was known as “Parken-house and Boat Building yards” so there may be some link.

He appears on the 1841 Census as John Crocker, aged about 40, Boat Builder, born in county, with his wife Ann, and what appear to be five children. From studying the direction of travel of the enumerator, and the adjacent families, his residence appears to have been in Nuttaberry, possibly at no 1 Nuttaberry Cottages.

Mr John Evans' Yard, East-the-Water

Location of the yard

His yard was probably the one which would go on to become Brunswick Wharf, see entry below for Thomas Evans.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

In 1804 John Evans was employing 4 shipwrights and 6 apprentices, so it is unlikely that he had more than one yard.

A John Evans of Bideford took over Richard Chapman's yard in 1818, when Chapman fell ill [“Ellis, William” Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Online http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/ellis_william_1774_1855_8E.html. Accessed 20 Aug 2016.] That individual would appear to be that John Evans whose shipyard Nix places next to Chapman's on the west of the Torridge [Nix, 1991, pg 393].

Later in 1818, following Chapman's death, John Evans went on to finance an expedition to Prince Edward Island that led to William Ellis and James Yeo building ships there [http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi/%25253C/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=103860752 Accessed 22 Aug 2016], and thence to the timber import trade that helped make the fortune of Richard Heard of Colonial House, who emulated their example.

He is listed in Pigot's Trade Directory of 1822-23 under Ship-builders, when his location is given as East-the-Water.

The North Devon Journal of 25 April 1833 [p1 c5] carried an announcement for the death, on Monday last [April 22], at Bideford, of “Mr. John Evans, formerly ship-builder in that place.” The parish records confirm that he was buried in Bideford on the 26th April and aged 62. This John Evans seems to have run the East-the-Water yard under his name, at least until 1822.

Given the notes for Thomas Evans below (who appears to be his son), it seems likely that John Evans started out in East-the-Water, then handed that yard into the care of his son, c1824, when he moved across the river to dedicate his efforts to running Chapman's yard.

Incidents relating to the yard

None found as yet.

Ships launched

No ships have been linked to this yard yet, but it is possible that any of John Evans' vessels built prior to 1822 may have come from here.

Mr. Thomas Evans' Yard, East-the-Water, 1824-39

Location of the yard

In 1839 Augustus Cleveland (having already purchased the southern end of the quay) "paid £900 to buy the house and shipbuilding yard 'lately in the occupation of Thomas Evans' which were 115' by 147'.[Bideford History . . . with Peter Christie: Brunswick Wharf. My Town Bideford. Issue 28, July 2015. Publishers of the North Devon Gazette, 2015. Page 14.] This proves the location of his yard, as this was the land on which Restarick's shipyard would later lie, part of what is now Brunswick Wharf.

On the basis of the biographical evidence presented below, references to Evans, of Bideford, launches prior to May 1838 are assumed to relate to the East-the-Water yard, those after, to his Orchard Hill Marsh yard.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

Thomas Evans was baptised on 9 Sep 1803 in Bideford, by his parent's John Evans & Ann

Woolmer's Exeter Flying Post of 23 March 1826 [p4 c2] carried the announcement of two marriages at Bideford, Mr. John How, merchant, to Miss Evans.”1 and “Mr. Thomas Evans, ship-builder to Miss Jane Lovering, of Tawstock.”

He is listed in Pigot's 1830 Directory for Devonshire, under Merchants as “Evans Thos. (timber) East the Water” and also under Ship Builders as “Evans Thomas (& timber merchant) East the Water”

In 1830 a shop in Butt Gardens and a house adjoining it were offered for let by one “Mr. Thomas Evans, Ship-builder, Bideford, proprietor” The shop adjoined the line of the Torrington New Road. [“Eligible Situations for Business” North Devon Journal 16 September 1830 p1 c2]

The will of the shipbuilder John Evans mentions a son named Thomas, who was one of his executors [Will of John Evans, shipbuilder of Bideford, granted probate on 31 May 1833. National archives PROB 11/1815/332]. So, assuming that this John was the ship-building Thomas Evan's father, Thomas probably started out independently in East-the-Water, but then moved, at some point, into the former Chapman yard, at Cleave Houses, following his father's death.

On 3 April 1833, just when Thomas might have been in a position to acquire property in Orchard Hill, an area of marsh and several other properties there came up for auction. The marsh is described as “Lot 2.-- A Marsh, from six to seven acres, situated at Orchard Hill, now in the occupation of Mr. T. C. Giddy.” [“Bideford, Devon” North Devon Journal 14 March 1833 p1 c1]

In 1834 the North Devon Journal carried an obscurely worded advertisement [5 June 1834 p1 c1], albeit with premier positioning in the paper, which appears to be Thomas Evan's attempting to lease out, or otherwise dispose of, his East-the-Water shipyard. “Ship Building Business to be Disposed of. Any Person commanding a small Capital, desirous of embarking in the above Line, may now have an eligible opportunity in one of the oldest Establishments in the county of Devon. For further particulars enquire of Mr. Thos. Evans, Ship Builder, Bideford.As the wording “embarking in the above Line” suggests operating a yard, rather than investing in one, this would seem to rule out this being the yard that Evans continued to operate with Cox. Alternatively this could be John Evans' executor attempt to put his father's estate up for sale, but without particularly wanting to attract other buyers, so that he could purchase it himself.

A reference to a Thomas Evans, shipbuilder, is found in April 1836 [North Devon Journal 14 April 1836 p1 c4], but without linking him to a location.

In Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette of 3 September 1836 [p3 c6], one Thomas Evans, of Bideford, is offering for sale or rent, a substantial new villa, set in 2 acres at Orchard Hill and known as Woodville House. He also offers five or six acres of adjacent land if required.

The following May Woodville House is put up for let, with immediate possession. [North Devon Journal 11 May 1837 p1 c1]. Similar advertisements appear until June.

In Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette of 11 November 1837 [p1 c4] one Thomas Evans, of Bideford, advertises Rock Cottage, in Orchard Hill for let, again with the offer of adjacent acres. Similar advertisements continue in that paper until the issue of 14 July 1838 [p2 c1].



On 28 April 1836 the North Devon Journal [p1 c4] carried an advertisement for the auction of the Estate and Effects of Mr. John Hatherley and Mr. John Hamlyn. One lot was described as follows: “the Residue of a Term of 21 Years, of which nearly 8 years are unexpired, in all that Dwelling House, large Timber Yard, Sawpit, and Shed, Situate on the East side of the River Torridge, in the town of Bideford, lately in the occupation of Messrs. Hatherly and Hamlyn, Timber Merchants, and now of Mr. Thos. Evans, Shipbuilder, subject to a ground rent of 15l. per annum.”

On 3 June 1837 Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette [p1 c2] carried an advertisement placed by one Thomas Evans of Bideford, for the sale of Woodville House in Orchard Hill, Bideford.

On 31 May 1838 the North Devon Journal carried the following: “On the same day [Thursday last] was launched from Mr. Evans's [sic] new yard, a beautiful little fishing prow called the 'Elizabeth,' built for Capt. Braund, of Bucks. This is the first launch from Mr. Evans's new establishment at Orchard Hill Marsh, which comprises of a rope walk, sail loft, & c., &c., complete to fit a vessel out in every respect.” [North Devon Journal 31 May 1838 p4 c4]. Thus confirming approximately when Evans moved his operation from East-the-Water to Orchard Hill.

In May 1840, when two of his apprentices were arrested for stealing bolt copper, he is described as “Mr. Evans, ship-builder, Marshyard, near Bideford.” [North Devon Journal 28 May 1840 p3 c4]

The year 1840 marked the first report of a Johnson launch from East-the-Water, providing an upper limit for Evans time in East-the-Water. In that year a reference first appears, in the local press, to a Thomas Evans, Ship-builder of Northam [Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 23 May 1840 p3 c5].

The 1841 Census has him living with his wife Jane and daughters, Mary, Ann, Elizabeth and Emily, at Orchard Hill Marsh. He is aged 38 and gives his occupation as “Ship Builder..” He is not to be confused with another individual of similar name, a Thomas Evans aged c.30 (possibly rounded to ten years), a “Roper's J”, on his own in Old Town.

In 1841 Thomas Evans formed a partnership with George Cox, a native of Bridport and together they worked his new yard. The partnership lasted until 1845, when Evans left, and George took his son into the partnership. [Footnote 32 in David Jenkins. From Ship's Cook to Baronet: Sir William Reardon Smith's Life in Shipping, 1856-1935. University of Wales Press, 2011]

On 25 February 1847, the North Devon Journal [“Bideford” p2 c7] carried an account of the faltering launch of the Emperor of China from the Yard of George Cox of Bideford. She brought up very gradually on her ways and had to await the next spring tide, before being floated. The article mentions that she was “fitted out with materials manufactured on the adjoining premises by Mr. Thomas Evans, for whom she was originally laid down, but since sold by him to those enterprising merchants of Swansea, Messrs, Jenkins, Bath, and Eaton.” “On Monday 22nd, the workmen of both establishments (Mr. Cox's and Mr. Evans's[sic]), to a number of about 120, sat down in the evening, at the Assembly Rooms, to a substantial dinner of roast beef and plum pudding, provided by Mr. Parramore, of the 'New Inn,' in his usual excellent style, at the cost of the builders and owners of the ship.”

In 1848 one Thomas Evans of Bideford appeared as an expert witness in an arbitration case involving the devaluation of property in Bishops Tawnton caused by railway working. [“Brailey v. Taw Vale Railway Company.” North Devon Journal 20 January 1848 p3 c1]

The 1851 Census has a Thomas Evans, aged 47 and born in Bideford, living with his wife Jane and three daughters, in Butt Garden. His occupation is give as Mayor of the Borough, but scribbled underneath is some difficult text, the first part of which is almost illegible, appearing to say “Sail & Rope maker &” but continues more clearly with Genl Merchant employing 20 men & 4 boys,” though the number of boys is bit indistinct.

He was buried in August 1877, in Bideford [“Funeral of Mr. Evans” North Devon Journal 09 August 1877 p8 c1]

Incidents relating to the yard

None have been identified yet.

Ships launched

1824, schooner Margaret.

"Launched at Mr. Evan's ship-building yard, east the water, the Schooner Margaret ; she went off fully rigged, and in fine style." ["Bideford." North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 06 August 1824 p4 c2]

1827, brig Thomas, 140 tons

On Tuesday last, a fine brig named Thomas, was launched from the yard of Mr. Thomas Evans, east the river ; she went off the stocks in fine style; she will burthen about 14o tons, and is built for some merchants of St. Ives, Cornwall.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 29 June 1827 p4 c]2

1828, schooner Navarino, 60 tons

"Bideford.-- Launched on Saturday Morning, at Mr. T. Evan's [sic] yard, East-the-Water, the schooner Navarino, 60 tons burthen per register." [North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 07 February 1828 p4 c2]

c1829, unidentified vessel, 126 tons

A Vessel now Building, 126 Tons Register, of the following dimensions, viz. --Length aloft, 70 feet ; Keel on the ground, 61 feet ; Breadth, 20 feet 8 inches ; Depth, 12 feet 4 inches ; has an excellent frame of timber, and well seasoned, is of good capacity, calculated to carry good cargo, and sail fast ; Copper Butt and Hook fastened to her light mark.
For further particulars apply to Mr. Thomas Evans, Shipbuilder, Bideford, (if by letter post-paid.) Nove
mber 10, 1829.” [North Devon Journal 19 November 1829 p1 c2]

1832, Reward

'On Saturday last, a vessel named “Reward,” was launched from Mr. Evans's [sic] yard in this port; she went off the stocks in fine stile, and is intended for the coasting trade.' [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 22 March 1832 p4 c2]

1832, unidentified vessel

Last week, two fine vessels were launched from the yards of Mr. Brooks and Mr. Evans, they are intended for the coasting trade.” [North Devon Journal 05 July 1832 p4 c4]

1834, an unidentified lighter *

FOR SALE, by Private Contract, at the Shipbuilding Yard of Mr. Thomas Evans, Bideford
A New Lighter,
completely fitted for sea, with a suite of fore and aft sails, cable, oars, lines, anchors, &c. This lighter was built expressly for the lime stone trade on Barnstaple river, is a handsome boat, and will carry fifteen to twenty tons.” [North Devon Journal 06 February 1834,
p1 c1]

1837, schooner Kate, 120 tons

A fine schooner, called the Kate, 120 tons register, and almost completely rigged, was launched from the building yard of Mr. Thomas Evans, at Bideford, on Wednesday last. She went off the stocks in fine style. She is to be fitted for the Mediterranean.”

Ships re-furbished

1829, brig, Sarah and Eliza, 160 tons *

FOR SALE, at the Ship-building Yard of Mr. Thos. Evans, Bideford, the Good BRIG SARAH AND ELIZA, Burthen per Register 160 Tons, having just undergone a complete repair, is well found in Materials, carries a good cargo and sails fast.
ALSO
A Vessel now Building, ”
etc. see entry for an unidentified vessel, launched c1829, above for the rest of the advertisement [North Devon Journal 19 November 1829 p1 c2]

Ships owned

The following, which appeared in the North Devon Journal of 17 July 1834 [p1 c5] may refer to Thomas Evans: 'To be sold by Auction, on Wednesday, the 23rd day of July, 1834, by four o'clock in the Afternoon, at Camp's Hotel, Ilfracombe, The Schooner, “Two Sisters,” of Bideford, Burthen per Register, 63 22-94 Tons. This vessel carries upwards of 85 Tons, is well found in all necessary Stores, sails fast, and is ready for sea immediately. Any further particulars may be known by applying (if by letter, post paid) to Mr. Evans, Bideford, or to the Master on board the Vessel at Ilfracombe. Dated July 9th, 1834.'

William Heard's Yard, Cross Park, c. 1793

Location of the yard

Nothing has been found to help narrow down the location of this yard.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

Graham Farr identifies William Heard as the earliest known builder at Cross Park. [“Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

Johnson's Yard, Barnstaple Street, 1839-76

Location of the yard

Robert Johnson initially operated from a site opposite Embery's drang, on part of the site which is now known as Brunswick Wharf. John Wood's plan of 1842 shows this early location of the yard, sandwiched between Queen's Wharf, to the north, and, to the south, a wharf owned by Thomas Ley (which was opposite the old workhouse (later the Colonial Buildings), now the northern part of the Royal Hotel,

In February 1865 it was reported that “the Lady of the Manor has in progress the extension of her quay (Mr. John Johnson's ship-building yard), by Messrs. Cawsey, which will terminate at the beginning of the Bridge Trust Quay, outside the bakery adjoining the bridge, in line with the first cutwater thereof” [“Bideford Improvements” North Devon Journal 02 February 1865 p5 c3-5] It would appear that Mr. Johnson's yard was thus being extended to incorporate the area formerly occupied by Thomas Ley's wharf. Thus the yard would have extended southward to occupy the area between Johnson's original shipyard and the Bridge Trust property adjacent to the bridge.

In November 1867 Johnson appears to have owned a portfolio of property, formerly owned by Henry Tucker, for he offered that ship-builder's house for auction, along with a walled garden, part of which was later used by the railway extension, three cottages off Barnstaple Street, and Clarence Wharf. [“Bideford, Devon” North Devon Journal 28 November 1867 p1 c1] At which time the facilities on Clarence Wharf are said to be occupied by one “Mr. Mills,” probably Mr. James Mills, a Bideford Merchant, whose name elsewhere crops up in connection with that of Johnson, and for whom Johnson built several vessels. The notice for the auction adds that Clarence Wharf, whilst it contained 158ft in length and 154 in breadth, could be extended 50 feet toward the river, by purchasing a portion of beach from the Crown, which could be obtained on reasonable terms.

In July 1868, whilst leaving the slipway, the G. A. Preston inclined to one side and collided violently with the bridge, causing £30 of damage to it [“An Unsuccessful Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 14 January 1868 p4 c1; Bideford Weekly Gazette 21 July 1868 p4 c4]. The collision suggests that her slipway was fairly close to the bridge, and this is consistent with Johnson using the area formerly occupied by Thomas Ley's wharf.

On 27 July 1868 a formal notice was issued, that an application had been received by the Board of Trade, as managers of the rights of the Crown in the foreshore, from “Mr. John Johnson, of East-the-Water, Bideford for the lease of the rights and interests of the Crown in a certain portion of the Foreshore adjoining Clarence Wharf, at Bideford” [“The Foreshore of Bideford” Bideford Weekly Gazette 04 August 1868 p4 c7]

In August 1868 the Board of Trade alerted the Local Government Board to Mr. Johnson's application to lease a portion of foreshore adjoining Clarence Wharf. The Local Board decided to request more information as to Johnson's plans [“Foreshore and the Late Encroachments” Bideford Weekly Gazette 11 August 1868 p4 c3]

The Town Council supported Mr Johnson's application to construct a dry dock, on leased foreshore adjacent to Clarence Wharf. At that time they refer to “Mr. Johnson's shipbuilding yard near the bridge.” [“Town Council.” North Devon Journal 09 December 1869 p8 c1.

The dry dock was subsequently used, between 1868 and 1870, for Johnson's work on converting the Pace into the Lady Gertrude.

An indenture dated 1881 identifies Johnson as the former occupant of the shipyard now occupied by Henry Morgan Restarick. The O.S. map of 1886 shows that, by the time Restarick had taken over the yard, it occupied the section of the shoreline extending south from Queen's Wharf as far as the property now known as the “Baker building,” i.e. southward to the boundary of the Bridge Trust land.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

The yard was initially operated by Robert Johnson, then later by his son, John Johnson.

The shipyard, as shown occupied by Johnson in Woods' Plan of 1842, had been purchased, in 1839, by Augustus Cleveland, who already owned the adjacent wharf occupied by Thomas Ley. At the time of the purchase (1939) the shipyard area was described as “lately in the occupation of Thomas Evans” [Peter Christie. “Brunswick Wharf” My Town Bideford, August 2015, pg 14]. Thus it is unlikely that Robert Johnson could have been operating from the yard before 1839.

Robson's 1839 Directory for Devonshire lists him as “Johnson Robert, Ship builder East the Water”

Listed as, John Johnson, in Pigot's 1844 Trade Directory under Shipbuilders, when address given as East the Water.

Listed as Johnson, Robert & Son, in White's 1850 Trade Directory, under both Blockmakers and Shipbuilders, when address given as East the Water.

At Torrington, on the 7th Feb 1852, Robert Henry, son or Mr. Robert Johnson ship-builder, of Bideford, was married to Fanny, daughter of Mr. William Durk, builder, of Torrington.

The Johnsons are listed in Slater's 1853 Trade Directory under Ship Builders (as Johnson & Son), when their address was given as East the Water.

Where the builder's Christian-name or first initial is given, the launches are consistently attributed to Robert Johnson up until 1854, but to his son, John Johnson, thereafter.

Robert Johnson left a will that was granted probate on 28 March 1855 (available online)

In 1859 Mr. John Johnson, shipbuilder, of Bideford, married Jane Churchward, eldest daughter of N. Smith, Esq., shipowner, of Brixham

The Bideford Weekly Gazette of 2 Oct 1860 [p4 c6] carried the following birth notification “27 ult, at Springfield Terrace, in this town, the wife of Mr. John Johnson, ship-builder, of a son.”

In January 1865 the surveyor reported that “Mr. Johnson's obstructions, East-the-Water, had been removed” [“Local Board of Health” North Devon Journal 12 January 1865 p8 c3]

In June 1868 the Local Board considered viewing “Mr Johnson's old house, East-the-Water” with a view to possibly purchasing it [“Bideford Local Board” North Devon Journal 04 June 1868 p8 c3] In July of the same year the matter was raised again as “Mr. Pollard again brought forward his motion in reference to the inconvenience resulting from the present unsightly building known as Mr. Johnson's old house, East-the-Water” moving that “Mrs. Cleveland be offered a sum of £65 for setting back the house, even with Mr. Heard's premises.” This motion being carried [“Improvements East-the-Water” North Devon Journal 16 July 1868 p8 c1]. In December 1868 the setting back for £65 was agreed with Mr. Lock, the steward to the Lady of the Manor [“Bideford Local Government Board” Bideford Weekly Gazette 01 December 1868 p4 c3]

On 4 August 1868 the Bideford Weekly Gazette (“The Foreshore of Bideford” p4 c7) carried an official notice that Mr John Johnson, of East-the-Water, had applied to the board of trade to lease the rights of the crown in a certain portion of the Foreshore adjoining Clarence Wharf, at Bideford.

The North Devon Journal 09 December 1869 reported (“Town Council.” p8 c1) that a special meeting of the Town Council was held to consider Mr Johnson's application to construct a dry dock, an application to purchase the necessary foreshore having already been made to the Board of Trade. A plan was produced and unanimously approved, as the council considered that “carrying it out would effect a public improvement, and be beneficial to the navigation of the river.”

On 4th January 1873, Robert Johnson's widow, Ann, died at the home of her son-in-law, the Rev. Richard Allen, a Wesleyan Minister [“Deaths” Western Times 08 January 1873 p2 c3]

In Oct 1874, Mr. Johnson's shipyard was one of several premises connected to a supply of water from the mains [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 01 October 1874 p2 c2]

Listed in the 1878-79 White's History, Gazetteer & Directory as a shipbuilder. Business address given as Barnstaple Street, with home address given as Springfield Terrace. [It is believed that Restarick took over in 1877 but it is not clear if the Johnson's name continued to be used for a while, or whether the 1878 directory entry was already in the pipeline and was therefore not changed.]

Incidents relating to the yard

Fatal Accident. – In Thursday last, a young man called Abraham Pinkham, of Westleigh, was suddenly killed in the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-Water. It appears that he was engaged in carrying a piece of timber, one end of which he bore alone on his shoulder, suddenly his foot slipped, when the timber fell on his head, and crushed it so violently as to cause instant death. An inquest was held on the body, and a verdict returned of “accidental death.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 19 March 1840 p2 c6]

Accident.—On Saturday last, about one o'clock, a young man named Dark, apprentice to Mr. Johnson, shipwright, East-the-Water, was at work in his master's yard, engaged with several others in hoisting a frame to the mast, when near the summit the rope broke, and the tekel [sic] fell with great violence on Dark's leg and foot, severely lacerating his leg and nearly severing his great toe. He was removed home in great agony, where he will probably be laid up for some months from his injuries. Some others of his companions were also injured by the accident, but not so seriously.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 19 July 1849 p8 c1]

An account of the launch of the Wildflower in 1856 demonstrates that soon after the railway arrive in Bideford (1855) Johnson was already bringing timber in by rail.

In October 1859, Johnson took drastic steps to deal with a lazy apprentice, and took him to court: “William Hookway, a young man about 22 years of age, was charged by Mr. Johnson, shipbuilder, East-the-Water (to whom he is apprenticed), with absenting himself from his employment. Hookway had been in the habit of leaving his work in this manner, and Mr. Johnson had repeatedly remonstrated with him but to no purpose, and he at length, unwillingly brought him before the magistrates. He was sent to Exeter Gaol for a month.” [“Refractory Apprentice” Bideford Weekly Gazette 04 October 1859 p4 c1]

On 22 Jan 1861 the Bideford Weekly Gazette [“Local Government Board” p4 c2] carried the following “Mr. Pollard was also in attendance to prefer a complaint against the nuisance arising from a steaming apparatus employed in Mr. Johnson's shipbuilding yard, for bending timber. The steam box abutted on the public thoroughfare, and being just opposite his (Mr. Pollard's) house, caused a most intolerable stench. He felt unwilling to bring the matter forward, but the poisonous exhalations, together with the damage done to his premises by putting the timber into the box, rendered it imperative on him to do so. he had complained to Mr. Johnson times out of number, but he generally laughed the matter off. The justice of Mr. Pollard's complaint was admitted by the Board, and some surprise was expressed that the matter had not been brought before them long since. The Surveyor was then instructed to serve a notice for its removal, and a deputation was appointed to wait on Mr. Johnson meanwhile, as there was no wish on the part of the Board to interfere with the industrial occupations of the inhabitants.”

'On Tuesday last, an amusing exhibition of “Lynch law” took place here, under the following circumstances:-- Mr. Johnson, shipbuilder, East-the-Water, has got among his numerous “hands,” an apprentice named Hookway, about 18 years of age, notorious in the shipyard for his lazy habits. A few days previous to his summary chastisement, he had told his employer that he would not work, and as imprisonment does not seem to have exercised any salutary effect on him, his fellow-workers determined to “sarve him out” in their own fashion. Accordingly, on Tuesday afternoon, owing to his persistence in his obstinate determination, he was seized by the men, and after a plentiful application with the tar brush over his person, polished off with a coating of grease, he was lashed to a hand cart and paraded through a part of this town. It was the intention of the ship-wrights to have brought him through the market, but when half-way up the High-street the miserable fellow managed to escape from his persecutors, and bolted for his life, amid the jeers and laughter of the spectators' [“Judge Lynch in Bideford” Bideford Weekly Gazette 29 January 1861 p4 c3]

In March 1861 “Mr. Johnson sent in a letter to the Board, offering to place his steaming apparatus East-the-Water, level with the wall. A resolution was passed granting Mr. Johnson three months to remove the steamer.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 29 March 1861 p7 c3]

In September 1861 the Local Board discussed the nuisance caused by Mr. Johnson's steam boiler. “It was thought that as Mr. Johnson had been granted permission to continue using it for a certain time and purpose at his own request, as soon as the ship was launched he ought in justice to the Board have removed the same.” A motion was passed, to get the surveyor to remove it without any further notice [“Local Government Board” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 September 1861 p4 c3]

Later that month “The Surveyor reported that Mr. Johnson had removed the steam apparatus East-the-water in compliance with the wishes of the board.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 20 September 1861 p7 c2]

In December 1861, on of Mr. Johnson's employees, one George Harvey, was instantaneously killed by falling timber, whilst superintending the unloading of it from a railway truck. No blame was attached to anyone. “The deceased was a steady man, and leaves a wife only, who keeps a huckster's shop, East-the-Water.” [“Shocking Death of a Man at the Railway Station” North Devon Journal 12 December 1861 p5 c4]

In 1865, one Thomas Mock, a gentleman troubled by a daughter who had been unable to eat for the previous six months, was identified as foreman at Mr. Johnson's shipyard [“Extraordinary Case of Abstinence From Food” North Devon Journal 02 February 1865 p5 c3]

In January 1867, when the freezing conditions were so severe that no work was possible, “Mr. Johnson, shipbuilder, presented each of his men and apprentices with 4s. each” . . . “as a sort of stop-gap till they could resume work [“Relief of the Poor” Western Times 25 January 1867 p5 c3]

Wednesday, October 16, 1867
District News - Bideford
Randolph Beer, an apprentice to Mr Johnson, shipbuilder, was last week summoned before the Bideford Magistrates for absenting himself from his work; and in course of the inquiry it transpired that Beer was in the habit of absenting himself on the plea of illness. In two instances he fortified himself with medical certificates - for one he paid 2s. 6d., and for the other 4s. 6d. The Magistrates were compelled to dismiss the case; but expressed an opinion that medical men ought to be careful in giving certificates of illness, for it was proved that on the day when Beer found himself summoned he went and procured a medical certificate of illness, though he confessed that h
e intended to have resumed his work on that very day. The defendant was likewise proved to have been at Barnstaple Fair when he said he was unwell.” [“Apprentices that ran away from their Masters” Postby Nevis. MyZone, Genealogy forum. Thu Nov 13, 2014. Online: http://www.mzawf.org/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=877 Accessed 13 Jul 2016]

Ships launched

1840, schooner Isabelle, 125/109 tons

"On Wednesday, a neat schooner was launched from the yard of Mr. Johnson, east-the-water ; tonnage, old measurement. 125 tons, new ditto, 109. This is the first vessel Mr. Johnson has built since he took the yard. A large concourse of persons assembled to witness the launch. She went off in fine style, and was named the 'Isabelle.' She belongs to Irwin, Dale, and Co." ["Bideford" North Devon Journal 02 July 1840 p3 c1]

1841, Sincerity, 165 tons

"On Monday a fine vessel was launched from the ship-building yard of Mr. Johnson, east the water, Bideford ; she is built for Captain Gitting, the Master. The name given her is "Sincerity." She is 165 tons, old register measure ; and it was a very fine launch, the vessel going off the stocks in good style, in the presence of a great many spectators, who lined the bridge and quay opposite." ["North Devon." Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 30 January 1841 p3 c6]

On Monday morning, at day break, several guns were discharged, announcing the preparation for the launching of a most splendid vessel from the yard of Mr. Johnson, shipwright, of Bideford. The vessel went of the stocks and entered her native element in graceful style, amidst the shouts of hundreds on board and that lined the bridge and quay. This fine vessel is schooner rigged, 160 tons register, and is pronounced one of the finest modelled vessels ever built in this port. We understand that Mr. Johnson sold her at a large price within a few hours after she was launched.” [“Launch” Western Times 06 February 1841 p3 c5] 6 Feb 1841 was a Saturday, so the previous Monday was 1st February, so this launch may be a different one, but as launches tended to coincide with spring tides it appears that both this and the preceding report are likely to refer to the Sincerity, the Western Times having received the copy too late for the proper week.

1842, Prince of Wales

'A fine vessel was launched from the yard of Mr. Johnson, ship builder, of this town, in the evening of the Prince of Wales birthday, and will be called the “Prince of Wales,” in honour of the young Prince's baptism.' [Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 27 January 1842 p3 c6]

1843, schooner Maria, 90 tons

"At Bideford, on Thursday last, was launched from the building-yard of Mr. Robert Johnson, ship-builder, east the water, a most splendid and finely modelled schooner, of 90 tons burthen ; she glided off the stocks and entered her natural element with the greatest ease and without the least accident. She was named the Maria, and was built under the inspection of Captain Hinks, of that port, who is part owner, and who is destined to be her future master. She is intended for coasting and fruit trade." ["North Devon" Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 03 August 1843 p3 c6]

1846, sloop, Arrival

On Teusday, a fine sloop was launched from the building yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-Water, in the presence of several hundreds of spectators who lined the bridge and quay, it being market day. She was named “Arrival,” and is intended for the Liverpool trade.”' [“North Devon.” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 16 May 1846 p3 c5]

1848, unidentified vessel

Bideford.–Yesterday (Thursday) a fine vessel was launched by Mr. Johnson, East-the-Water ; and one by Mr. Cox, on the West Side ; also one by Mr. Green, at Appledore, in this port; and another in Barnstaple. All of them went off the stocks in good style.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 08 April 1848 p8 c2]

1849, schooner Catherine, 94 tons

"A fine schooner, called the 'Catherine' was launched on Saturday morning last from the building yard of Mr Robert Johnson. She is 94 tons new measurement, and is intened for the Mediterranean Trade. She is coppered and copper fastened, and is another of those beautiful models which have gained for Mr. Johnson a well merited celebrity." ["Ship Launch, North Devon Journal, 15 February 1849, page 3, col 5]

1849, brig Vivid, 280 tons

On the morning tide of Tuesday, was launched from the ship-building yard of Mr Johnson, East-the-Water, a brig of 280 tons burthen, purchased by Messers. Tyer and Co., of Brixham. As she glided majestically into her destined element, she received the name 'Vivid' from her worthy owner, who cracked the baptismal bottle on her bows. She is considered to be of a very handsome model, reflecting much credit on her architect, and is designed for the Mediterranean trade, to be commanded by Mr. Samuel Tyrer.” [“Bideford.” North Devon Journal 26 July 1849, p8 c1]

1850, unidentified ship

'On Wednesday morning the river presented a gay and animated appearance, from the lively dress of two vessels about to descend into it for the first time, and the steaming away of the “Tartar” with the Rajah of Sarawak, for Liverpool. The launches were excellent, one at the yard of Messrs. Cox & Evans, and the other at that of Mr. Johnson, east-the-water. The steam tug also took down to the “pool” the “Artistic” from Barnstaple.' [“Bideford” Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2 March 1850 p4 c2]

1850, brig Caroline Schenk, 300 tons

'On Wednesday evening last there was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Robt. Johnson, a splendid brig, of 300 tons burthen, named the “Caroline Schenk,” of London, built for Messers. Houndsell, Schenk, and Houndsell, of London, intended for the Newfoundland and Brazil trade. The ceremony of christening was performed by Miss Mudge, of Torquay. The river throughout the afternoon was full of bustle, the number of boats of different classes floating about was numerous, amongst which was a beautiful yacht, containing the distinguished hero and his family, Lord Gough. She glided off amidst the loud cheers of the spectators, the roaring of canon, and the musical strains of a brass band. The launch altogether presented a gay and animated appearance.' [“Bideford Launch” Western Times 13 July 1850 p7 c3]

1851, schooner Abeona, 180 (or 130) tons

'On Teusday morning last, a new schooner was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Johnson, East the Water. As she glided into the water, she received the name of “Abeona.” Her owner, Mr. Smith, of Brixham, was on board. By competent judges she is pronounced a beautiful model. Burthen, 180 tons. She is intended for the Mediterranean trade.' [North Devon Journal 23 January 1851 p4 c4]

The launch was also reported in the Western Times, where she is given as “130 tons register,” the owner is given as “Mr. N. Smith, of Brixham,” both huzzas and the roaring of canons was said to accompany the launch, and Johnson is credited with a reputation that extends to Wales as well as South Devon. [“Bideford” Western Times 25 January 1851 p5 c5]

1851, clipper-built brig Earl of Derby, 300 tons

'The clipper-built brig, “Earl of Derby,” 300 tons, was launched from the yard of Mr. Rd. Johnston, [sic] at East-the Water, Bideford.' [“August 1851” North Devon Journal 29 August 1901 p2 c5]

1851, clipper-built schooner John Pardew, 250 tons

On Saturday morning this lovely clipper-built schooner, of 250 tons register, was launched from the yard of Mr. Robert Johnson. She is the property of Mr. John Pardew, of Plymouth, and is named after her owner. As she glided from the stocks amidst the huzzahs of stentorian voices, she received her name from Mrs. Pardew. She stands A 1 12 years at Lloyd, [sic]and is destined for the Mediterranean trade. We have no hesitation in saying that she is one of the most perfect specimens we ever beheld, well worthy the pride of her owner (whe [sic, who] makes her carry a fac simile of his bland and honest countenance as her figure head), and must be a great recommendation to her builder.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 16 October 1851 p5 c2]

1853, clipper-built schooner Cezimpra, 170 tons

The schooner launched from Mr. Johnson's, on the 24th, is clipper-built, 170 tons burthen, the property of E.T. Fernandez, Esq., and is intended for the Mediterranean trade, and as she bounded upon her watery home, she received the name 'Cezimpra.'” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 3 March 1853 p8 c2]

1853, clipper-built schooner I'll Try

On Thursday last a beautiful clipper-built schooner was launched from the yard of Mr. Robert Johnson. On taking her first plunge upon the briny element she received the rather strange cognomen of 'I'll Try,' from the builders, who intend sailing her themselves in the coasting trade.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 31 March 1853 p8 c2]

Lloyd's Register for 1861/62 lists I'll Try (Captain Collins), as a schooner fastened with iron bolts, 86 tons using old measurements and 65 tons using new measurements, built 1853, repairs to damages in 1859. Owner R. Johnson, registered Bideford, sailed on coasting trade.

1853, brig Georgiana

On the following Tuesday [after the schooner I'll Try], a noble and stately looking brig named the 'Georgiana,' the property of George Bragington, Esq., was launched from the same yard [i.e. Robert Johnson's]. The morning was beautifully fine, and a large concourse of persons assembled on the bridge and on the Quay to watch the launch of the gallant craft. We hear the lovely daughter of Mr. Bragington, whose name she bears, was present and assisted at the ceremony. She is a splendid model and fully maintains the celebrity of her builders.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 31 March 1853 p8 c2]

On Monday a fine brig was launched from Mr. Johnson's building yard, East-the-Water. She received the name of Georgiana, and fully sustains the character of the builder for symmetry and excellence.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2 April 1853 p8 c3]

1853, clipper-built brigantine Alice Jane, 280 tons

There has been launched from the building yard of Mr. R. Johnson, a clipper-built brigantine of 280 tons burthen. The symmetry of this splendid craft needs no comment—the skill of the worthy builder is so well-known both in North and South Devon. She was named Alice Jane, by her respected owner, Geo. Bragington, Esq., banker.” [“Bideford” Western Times 15 October 1853 p7 c6]

1853-4, at least one unidentified vessel

Built for Bragington. See account for the Clara Louisa below

1854, clipper-built brigantine Clara Louisa, 300 tons

On Tuesday last there was launched from the building yard of Mr. Robt. Johnson a beautiful clipper-built brigantine, of 300 tons burthen, a. 1 12 years at Lloyd's, named Clara Louisa, built for Messrs. Bragington, being the third built in the same yard within the last twelve months for this enterprising firm. This splendid craft is pronounced perfect ; and from appearance she looks a regular racer, and is the admiration of all nautical men.” [“Bideford” Western Times 04 February 1854 p6 c6]

1855, Prothsea

Builder given as Robert Johnson of Bideford, and year of construction as 1855. Built for G Lidstone & Co. of Kingsbridge. [Muriel and David Murch & Len Fairweather. Sail and Steam in Salcombe Harbour, 1987. Citing page 11 at “Index to photgraphs[sic] in Sail and Steam in Salcombe Harbour” Online:http://www.our4bears.net/parishes/Salcombe/Salcombe_Sail&Steam.htm Accessed: 20/12/2016]

1856, clipper barque Louisa Bragington, 500 tons

“Another beautiful clipper Barque, 500 tons burthen, was on Thursday last launched from the well known yard of Mr. J. Johnson. She belongs to W. Bragington, Esq , and is designed for the South American Trade, —she was named the Owner’s wife 'Louisa Bragington.' This vessel is a perfect model of marine[?, the word is rather smudged] architecture, and reflects the highest credit on [smudged]nted builder, A supper was provided in the [smudged] in good style, at the Newfoundland Inn, for the work men of the yard.” [“Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 15 January 1856 p1 c1]

1856, clipper built schooner Gilbert Wheaton/Gilbert Whitton, 180 tons

"On Saturday last, another splendid clipper built Schooner was launched from the yard of Mr. J. Johnson. The vessel is named the Gilbert Wheaton, 180 tons, built for Capt. Bradley, of Brixham, for the fruit trade." [“Ship Launch” North Devon and East Cornwall Gazette 12 February 1856 p1 c1]

The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette of 16 February 1856 (p8 c1) also reported the launch, giving the name as Gilbert Whitton, and stating that she was “going up the Mediterranean next week, for a cargo of nuts.”

1856, brigantine Wild Flower, 152 (or c. 200?) tons

On Tuesday last from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Johnson a very superior-modelled brigantine was launched, of about 200 tons, and received the Name of the Wild Flower. She is the property of the builder's brother, Robert Johnson.” [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 27 May 1856 p1 c1]

Launches are so frequent on the banks of our beautiful river, that they cease in some degree to attract public attention. The launch of the Wild Flower, however, of Tuesday evening was an exception, the day so bright, the noble river so calm, as if waiting in the best possible mood to receive the new nursling to its bosom, attracted the attention of the dullest. It was market day too which added to the number and variety of spectators. At about six o'clock she went off the stocks from Mr. Johnson's yard, East-the-Water, with her masts up and gaily decorated with the flags of all nations, without lurching in the least degree to one side or the other—floating as upright as a bolt, although there were from fifty to sixty humans on board. She is a schooner of 152 tons burthen, clipper built, and intended for Capt. Johnson, brother to the builder. There is another in progress in the same yard; indeed it is amongst the pleasantest of the sounds and sights in this charming neighbourhood to hear the click of the caulker's mallet, and to see the rising bulk of some noble argosy and there the weather-beaten craft careening, proving that peace is not going to check maritime speculation. The superiority of the North Devon build, timber, and other qualities appears to be duly appreciated by the mercantile community; the wants of the builder being accommodated too by supplies of oak and elm, from the neighbourhood of Bridgewater and Taunton, brought here by rail.--The public is not a little indebted to the spirited individuals, who embark their skills and capital in speculation so advantageous to the community” [“Ship Launch” North Devon Journal 22 May 1856 p8 c1]

Belonging to “Mr. Johnson, ship builder, of East-the-Water,” lost off the Gulf of Venice on Thursday, 20th Jan 1859 [“Wreck” North Devon Journal 27 January 1859 p5 c1]

A telegraphic message was delivered here on Thursday last, that a vessel belonging to Mr. Johnson, ship builder, East-the-Water, the Wild Flower, had been lost off the Gulf of Venice.[“Wreck at Sea” Bideford Weekly Gazette 25 January 1859 p4 c2]

1856, schooner Renown

"On Saturday week last, a beautifully built schooner, which received the name of Renown, was launched from the yard of Mr. John Johnson, east-the-water. She is the property of Capt. Griffiths, of Port Cawl, who intends her for the Iron Oar [sic] trade." ["Ship Launch" Gazette 28 October 1856 p1 c1]

1857, clipper-built schooner Sarah Smith, 340 tons

On Thursday morning last, a beautiful clipper-built schooner which received the name of Sarah Smith was launched from the yard of Mr. John Johnson, east-the-water. She is about 340 tons burthen, built for a Mr. Smith of Brixham, and is intended for the Sidney [sic] trade. All who have seen the ship have pronounced her a perfect model.” [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 17 March 1857 p1 c1] The corresponding article in the North Devon Journal calls her a “finely modelled brig” and mentions that she was launched “between seven and eight o'clock, after some little reluctance in leaving her berth”, “came off the stocks full rigged,” and that the owner was a “Mr. Nicholas Smith.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 19 March 1857 p8 c2]

1857, clipper-built Try Again, 140 tons

“On Tuesday last a very handsome clipper-built ship was launched, from the yard Mr. John Johnson, east-the-water. She went off the stocks very steadily, and received the name of Try Again. She is about 140 tons burthen, and belongs to the builder's brother, Mr. William A. Johnson, of Swansea. There is another on the stocks which will receive the name of Try On.” [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 30 June 1857 p1 c1]

1857, schooner Criteria, 125 tons

'On Wednesday last a beautiful clipper built schooner, 125 tons burthen, was launched from Mr. John Johnson’s yard, East-the-water. As she moved from the stocks she received from Miss M. Johnson. the name “Criteria,” and was loudly cheered by spectators. She is built for Capt. Braddely, of Brixham, and is bound for this port to Cardiff, from whence she will proceed to St. Michaels.' [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 08 September 1857 p1 c1]

1857, eliptic stem-schooner Sanspariel, 170 tons

'Launch of an Eliptic Stem-schooner from Mr. Johnson's Yard, East-the-Water. – The sister craft to the Criteria, was launched on Thursday amidst loud hurrahs. She was named “Sanspariel” by Miss Johnson. Her model is beautiful, some say surpasses the Criteria. She has not quite so much shear as this vessel has, but these trifels are mere ,atters of taste. She looks alive in the water, and reflects the highest credit to her builder. Capt. Baddley no doubt feels proud as he stands on her deck, and well he might, for she is the admiration of all nautical men in the port. She is 170 tons O.M., and will sail for Brixham.' [“Bideford” Western Times 07 November 1857 p7 c3]

1858, schooner Circe, 220 tons

'On Tuesday evening last, beautifully modelled schooner of about 220 tons, was launched from the yard of Mr. John Johnson. As she glided from the stocks she received the name of “Circe,” and was fondly cheered by a large number of people who were present. She was built for Capt. Wm. Green, of Brixham, and is intended for the Mediterranean trade. '[“Schooner Launch" Gazette 06 April 1858 p1 c1]

1858, schooner Jane Davies, 160 tons

A very handsomely-modelled schooner of about 160 tons burthen, was launched on Teusday evening last, from the yard of Mr. John Johnson, and received the name of Jane Davies.” [North Devon Journal 03 June 1858 p8 c1]

There appears to be a transcription error in the same paper's later recap of this information, 'The schooner “Jane Davies,” of 100 tons, was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Johnson, of Bideford' [“North Devon Fifty Years Ago; June 1858” North Devon Journal 18 June 1908 p6 c4]

1858, brigantine Crest of the Ocean/Wave, 250 tons

To-morrow evening [Wednesday 8th] is fixed for the launch of the beautiful brigantine, at present on the stocks in the yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-water. She is a beautiful specimen of shipbuilding, burthen 250 tons, and has been purchased by Mr. J. N. Mills, of Bideford, who intends to use her for the Mediterranean trade; her name will be Crest of the Ocean. [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 07 September 1858 p1 c1].

The North Devon Journal of 09 September 1858 [“Launch” p8 c4] appears to be reporting the same launch when it states “On Wednesday evening, a large concourse of people assembled to witness the launch of a beautiful clipper schooner from the yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-Water. She is built for Messrs. Miles and Co., and is intended for the fruit trade. As she glided into her adopted element, sh received the name of Crest of the Wave.”

In January 1859 rumours circulated that appear to apply to her, under the name Crest of the Wave: “A telegraphic message was delivered here on Thursday last, that a vessel belonging to Mr. Johnson, ship builder, East-the-Water, the Wild Flower, had been lost off the Gulf of Venice. We have since heard a rumour that a beautiful vessel, Crest of the Wave, recently launched from the yard of Mr. Johnson, has also been lost.” [“Wreck at Sea” Bideford Weekly Gazette 25 January 1859 p4 c2]

On April 4 1859 a boat called Crest of the Ocean arrived at Pill and Kingroad and passed to Bristol [“Pill and Kingroad” Western Daily Press 05 April 1859 p4 c3], and then on the 25th April a Crest of the Ocean arrived in Cardiff, under Captin Jago, and bound for Palermo, in Southern Italy. [“From Lloyd's Books, April 25” Public Ledger 26 April 1859, p10 c4]. This boat seems to be plying the intended route for Johnson's boat.

At around this time there was a particularly celebrated clipper called Crest of the Wave, a much larger boat than this, and trading with Australia. [“Spray of the Ocean” Western Times 09 February 1856 p1 c4]

1858, schooner William S. Green, 200 tons

Schooner Launched.--On Saturday, a neat looking craft was launched from the yard of Mr. Johnson, at East-the-Water. amidst the hearty cheers of all present. She entered the water beautifully, and when afloat evidenced the naval architectural skills of her builder. She was named the William S Green, the baptismal ceremony being performed by Miss. Johnson, of Swansea. She is destined for the general coasting trade, is 200 tons burden, and is the property of C. Green, Esq., of Yonghall, Ireland. She is to be commanded by Capt. Eastaway.”

1859, barque Yedora, 480 tons

Mr. Johnson, of Bideford, launched from his ship-building yard on Friday a barque 480 tons b.m., christened the Yedora. Mr. James Mills, of Bideford, is the owner of the vessel, which is intended for the general trade.” [Western Times 05 January 1869 p8 c1]

1859, clipper brigantine Stanley, 145 tons

Launch from Mr. J. Johnson's Ship Yard, East-the-Water.--On Saturday last a beautiful, modern, clipper brigantine was launched from the above yard. She, [sic] glided of in dashing style, and displayed the taste and skill of her builder. She is built for Mr. Gilbert W. Baddley, of Brixham, intended for the fruit trade, 145 tons N.M. The baptismal ceremony was performed by Miss C. L. Baddley, (the owner's daughter), who gave this beautiful craft the name Stanley.” [“Bideford” Western Times 09 July 1859 p7 c6]

1859, brig Flying Cloud

'On Monday, a fine brig was launched from the yard of Mr, Johnson, East-the-Water. She started, however, from her position, before the “shores” were knocked away, and two young men named Richard Hoare and Thomas Moulton, were injured. The vessel received the name of Flying Cloud, is built for Mr. Mills, merchant, and reflects great credit upon her builder.' [“Bideford” Western Times 3 September 1859 p7 c4] Trueman's Exeter Flying Post of 08 September 1859 [p3 c5] reported that the injured men were “going on favourably.”

1860, schooner Jehu, 162 (210 O.M.) tons

On Thursday last, the schooner Jehu, built for Mr. N. Smith, of Brixham, was launched from the ship-yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-water. The launch was a perfectly successful one, and when afloat, the proportions of the new schooner were much admired by nautical men. She is 210 O.M., and 162 tons N.M.; will be commanded by Captain John Smith; and is intended for the fruit trade.” [“Ship Launch” North Devon Journal 1 March 1860 p5 c2]

1860, smack Kate, 90 tons

The inhabitants of Bideford have this week witnessed two launches from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Johnson, East-the-Water. The first, on Tuesday evening, was a smack, about 90 tons burden, named Kate ; she was built for Mr. Jago, of Hayle, Cornwall, and is intended for the coasting trade.” . . . “Both vessels reflect great credit on the taste and skill of the builder.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 7 July 1860 p6 c6] See below for the second launch, which was that of the Tirsah.

1860, schooner Tirsah, 140 tons

The inhabitants of Bideford have this week witnessed two launches from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. John Johnson, East-the-Water.” . . . “On Wednesday, shortly after six o'clock, a schooner, of remarkably good figure and build, about 140 tons register, was successfully launched, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators. She received the name of Tirsah, and is designed by her owner, Mr. Thomas Richards, of Aberystwith, for the Mediterranean trade. Both vessels reflect great credit on the taste and skill of the builder.” [“Bideford” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 7 July 1860 p6 c6] See above for the second launch, which was that of the Kate.

1861, clipper-built schooner Lightning

'Yesterday evening splendid clipper built schooner, the “Lightning,” was launched from Mr. Johnson’s shipyard, East-the-Water. She is beautiful specimen of naval architecture, and has been purchased by Messrs. Murphy and Balsdon, of this town.' [“Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 9 July 1861 p4 c1]

1862, barque Copiapo, 430 tons

A beautiful vessel was launched from the building yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-water, on Thursday morning last. She was named the Copiopo, and is, we are informed, intended to trade between this country and South America with copper ore. The owners are Messers. Ogilvie and Moore, of London.” [Bideford Weekly Gazette 25 March 1862 p4 c2]

A parallel account in the North Devon Journal gives the additional detail that she was “430 tons burden, O.M., and is intended for the West Coast trade.”

A painting, thought to depict this launch, hangs in the Burton Art Gallery, Bideford.

The Flying Dutchman once carried copper ore from the port of Copiapo, but the trade's preference was for the barque. "The classic copper barque of the mid 19 century was of between 400 and 500 tons – witness the 430-ton Copiapo or the 460-ton Guayacan, both laid down at Bideford in the 1860s and clearly intended for the Chilean run. A wooden hull was almost always preferred. Iron-hulled vessels could be bigger but that was not necessarily an advantage in smaller ports with limited dock facilities on the Pacific coast. Besides, copper ore could have a corrosive effect on iron hulls. Likewise, steamers seldom featured in the copper trade." [Chris Evans. "Welsh History Month: Why I'm in ore of the copper barque" WalesOnline. 2013. Online:http://www.walesonline.co.uk. Accessed 11 Jul 2016.] The Guayacan was built by Cox, and claimed to be 800 tons burthen in the report of its launch. ["Bideford" 10 July 1863 - Western Times p8 c5]

1862, schooner Catherine, 180 tons

"On Monday evening a fine schooner, 180 tons burden, was successfully launched from the yard Mr. Johnson, of this town. She was named the Catherine, and is intended tor the Mediterranean trade." ["Launch" Bideford Weekly Gazette 19 August 1862 p4 c2].

1862, schooner Western Star

A schooner was this evening (Wednesday) launched from the shipyard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-Water. She received the name of Western Star, on entering her destined element.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 06 November 1862 p5 c1]

See the Feb 1864 launch, from the same yard, of her sister ship, Eastern Star, for details of ownership.

1863, dandy-rigged Daring, 110 tons

'On Wednesday there was launched from Mr. Johnson's ship-building yeard, East-the-Water, a vessel of about 110 tons burthen, named the Daring. She is what is termed dandy rigged—a sort of rig seldom seen there. She is the property of Mr. Mill [sic Mills], of this town. The weather being fine the spectators were many, and she glided into her destined elements in graceful style, the river being “placid as a summer sea when not a breath of wind flies o'er its surface.”' [“Launch” Western Times 09 June 1863 p7 c4]

Advertised for sale at auction on 6 Nov 1865 at the Newfoundland Inn, Bideford, she is described as a 'newly-built dandy-rigged vessel, called the “Daring,” Of or belonging to the port of BIDEFORD, Captain T. Lamey, Master, now lying at the Quay, East-the-Water, Bideford. Burthen per Register 62 85/100 tons, CARRIES 106 TONS. Her stores may be inspected by applying on board. For inventories and further particulars, of Mr. Johnson, shipbuilder, Mr. J. N. Mills, merchant, or of Mr. JESSE MILL, auctioneer, Bideford and Appledore. Dated 16th October, 1865.' [“Port of Bideford, North Devon” Bideford Weekly Gazette 17 October 1865 p4 c6] 85/100 was 85 superscript with 100 underneath in subscript, but with no line between.

1863, brigantine Cazique (or Cazigine)

“A fine three-masted brigantine, built by Messrs. Johnson, of East-the-Water, was launched on Saturday evening last. She is about 192 tons N. M., and is named the Cazique. Soon after starting from the launch she hitched and hung at her forefoot. A hawser was however carried across the river, and being well tightened and with the aid of powerful screws to the stern, the vessel ultimately glided off, to the gratification of a large number of spectators who thronged the bridge and the bank of the river.” [“Ship Launch” Woolmer's Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 04 September 1863 p6 c2]

1864, brig, Eastern Star, of tonnage 208

'A fine brig called the "Eastern Star,” was launched from Mr. Johnson’s yard, about 8 a.m. on Thursday. Her owner is the same as that of the "Western Star" (launched from here a few months ago,) Mr. Popham, of Exeter; but she hails from London, and is intended to go to South America with machinery, returning with coffee. She is 350 tons burden, 105 ft. in length, 23 1/2 ft. beam, and 13 depth, and her captain is Mr. Nathaniel Burnard, of this town.' ["Launch at East-the-Water " Bideford Weekly Gazette 16 February 1864 p4 c1]

The sister ship, Western Star, was launched in Nov 1862.

The following may also refer to this boat, as the details are attributed to a boat built by Johnsons, but, if so, then she was no longer being used for her originally intended purpose. “102.7 x 23.3 x 12.9,” known voyages include one from Freemantle to Port Adelaide (25 Aug 1878) [“Eastern Star.” Passengers in History. http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/924842, accessed 6/4/2016]

1864, schooner Uganda, 137 tons register, 230 tons burden

'On Friday evening last, a schooner of 137 tons register and 230 tons burden, being 91 ft. long, 21 ft. beam, 12ft. depth of hold, was launched from Mr. Johnson's yard. She is built for Henry Williams, Esq., of Truro, for the foreign and coasting trade, is under the command of Capt. Bartlett, and classed A1 for 12 years. Name “Uganda.”' [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 12 May 1864 p4 c3]

Name changed to Maudianne on 21st Nov 1919. For substantial additional details, under this latter name, see “J H Bennetts, Penzance, Cornwall” http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~treevecwll/jhb.htm

1864, schooner John Farley, 180 (or 160) tons

'There was launched from the building yard of Mr. John Johnson on Tuesday evening, a beautiful little vessel, schooner rigged, of 180 tons burthen and a perfect model of naval architecture. She was admired by all for her symmetrical form, and pronounced by competent judges to be a regular “clipper.” She has been built for James Bishop, Esq., of Looe, Cornwall, is intended for the foreign and coasting trade, and will will be commanded by Capt. J. Walters, of Looe, who had a full inspection of her fit-out. As she glided into her proper element she received the name of John Farley from the captain's wife, who performed the ceremony amidst the hurras [sic] of hundreds of spectators. The vessel is a credit not only to the worthy owner and the captain who commands her, but especially to our enterprising townsman, Mr. John Johnson, in whose yard two other ships are laid of 700 tons, both of which are already bespoke.' [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 09 August 1864 p4 c3]

The Western Times also reported the launch, but gave the tonnage as 160 and her intended purpose “the copper ore trade” [“Bideford” Western Times 5 August 1864 p8 c2]

1864, barque Beatrice

Yesterday morning a splendid barque was successfully launched from the ship-yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-Water, Bideford, and named Beatrice, London. She is 454 tons register, and is built for Messrs. Popham and Co. A more splendid launch could not be witnessed, she glided into her destined element slowly and majestically amid the hurrahs of the spectators who lined the new bridge, and from which a splendid view was obtained.” [“Bideford” Western Times 31 January 1865 p3 c2]

1865, barque Florence Danvers

As Johnson's tried to launch her she got stuck part way down the slip, had to be shored up to prevent her being strained, and, after two failed attempts to tow her off with a tug, had to wait for the next spring tide. A lengthy account of this is presented in the Bideford Weekly Gazette of 29 August 1865 [“Failure at a Launch” p4 c1].

The writer observed “It will be remembered that the quay in front of the yard has been extended lately, and in consequence the slip had been laid over a good deal of ground newly made.”

The article noted “She was built for the South American copper ore trade,” and her value was estimated at £10,000. [“Failure at a Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 29 August 1865 p4 c1] On the next spring “This very fine barque was launched from Messers. Johnson's yard yesterday afternoon. It was a beautiful and most successful launch, and gave great pleasure to everybody there.” [“The Florence Danvers” Bideford Weekly Gazette 05 September 1865 p4 c3]

1866, smack Dolphin

'Last evening the launch the beautifully modelled smack, “Dolphin,” built by Mr. Johnson of this town for the Deep Sea Fishery Company, was successfully accomplished. There was fine tide, and the launch was a splendid one. As the vessel slipped from her stocks her “christening” was administered by Miss Ley, daughter of J. P. Ley Esq. Chairman of the Company, amid the salutes of cannon, the excellent music of the Rifle Corps Band, and the cheers of hundreds who thronged the bridge and quays to witness the sight. In possessing a vessel so well designed and built, and so particularly suited to its work, we congratulate the Deep Sea Fishery Company, and we trust the enterprise of the Directors and Officers will meet with merited success.' [“Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 01 May 1866 p4 c2] This was the first trawler built for the Bideford Deep Sea Fishing Company ["North Devon Fifty Years Ago" North Devon Journal 20 January 1916 p3 c3]

1866, brig Zingara, 330 tons.

On Wednesday evening a fine modelled brig was launched from the ship-yard of Mr. John Johnson, named Zingara, 330 tons builder's measurement. Mr. James Mills, of Bideford, is the owner, and Mr. Perry, of Appledore, master. She is intended for general trade.” [“Ship Launch” Western Times 15 June 1866 p5 c5]

1866, schooner, unidentified, 200 tons

Ship Launch. – On Teusday morning, a schooner of a beautiful model was launched from Mr. Johnson's yard East-the-Water. Burthen 200 tons ; owner Mr. Balson, of Wear Gifford.” [“Bideford” Western Times 12 October 1866 p8 c5]

1867, schooner British Gem, 150 tons

'On Wednesday evening, fine and well-built schooner was launched from the yard of Mr. J. Johnson, East-the- Water. The vessel is the property of Mr. Thomas Trewin, member of the Town Council, and this, we understand, is his first venture in this direction. She has been christened the “British Gem,” is about 150 tons, and is intended for the general trade.' [“Launch of a New Schooner” Bideford Weekly Gazette 26 March 1867 p4 c5]

1867, fishing smack Morning Star

An excellent fishing smack, named the Morning Star, was launched on Thursday evening from Mr. Johnson’s yard. East-the-Water. It is of good build, well-proportioned, and intended for the fishing trade of Dartmouth.” [“Launch” North Devon Journal 09 May 1867 p8 c2]

1868, barque G. A. Preston, 350 tons

'On Wednesday last a well-built and beautifully-modelled barque, the “G. A. Preston,” 350 tons, was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Johnson, Fast-the-Water, The vessel, which was christened by Miss Balch, has been purchased by Captain Pring and others, of Brixham, and is intended for general trade. The launch, however, was a most unsuccessful one. On going off from the yard the vessel inclined to one side, and ran with great violence against the bridge, breaking the iron plating, and causing other damage to the extent of nearly £30. The vessel, however, did not sustain any serious injury. Great alarm was felt by those on board, and also by those on the bridge and the quay.' [“An Unsuccessful Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 14 January 1868 p4 c1]. Johnson found himself in court, with damages awarded against him. [Bideford Weekly Gazette 21 July 1868 p4 c4]

The Western Times account of the incident suggests the launch gave way on one side and that £20 of damage was caused. In addition, it notes that she went off full rigged. [Western Times 10 January 1868 p8 c5]

1868, schooner Busy Bee, 100 tons

'A fine-modelled schooner christened "Busy Bee," was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Johnson, East-the-Water, on Teusday evening last. The vessel, which is the property of Mr. J. Popham, of Appledore, is about 100 tons burden.' ["Ship Launch" Bideford Weekly Gazette 12 May 1868 p4 c4]

"News has been received of the loss of the schooner Busy Bee, of this port, Captain J. Gammon, of Appledore, with all hands. The vessel belongs to Mr. Popham, of Appledore, and was bound for Waterford from Newport." ["The Storm" North Devon Journal 27 October 1881 p8 c1]

1869, barque Zayda, 200 tons

'On Friday morning, shortly before daylight, a splendidly-modelled [sic] barque of 200 tons register was launched from Mr. Johnson's shipbuilding yard, East-the-Water. The vessel, which is intended for the Brazilian trade, and of which Mr. James Mills, of Bideford, is the owner, glided from the bearings into the water in excellent style, and was christened “Zayda” by Miss Mills, daughter of the proprieter.' [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 09 November 1869 p4 c3]

1869, barque Zedora, 480 tons

"On Thursday morning last fine vessel, tons, named Zedora, was launched from Mr. Johnson’s shipbuilding yard, East-the-water. Mr. J. Mills is the owner, and she is intended for general trading purposes." [Bideford Weekly Gazette 05 January 1869 p4 c3]

Mr. Johnson, of East-the-water, launched from his shipbuilding yard, on Friday, a barque 480 tons b.m., christened the Zedora. Mr. James Mills, of Bideford, is the owner of the vessel, which is intended for general trade.” [Ship Launch” North Devon Journal 07 January 1869 p5 c1]

On 11 February 1875, a Barque named “Zedora (John Hodge) was on voyage from Maritius to Adelaide in ballast and a crew of 10, when she was lost off Rottnest, Mewstone Reef.” 269 tons (GNT) [Jan Lettens. Zedora. WreckSite, 2015. Online: http://wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?53949 Accessed: 20/12/2016]

1869, brig Astoria, 400 tons

'On Wednesday morning a fine double top-sail brig, christened the “Astoria,” was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. J. Johnson, East-the-water. She is 118 feet in length, 400 tons burden, and is intended for the Brazilian Trade, Mr. Nicholas Smith, of Brixham, being the owner. The vessel, which is a well modelled one of its kind, went off the stocks in capital style, and the morning being fine, the launch was witnessed by a large number of people.' [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 04 May 1869 p4 c4]

Online references refer to a Johnson built, 1869-launched, brig called Asteria. These give tonnage as 224g 211n. 118.2 x 24.2 x 12.9, whose known voyages include Mauritius – Port Adelaide (6 Feb 1883) and Newcastle, NSW – Port Adelaide (5 Aug 1882) [“Asteria.” Passengers in History. http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/920355, accessed 6/4/2016]

1869, barque Delamere

'The barque “Delamere” was launched from Mr. Johnson's Shipbuilding yard at Bideford.' [“August 1869” North Devon Journal 04 September 1919 p7 c4]

1870, brig Anne Harris, 156 tons

On Wednesday morning, about seven o’clock, a fine new brigantine, the “Anne Harris,” was skilfully launched from Mr. Johnson’s shipbuilding yard, East-the-water. She is a well-built handsomely-modelled vessel of 156 tons register, and has been purchased for general trading by Mr. Harris, of Bristol, who gave her the name of his wife.” [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 18 October 1870 p4 c2]

1871, schooner John Clark

A beautifully modelled schooner of about 176 tons has been launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Johnson, Bideford. She has been built for Mr. Isaac, of Liskeard, and is intended for the copper ore trade. The owner being a teetotaller the usual custom of christening by a bottle of wine was dispensed with and water substituted. The ceremony was performed by the owner's nephew John Clark, after whom she is names the John Clark.” [“Launch.” North Devon Journal 16 March 1871 p6 c2]

1871, unidentified barque

A large and handsome barque was launched, fully rigged and coppered, on Teusday from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Johnson, Bideford.” [“West of England News” Western Morning News 17 November 1871 p3 c1]

1872, schooner Choice Fruit, 125 tons

A new schooner, named Choice Fruit, 125 tons register, was launched from Mr. Johnson's shipbuilding yard on Saturday. She is intended for general trading purposes and her owner is Mr. Badd ley [sic] of Brixham.” [“Bideford” Western Times 12 February 1872 p4 c2]

1872, schooner Successful, 127 tons

Launch of a Schooner. - -On Saturday a new schooner. [sic] was launched from Mr. Johnson's yard, East-the-Water. Mr. H. Williams, St Austell, Cornwall, is her owner She is 127 tons register and her name is “Successful.' [sic]” [“Bideford” Western Times 25 June 1872 p5 c4]

1873, schooner Forward, 136 tons

A schooner, 136 tons register, was launched Thursday from Mr. Johnson's yard. She was christened Forward, has been purchased by Mr. Pearce, of Brixham, and is intended for the Rio trade. [“Bideford” Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 10 January 1873 p7 c3]

The equivalent notice in the Western Times [“Bideford” 3 January 1873 p8 c3] gives here owner as “Mr. W. R. Pearce,” and her intended purpose as the “Rio Grand trade.”

1873, barque, Aureola/Oreola, 450 tons

“A handsome barque has been launched from Mr. Johnson's yard, East-the-Water. Her name is Oreola. She is about 450 tons burthen, and her owner is Captn. John Turner, of Northam. The launch was witnessed by a large number of spectators.” [“Bideford” Western Times 17 June 1873 p8 c6]

On Thursday evening a handsome new barque of 450 tons burthen, named Aureola, was launched from Mr. Johnson's Shipbuilding yard, East-the-Water, Bideford. Her owner is Mr. John Turner, of Northam, who has had her built for general trading purposes. The launch, which was a very successful one, was witnessed by many of the inhabitants.” [“Launch of a New Vessel” North Devon Journal 19 June 1873 p8 c1]

1874, brig, Western Belle, 239 tons (GRT) 229 (NRT)

117.2 x 24.9 x 12.6. Built by J Johnson of Bideford. Known voyages include The Bluff, NZ – Port Adelaide (9 Nov 1887) [“Western Belle.” Passengers in History. http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/939064, accessed 6/4/2016]

1874, brigantine Caroline, 160 tons

“Launch of a New Vessel.-- On Monday a handsome new three-masted brigantine was launched from Mr. Johnson's yard, East-the-Water. She is 160 tons register, named Caroline, and her owner is Mr. G. W. Baddely, of Brixham.” [“Bideford” Western Times 19 June 1874 p7 c2]

1875, three-masted barquentine May Cory, 163 tons (NRT)

“Last evening a hansomely-modelled barkentine[sic] was launched from Mr, Johnson's yard at Bideford. She is owned by Mr. J. Sommers James, of Plym-villa, Lairn, and is intended to be employed in the coasting trade for his own cargoes. She glided off in a beautiful manner, and was named May Cory by Miss Cadd, daughter of the Bideford Postmaster. She is classed A 1 13 years at Lloyd's, and is 233 tons builder's measurement. Length 1061/3 feet; breadth, 22-8 feet; depth 11-10 feet; and will be commanded by Captain William Pomery, of Plymouth. An immense concourse of spectators witnessed the launch, and cheered lustil[sic] on the vessel entering the water” [S”Mail and Shipping News” Western Morning News 08 April 1875 p3 c7]. The fractional part of the length given in this article is unclear and could be 1/3, 1/5, or 1/8, the former seeming the more likely.

'On Wednesday a barqueantine was launched from the ship-building yard of Mr. Johnson. The ship is owned by J. James, Esq., Plymouth. She is 300 tons burthen, and is named the “May Cory,” The christening ceremony was performed by Miss Cadd, daughter of our respected Postmaster.'

Attributed to Johnson of Bideford and 163 tons (NRT) [Lars Bruzelius. Barquentines. The Maritime History Virtual Archives, 2008. Online: http://www.bruzelius.info/Nautica/Ships/Barquentines.html Accessed: 20-12-2016]

1875, unidentified barque, 420 tons

"A very successful launch took place from the yard of Mr. Johnson, shipbuilder of East-theWater, Bideford, of a handsome barque (copper bottomed) of 420 tons burden, the property of Capt. Vinson of Salcombe, and intended for the India trade" [" North Devon Fifty Years Ago. Dec 16, 1875" North Devon Journal, 22 Dec 1925, p3 c4] The corresponding article on the North Devon Journal give the day of the launch as Wednesday [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 16 December 1875 p8 c2]

1875, ketch H F Bolt.

West Country Trading ketch, built in Bideford in 1875 by J. Johnson for E.J. Bolt of Bideford.. “By 1904 managed by William Fishwick of Appledore
By 1935 managed by Adrian W. Beecham of Stratford-on-Avon
She was broken up at Appledore in 1940” [Appledore Maritime Museum, Facebook posting 8 April 2016]. In 1905, en-route with a cargo of wheat from Bristol to Barnstaple, she struck the anchor of the hospital ship Nymphen, was stove in and sank. “The ketch (captained and owned by Capt. Fishwick, of Appledore), was subsequently raised and taken to Appledore,, with the cargo, which was badly damaged.” [“The Sinking of an Appledore Ketch”
North Devon Journal 29 June 1905 p3 c3]

1876, ketch Julia, 100 tons

'A beautifully modelled ketch was launched for Mr. Johnson's shipbuilding yard on Tuesday last. She is 100 tons burthen, and is owned by Mr. MacMahon, of Newport, Mon., and on gracefully gliding into her destined element she received the name of “Julia” from the niece of the owner.' [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 10 August 1876 p8 c1]

Re-fitted at the yard

1867, smack Times, 80 tons.

Of Bideford. Advertised as repaired and re-fitted and ready for immediate use [North Devon Gazette, 17 Sep 1867]

1870, barque Lady Gertrude (formerly Pace), 850 tons

During the high tides of the past week three splendid vessels have been launched into the river. The first of these was the Austrian barque Pace, which was wrecked off Westward Ho! in December, 1868. The hull of this vessel was purchased, it will be remembered, while imbedded [sic] in the Northam Sands, and having been substantially repaired, completely refitted, and made almost a new vessel, and named Lady Gertrude, she was towed out of Mr. Johnson's dock, East-the-Water, on Friday morning, when several persons partook of an excellent breakfast on board. A large number of people were allowed to inspect the interior of this barque previous to her launch, and large number assembled bridge and on the quay at the time of the event.” [“Ship Launches” Bideford Weekly Gazette 22 March 1870 p4 c2] On that Friday, and the following day, there were also launches from the Rolle Canal Company's yard and from Mr. Waters' yard, in East-the-Water.

The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette also covered the story. From their account we discover, in addition, that the Lady Gertrude was 850 tons burden, that “after considerable difficulty and with indomitable perseverance she was raised and brought to Bideford and although much damaged, she has been thoroughly restored, in fact nearly new built. The late Austrian Pace is now the A. 1 English barque Lady Gertrude. The launch was quite successful, and on board there were assembled a large company, including many friends from Torrington, invited by the owners, Messrs. Johnson, Holwill, and Trewin.” [“Bideford” Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 25 March 1870 p6 c6]

In 1871 the Lady Gurtrude was once again in trouble. “A Bideford Vessel on Fire. – Intelligence has been received of another disaster to the barque Lady Gertrude, otherwise the Pace of Fiume, which three years ago was wrecked on the Northam Burrows, with loss of life. She was fifty-two days out, and a short distance from Rio de Janeiro, when it was discovered that her cargo – coals – was on fire. A passing steamer was hailed, and took off the crew, and one of her Majesty’s ships also bore down to render assistance. The Lady Gertrude was scuttled, but has since been got into port. She belongs to Messrs. Trewin, Johnson, and Holwell, of Bideford.” [Western Times, 13 September 1871. Cited at “Serafino Turcich, died 1868” Mariners and Memorials https://marinersandmemorials.wordpress.com/serafino-turcich-died-1868/ Accessed:20/12/2016]

Owned by the Johnsons

1856, brigantine Wild Flower, 200 tons

Built by Johnsons, see entry above for more details.

1853, schooner, I'll Try

Built by Johnson's and owned by them until at least 1861/2. See entry above for more details.

Henry Morgan Restarick's, Barnstaple Street, 1877-86

Location of the yard

Restarick's yard followed on from Johnson's on the site now known as Brunswick Wharf.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder

Restarick's home town was Axminster, but he moved to Bridport as a young man. [“Death of Alderman Restarick J. P.” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 January 1899 p5 c5-6]

After coming to Bideford he worked in the offices of Messrs Cox and Son, shipbuilders, at Cleavehouses. [“Death of Alderman Restarick J. P.” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 January 1899 p5 c5-6]

He married Miss Louttid. [“Death of Alderman Restarick J. P.” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 January 1899 p5 c5-6]

After the failure of Cox and Son., Restarick secured the Rope-walk site, going into business as a rope-maker. That business was relinquished about 1896-7, and the site disposed of to Messrs. Cooper and Co. who built a Collar Works upon it. [“Death of Alderman Restarick J. P.” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 January 1899 p5 c5-6]

North Devon Journal of 13 May 1880 [p8 c2] reported that "The Clerk [of the Local Board] was directed to call Mr. Restarick's attention to the construction by him of a new building in East-the-Water without having first sent in plans of the same." This may possibly refer to The Bethel, but the dates need to be checked.

Around 1883 Restarick's rope-making business was at the centre of the so-called “Battle of the Posts,” in which the public disputed Restaricks right to use posts along the strand in connection with this business, as they interfered with traffic, and they were eventually removed [W. Ascott. Random Notes on Old Bideford and District. Bideford:Gazette, 1953, pg 9]

In June 1887, when Restarick erected three commemorative arches on the strand, the local press regretted to report that one ' was defaced by an inscription, harking back to the “Battle of the Posts”, “These posts must stand, not one shall be removed.” [“Jubilee Rejoicings At Bideford” Bideford Weekly Gazette 23 June 1887]

A Wesleyan for many years, he pursued his evangelical work independently in later years, first at Orchard Hill, then, with Postmaster Mr. Cadd, in a loft at Queen's Wharf. When the congregation grew out of the loft, this led to the erection of The Bethel, in Torrington Street [“Death of Alderman Restarick J. P.” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 January 1899 p5 c5-6]

His last year was, according to the report of his death, marked by physical suffering that rendered him petulant with his fellow Poor Law Guardian, but prior to that he had done sterling work in their midst for twenty years. “He championed the cause of the Workhouse inmates with zeal and untiring energy, and secured an amelioration of their lot—more privileges, and a few luxuries, and pleaded continuously for a more human and humane regime.” Restarick had also been “an Alderman, Chairman of the School Board, Justice of the Peace, Bridge Feofee, a Governor of the Grammar School, a Poor Stock Trustee, a representative of Bideford on the Port Sanitary Authority, and on the Board of the Taw and Torridge Fishing Conservators.” He joined the School Board in 1886, became chairman in 1889, and was re-elected continually to the time of his death. In 1876 he was returned at the head of the poll for the Town Council. He served two terms as mayor (1889-90, 1890-91). Restarick championed temperance reform, and was prominent in the Rechabite movement.

At the time of his death, around new year 1899, Alderman Restarick was residing in Bridgeland Street. His death had been very sudden, such that a reporter commented “one can scarcely realise that the strenuous man, who was battling for what he thought the right against hopeless odds just a week since, should now be struck down.” Restarick was remembered as a fighter for causes, but, the reporter suggested “whatever enterprise he undertook, he had no unworthy personal interest to serve, no desire to get a pull for his own ultimate gain” [“Death of Alderman Restarick J. P.” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 January 1899 p5 c5-6]

Restarick was lain to rest in a vault in the Old Church Cemetery, next to his wife. [“Death of Alderman Restarick J. P.” Bideford Weekly Gazette 03 January 1899 p5 c5-6]

Incidents relating to the yard

In July 1883 the Local Government Board wrote to the Local Board concerning Mr. Restarick's two projections at his yard. Restarick responded that his projections were only “two junks for a launch, where he launched vessels there” and, and after offering to remove them if the Local Board considered them a nuisance, he added “it was only twelve feet out and rested on the sand it did not cause any obstruction to the navigation of the river or to the water going through the arches.” The Local Board supported him in this, and resolved to respond accordingly. [“Bideford” Western Times 03 July 1883 Exeter P6 c5]

Background on the yard

None available at present

Ships launched

1877, smack Kitten

A fishing smack for the North Sea Fishing was launched on Thursday at Mr. Restarick's (late Johnson's) shipbuilding yard. She is the property of Messrs. Hewett and Company, of London, and was christened Kitten by Miss Whitefield, with a small bottle of milk. This is the first vessel built by Mr. Restarick since he commenced business as a shipbuilder.” [“Launch” North Devon Journal 29 November 1877 p8 c2]

1878, schooner Mona, c120 tons

"Thursday last nicely-modelled schooner was launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Restarick. She was christened Mona, is owned by Liverpool firm, and will be used for the Irish coasting trade. Her registered tonnage is about 120." [North Devon Journal, 9 May 1878]

1878, screw schooner Amy, 165 tons

At the yard of Mr. H. M. Restarick, built for Lord Alfred Paget, launched "with the customary bottle of wine" 109'6" and schooner rigged, with two inverted direct acting engines, nominal 40 horsepower, and register 165 tons. It had local specialists brought in for the painting, upholstery and marblework ["Launch of a Steam Yacht." North Devon Journal, 04 July 1878, p6 c2]
The work on the Amy resulted in its painter taking Restarick to court for failing to pay for work done, a case which attracted interest when Lord Alfred Paget was called to appear in the court. [“Bideford County Court” North Devon Journal 13 February 1879 p2 c2-4]

1879, barquette Winifred, 200 tons (192n)

Restarik's yard launch the Winifred, Barquette of tonnage 200g 192n. 119.2x24.1x10.8. Known voyages include Mauritius to Port Adelaide (14 Jan 1881) and Hobart Town to Port Adelaide (2 March 1880) [“Winifred.” Passengers in History. http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/939330, [accessed 6/4/2016]

1881, unidentified ketch, 58 tons

“On Friday evening a beautifully modelled ketch, 58 tons register was launched from the ship-building yard of Mr. H. M. Restarick, East-the-River. She was built for Messrs. R. Hewet and Co., of Trinity Square, London, and is intended for the North Sea Fisheries. This is the ninth vessel of the same description Mr. Restarick has built for the same firm, and we understand that he has received orders for more.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 07 April 1881 p8 c1]

1883, smack (mission ship) Cholmondeley, 64.37 tons

“Launch of a Mission Vessel. --On Teusday evening the smack Cholmondeley was launched from Mr. H.M. Restarick's shipbuilding yard, East-the-Water. This vessel has been built for the Thames Church Mission (Deep Sea Fisherman's Branch), and to-day a Dedication Service will be held commending the vessel to the care and blessing of Him to whose service she is devoted. Most of the clergy of the town and the neighbourhood will take part in the service. The Cholmondeley is a beautiful craft, 70ft. 6in. long by 19ft. 3in. wide. Her registered tonnage is 64.37.” [“Bideford” Exeter and Plymouth Gazette Daily Telegrams 23 August 1883 p3 c5]

By November 1887, when the Cholmondeley returned to Yarmouth, having incurred damage in a storm and lost her second mate, she was one of eight “medical Mission vessels in the service of The Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen amongst the North Sea fleets.” The report of this incident stressed the especial need for the Mission's ships to operate in the stormy season, as “the presence of a cruising dispensary is especially necessary in the stormy season” [North Devon Journal 03 November 1887 p2 c1]

1884, smack (mission ship) Edward Auriol

On Saturday evening the smack “Albert Auriol” [sic] was successfully launched from Mr. H. M. Restarick's shipbuilding yard. She is intended for the work of the Thames Church Mission in the North Sea. A dedication service was held on Easter Monday on board the vessel, preceded by special services on Easter Sunday at the Bethel, when prayer was offered for the success of the Mission, with particular reference to the “Albert Auriol” [sic] It will be remembered that a short time ago Mr. Restarick built a smack named the “Cholmondeley,” also for the Thames Church Mission. The event aroused in this locality considerable interest in the Mission, and the news of the launching of another vessel intended for the “gospel fleet” will be received with much satisfaction.” [“Thames Church Mission” North Devon Journal 17 April 1884 p6 c2] In various publications the name of this vessel appears to have been given as Edward Auriot or Edward Auriol. Edward Auriol appears to be correct, as the Reading Mercury of 31 May 1884 states “In response to invitations issued by the council of the Thames Church Mission a large company assembled on Saturday on the new mission-smack Edward Auriol, which is intended for use in the special mission to deep sea fishermen. [“Condensed Intelligence” p7 c2]. Furthermore, the Thames Church Mission used that name in their advertising of the time, in 1888 requesting funds to support the work of 'the new steam launch Edward Auriol'. [“Thames Church Mission” St James's Gazette 14 December 1888 p14 c3], a ship that was seemingly a replacement for Restarick's, as it is attributed to the builder Edwin Clark and was delivered in 1888. [A. M. Langford. “Steamboat-builders of Brimscombe” (part 1).” Pages 33-41 in Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology Journal. Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology ,1987. Pg 35.] The boat may have been named after Edward-Auriol Hay Drummond, D.D. dean of Booking, Prebendary of York and Southwell, and chaplain to the King. [John Burke. A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, Volume 2. H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1833 Pg 41.]

1885, smack Sparkling Nellie

'Mr. H. M. Restarick, shipbuilder, has a contract for five smacks designed for the Columbia fishing fleet. The fleet is to have its headquarters at Great Yarmouth, and is intended for the supply of the Columbia market which has been started mainly through the exertions of Baroness Burdett-Coutts, with the object of providing cheap fresh fish for the poor of North and East London. The first of these five smacks was launched on Friday evening last. She takes the name “Sparkling Nellie,” and was christened by Miss Whitefield. She is built along the lines of a model with which Mr. Restarick has taken first at Yarmouth Exhibition and other prizes, and she is one of the “tightest” and prettiest little vessels we ever saw, The building of the other four smacks will be pushed forward as rapidly as possible, as is also the erection of another vessel for the Thames Church Mission.' [“Shipbuilding” North Devon Journal 21 May 1885 p8 c1]

1885, smack (mission ship) Sir Edward Birkbeck, 88 tons

Launched on 12th August 1885 and dedicated a week later (17 Aug) by the Bishop of Exeter. She was built for the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. The Western Times carried a lengthy account of the proceedings, including the following details of the vessel: “The smack measures 80 feet long by about twenty feet wide, with a registered tonnage of 88 tons, the total cost of building and fitting being about £2,000.” [“The North Sea Mission: Dedication of a Vessel at Bideford” Western Times 19 August 1885 p3 c2]

The Sir Edward Birbeck was one of seven ships sunk by UC-75 on 3 May 1917, and its wreck lays 16 miles SE of the Stag Rocks, between Rocky Bay and Yougnal, Co. Cork. [Wrecks of Co. Cork. http://www.irishwrecksonline.net/Lists/CorkListG.htm, accessed 1 Jun 2016]

"SM UC-75 was a German Type UC II minelaying submarine or U-boat in the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I." [SM UC-75. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_UC-75, accessed 1 Jun 2016]

1886, smack Maud of Scotland

'About seven o'clock on Saturday morning another fishing smack was successfully launched from Mr. Restarick's shipbuilding yard, East-the-Water. She is a very stiff and shapely little craft and was christened “Maud of Scotland.” She has been built for Mr. Burdett-Coutts (husband of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts), and is intended for the North Sea Fisheries.' [“Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 23 February 1886 p8 c1]

1886, smack Fair Fanny, c99 tons

Launched from Restarick's Yard [Bideford Weekly Gazette. Sep 1886 (21 4F)]

'Another launch took place from Mr. Restarick's yard, East the Water, last week, and this will probably be the last, as the yard has been let to another tenant, and Mr. Restarick has to clear out by the 29th of the month. The vessel was a double masted smack, of nearly ninety nine tons register, and is intended for the North Sea Fishery, having been built for W. Burdett Coutts, Esq. She was christened “Fair Fanny” by Miss Ethelinda Chubb (of Miss Yeo's School).' [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 23 September 1886 p8 c3]. The account in the Bideford Weekly Gazette adds that the premises had been let to Mr. J. Baker. [21 September 1886 p4 c6]

This is the last ship known to have been launched from East-the-Water.

The last boat launch from Restarick's Yard is said to have collided with the bridge, causing minimal damage. If it happened, there is no mention of it here. One of Mr. Johnson's boats did hit the bridge, but that was far earlier, nor was it his last.

Re-fitted or repaired by Restarick

1884, Helstone

In a case brought for compensation, regarding partial loss of a cargo of clay, because the Helstone, owner Mr. Finch, was not ready to sail with the spring tide. The defendant stated that “the agreement was made in the yard of Mr. Restarick, shipbuilder, of Bideford, who had the vessel in his hands undergoing repairs”. [“Claim for Damages to Cargo” North Devon Journal 19 October 1884 p8 c5-6]

William Taylor's yard, Cross Parks, ?-1803 till 1830-?

Location of the yard

Appears to have been near Crosspark Rock, possibly adjacent to, or preceding, the pottery there. All the other ship-building sites referred that are often referred to as at Crosspark have been identified as further south than that one and seem to be accounted for by other occupants during this period.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

Given the date of his marriage, William was probably born between 1770 and 1780, in which case the following register entries from Littleham may refer to his parents' marriage and his baptism (though the family may be too poor, and it may be better to seek his birth nearer to Exeter.



On 27 November 1801 William Taylor, ship builder, of the parish of Bideford, in the county of Devon, married Christian Nicholas, now residing within the parish of St Kerrian in the city of Exeter, by license, at St Petrock, Exeter. Witnessed by Elizabeth Nichols, Thomas Nicholas, and William Nichols. (the variations in the spelling of Nichols/Nicholas follow the original).

On 1 January 1803, the Bideford registers record the christening of John Nichols, son of William Taylor and his wife Christian.

In 1804 the yard had 5 shipwrights and 9 apprentices. [Nix, 1991, page 394, citing 'An Account showing the Number of Shipwrights, and also Apprentices Employed in the Merchant Yards of Great Britain: According to the Returns of the Admiralty, in House of Commons Sessional Accounts: Papers and Accounts. VIII, 1805, (193), pp. 467 sqq]. The return lists Richard Chapman, George Crocker, John Evans, William Taylor and Henry Tucker as based in Bideford.

The Bideford parish registers list the christening, on 10 Dec 1806, of Catharine, daughter of William Taylor and Christian, his wife [South West Heritage Trust 799A/PR/1/6 ]

The Bideford parish registers list the christening, on 25 July 1808, of Hannah Maria, daughter of William Taylor and Christian, his wife. [South West Heritage Trust 799A/PR/1/6 ]

Trewman's Exeter Flying Post for 16 November 1809 [p4 c4] carried the following notice “THE PARTNERSHIP in the trade or business of a ship-builder, lately carried on at Bideford, in the county of Devon, under the firm of WHEATON and TAYLOR, expired, and was DISSOLVED on the 25th day of September last, and from that time the same business hath and will be carried on by William Taylor, only. Bideford, October 18, 1809.”

The Bideford Parish registers list the chirstening, on 31 Aug 1810, of William, son of William Taylor and his wife Christian

Listed in Pigot's Trade Directory of 1822-23 under Ship-builders. Address given as East the Water.

In 1826 the eldest daughter of “Taylor Esq., ship-builder, of Bideford” married Captain Callespey [sic=Gillespie] of the ship Cosmo, of Bristol. [“Marriages” Bristol Mirror 22 April 1826 p3 c5]. The marriage was on 29 Jun 1829, and the daughter was Catharine. The Cosmo was likely to have been the ship of that name built by Taylor in 1825 and later registered in Bristol, on which Captain Gillespie served as master until at least 7 April 1830 [Grahame E Farr Editor. Records of Bristol Ships, 1800-1838 (vessels Over 150 Tons). Bristol: Bristol Record Society, Vol. 15. 1950. pg 116]

On 24 Feb 1828 the Parish Registers of Bideford list the marriage of John Mollard to Maria Taylor, in the presence of William Taylor and Catherine Taylor. William Taylor's son-in-law, courted, then married, the builder's daughter during the construction of the Saltern's Rock, and Taylor gave his daughter a half share in the vessel as her dowry. [Barbara Dorey. “Re: Mollard from Crowan, Cornwall” 21 March 2004. Online:http://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/mollard/7/ Accessed:30 Dec 2016]

William Taylor is listed in Pigot's 1830 Directory for Devonshire, under Ship Builders, as “Taylor William, East the Water”

It is far from clear what happened to William Taylor beyond the 1826-30 period. But Devon Archives and Local Studies Service hold an Estate Duty Office Will, dated 1833, for one William Taylor of Exter.

A William Taylor was buried at Bideford on 18 August 1823 and there was a burial of a William Taylor, aged 82, in Bideford on 15 Nov 1834.

Beyond about 1831 the Saltern's Rock was captained by John Mollard.

The 1841 Census has a Richard Taylor, yeoman, with wife Christian, aged 55, at Caddsdown, Bideford.

Incidents relating to the yard

Several of the ships attributed to Taylor in recognised works appear on an Admiralty document reproduced by Inkerman Rogers that suggests that Chapman of Cleave Houses was engaged to build them. Further review of the original source evidence would be desirable, as, in some cases it contradicts Rogers' evidence and is reasonable proof that Taylor was the eventual builder (for example see the entries for Comet and Beelzebub below). If Rogers reproduction is accurate then it may indicate that Chapman was either sub-contracting work to other Torridge based builders, or overseeing their work.

Ships launched

1803, Brigantine Pillhead, 117 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1805, Brigantine Miners, 84 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1806, Brigantine Underhill, 84 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1807, brig sloop, HMS Carnation, 383 tons

Launched on 3rd October 1807, 18 gun Cruizer class Brig Sloop, CarnationOf 382 tons she was one of the most numerous type of warship in the age of sail. Unfortunately, she was captured by the French exactly one year later, on 3rd October 1808.” [Roger Sugar, “Shipbuilding in Bideford.” http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/history/shipbuilding-in-bideford/ accessed 6/4/2016]

A display in Appledore Maritime Museum has her at 383 tons.

1807, ‘Thai’ Class fire-ship, HMS Comet, 444 tons

Another builder for the Royal Navy was William Taylor of Cross Park, whose slip was at the north end of the quay, East the Water. He built at least one ‘Thai’ Class fire-ship, the ‘Comet.’ Length 108 feet, 9 inches, she was within a few feet of the Kathleen and May’s measurements. She was ordered in 1805, her keel laid in 1806, and launched on 25 April 1807. In 1808 she was reclassified as a sixth-rate sloop and sold in 1815. Fireships were not just any old disposable vessels but purpose built.

However, before going for their ultimate use, they carried numerous guns. ‘Comet’ carried sixteen 24-pounders or 32-pounders on the upper deck, two 9-pounders and eight 18-pounders on the spar deck and two 9-pounders on the forecastle. However, a large portion of what one thinks of as cargo space consisted of tall, vertical boxes that would act as chimneys when primed with combustible material. It took considerable skill and courage to sail what was to become a blazing bomb close enough to the enemy to be effective. The ship’s crew was about fifty but, on the fateful day, most were taken off leaving a skeleton crew, including the captain, to sail as close to the enemy as possible before escaping from the blazing vessel by rowing boat.”

Roger Sugar. “Shipbuilding in Bideford.” http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/history/shipbuilding-in-bideford/ accessed 6/4/2016

A display in Appledore Maritime Museum has her at 444 tons.

Various plans for the Comet (1807) are available at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. [Online:http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/85349.html Accessed:30 Dec 2016]. These attribute the ship to Taylor, for example one which has the title “Plan of the Lowerdeck for the Fire Ship building by Mr Taylor of Biddeford by Contract” [Online:http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/85350.html Accessed 26 Feb 2017] They also hold “A 24 page contract for Comet (1807), a Fireship (later Sloop), between the Admiralty and William Taylor of Bideford in the County of Devon. Signed and dated 26 September 1805. Box container ADMB0774”
[http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/459226.html#gh5rLCdRO7O7MQvD.99 Accessed 26 Feb 2017]

1808, schooner Traveller, 102 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1809, brigantine Marys, 106 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1811, brig Kangroo, 210 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1812, cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Fairy, 386 tons

HMS Fairy was a Cruizer-class brig-sloop, built by William Taylor at Bideford and launched in 1812 [Wikepedia, citing Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1.] her action on the Potomac in 1814 makes interesting reading [see the Wikepedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Fairy_%281812%29 ]

A display in Appledore Maritime Museum gives her as 386 tons.

1812, Schooner Fame, 130 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1812, Sloop Venus, 58 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1813, Brigantine HMS Mastiff, 184 tons

Appledore Maritime Museum possess a copy of an Admiralty draft, dated 15th December 1812, of HMS Mastiff built for them by William Taylor, 1813. There is also a very fine model of the ship on display there. The display notes that this was 184 tons and “One of 89 ten gun brigs of the Confounder Class. Commissioned 25th September 1813.” The notes claim “A survey vessel from August 1825 to 1850, she was broken up by January 1851.”

The initial cost to her builders was £3,707 [Rif Winfield. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793 – 1817. Seaforth, 2014. No page numbers]

An article in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette of 4 September 1847 [“Loss of H.M. Steamer Mastiff” P7 c5] suggests she had a narrow escape during her survey work, it reads as follows: “Letters from the Orkney Isles announce the probable loss of the government steamer Mastiff, Commander Lieut. A. B. Beecher, off the island of Sandor, 12 miles from Kirkwall Bay. She has for some time past been engaged in the surveys of the coast, in the vicinity of the Orkneys. On the morning of Tuesday, while lying at anchor of the island of Sandor, a gale came on, and she was driven from her anchor and carried ashore, a violent sea beating over her for many hours afterwards. The whole of the crew and officers were saved. Very little chance remains of preserving the steamer, which is full of water, and has sustained considerable injury. The Mastiff was an old vessel, having been launched at Bideford in the year 1813 ; she was nearly 200 tons burden.”

1813, bomb vessel HMS Belzebub/Beelzebub/Belsebub, 334 tons

A Bomb vessel called Belzebub, 10, was built in Bideford and completed in June 1813, at a total cost (hull and sails) of £9761. She was retired in 1820 when she was broken up. She is the only ship with a name like Beelzebub listed on the Sailing Navies web site. Her captain was William Kempthorne.

One William Taylor of Bideford “partitioned the Navy Board in January 1814 concerning his losses in the building of the bomb vessel call the Belzebub of 325 tons” Taylor claimed that, through his inexperience of this type of vessel and the quantity of wood required, his estimate had been too small, and he had therefore been required to sink fifteen hundred pounds in completing her, for which he was appealing for re-imbursement [B. F. Hills. “Shipbuilding for the Royal Navy at Sandwich in the eighteenth Century.” Pages 195-230 in Archaeologia Cantiana, Volume 94, Kent Archaeological Society. 1979. Pages 225-226.]

The National Maritime Museum's collections contain a “28 page contract for Beelzebub (1813), a Bomb Vessel, between the Admiralty and William Taylor of Biddeford in the county of Devon, signed and dated 3 August 1812.” [Catalogue entry for object id. ADT0010 , online http://collections.rmg.co.uk Accessed:3 Jul 2016.]

A 10 gun bomb vessel, built by William Taylor, Bideford, acquired on 30/7/1813 and broken up on 23/9/1820. As built 102ft 8in 84ft 2 ¼ inches x 12ft 11¼ inches. 334m. Was in action at the bombardment of Algiers on 27/8/1816. Bomb vessels were specially adapted to carry mortars for bombardment of cliff-top forts. [Rif Winfield. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1817-1863: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth, 2014]

A ship named 'Beelzebub' features on Maggie Curtis' Bideford Port Memorial plaques (on her explanatory web site for that work, she indicates that the vessel is 'The “Beelzebub” Warship built at Crosspark, East the Water for the Navy” . [Maggie Curtis. “The Making of the Bideford Port Memorial Ceramic Trade Maps.” http://www.maggiecurtis.co.uk/trade-maps. Accessed 6/4/2016].

A display in Appledore Maritime Museum gives her name as Belsebub.

1813, Brigantine Pacific, 135 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1814, Brigantine Aurora, 154 tons

A display at Appledore Maritime Museum identifies a brigantine called Aurora, of 154 tons, as being launched in 1814 by William Taylor. A newspaper report from that year confirms that he had a vessel of that sort of size on the stocks - “A VESSEL now building, and nearly ready to launch, of the following dimensions, viz. Length of keel 64 feet, on deck 73 feet 6 inches, breadth 22 feet 6 inches, depth 13 feet 10 inches, will register 156 tons. This vessel is built with seasoned timber, of large dimensions, and unusually thick plank. For particulars apply to Mr. W. Taylor, Ship Builder, Bideford, Devon ; or to J. Lachlan, Broker, 32, Great Alie-st. Goodman's Fields. [“Private Contract” Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser. London. 23 May 1814 p4 c3 & 20 June 1814 p4 c2]

1814, Schooner Elizabeth, 116 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1814, Schooner Enterprize, 125 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1814, sixth rate sloop Falmouth

The National Maritime Museum holds “A 34 page contract for Falmouth (1814), a 20-gun Sixth Rate Sloop, between the Admiralty and Mr William Taylor of Bideford in the County of Devon. Signed and dated 24 December 1812.” [ http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/459243.html#GgZ8SbjrSZdO2eve.99 Accessed 26 Feb 2017]

The Falmouth features prominently on the various of the stamps of Tristan da Cunah, after being used to garrison the island.

1815, Schooner Dove, 84 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1815, Brig Jane, 168 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1815, Brigantine Rover, 101 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1817, Ship HMS Tees, 452 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

Appledore Maritime Museum displays a copy of a painting of HMS Tees sailing from Table Bay, South Africa, by Mark Myers RSMA. The display notes that this was Taylor's largest vessel, 452 tons BM, and 115' long on the gun deck, she was the last of the ten Conway Class 6 raters built for the Admiralty. Although laid down in 1812, her completion was delayed, and she remained on the stocks, thanks to the cessation of the Napoleonic wars, until late 1816. The Navy commissioned her into service on 17th May 1817. Lent as a church ship on 10th August 1826, she subsequently moored in St Georges Dock, Liverpool, for 45 years, before sinking at her moorings, where-after she was broken up.

One of the sources for Herman Melville's Moby Dick, written in 1851, was a book by William Scoresby Jr. a whaler and Arctic explorer. Having given up the sea, Scorsby took up the chaplaincy of HMS Tees and was there until 1832. The chapel was subsequently visited, in 1839, by Melville, who describes it in Redburn:

This was the hull of an old sloop-of-war, which had been converted into a mariner’s church. A house had been built upon it, and a steeple took the place of a mast. There was a little balcony near the base of the steeple, some twenty feet from the water; where, on week-days, I used to see an old pensioner of a tar, sitting on a camp-stool, reading his Bible. On Sundays he hoisted the Bethel flag, and like the muezzin or cryer of prayers on the top of a Turkish mosque, would call the strolling sailors to their devotions
[“Moby Dick on the Mersey” https://mobydickonthemersey.org/melville-and-liverpool Accessed 21 Aug 2016]

1818, Sloop Venus, 53 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1819, Brigantine Hazard, 53 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1820, Sloop Margaret, 54 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1820, Sloop Swiss, 34 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1820, Schooner Two Brothers, 87 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1821, Sloop Perseverance, 49 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1822, Schooner Francess Ann, 101 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1822, Sloop Rising Sun, 39 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1823, yawl Fly, 60 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1824, schooner-brig Brothers, 80 tons

"Bideford.--” . . . “And on Tuesday morning at Mr. Taylor's yard, Crosspark, was launched the schooner-brig Brothers, Capt. Molland, of St. Ives, 80 tons burthen per register. [North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 07 February 1828 p4 c2]

1824, brig Friends, 122 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1824, brig Rocket, 212 tons

“The beautiful brig Rocket, John Stanley, master, burthen 212 tons, built for Newfoundland and Mediterranean trade, for Newman, Hunt, and Co. London, by Mr. Taylor, Bideford, was launched from this yard on Saturday last” [Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 17 June 1824 p4 c3]

A display at Appledore Maritime Museum gives her name as “Snow Rocket”.

1825, ketch James Lyon, 137 tons

On the 7th Instant, a fine vessel the James Lyon, of Bristol, of 137 Tons, was launched full rigged, from Mr. Taylor's Yard, East-the-Water Bideford ; she went off in fine style, and glided majestically down the river, and now lies at the Pool of Appledore, waiting for a fair wind, for a foreign voyage.” [North Devon Journal and General Advertiser 11 February 1825 p4 c2]

A display in Appledore Maritime Museum identifies this as a Ketch

1825, ship Cosmo, 409 tons

The considerable history for the ship given, in Farr's Records of Bristol Ships,includes the ships measurements and description, from her registration on 28 Sept 1825: “409 21/94 tons; length 113 ' 9"; breadth (below) 28' 4½"; depth 19' 4". 1 deck; 3 masts; ship rig; square stern; false galleries; bust head.” and “Owners : Edward Bevan, merchant, 22 shares ; William Cross, merchant, 21 shares; and Francis Holladay, mariner, 21 shares; all of Bristol” [Grahame E Farr Editor. Records of Bristol Ships, 1800-1838 (vessels Over 150 Tons). Bristol: Bristol Record Society, Vol. 15. 1950. pg 116]. On 4 March 1826, the Bristol Mercury reported that “the Cosmo, which sailed from this port on 4th December, arrived off Sierra Leone in the short space of 17 days, the quickest passage ever known. She is shortly expected to return, when this fine vessel is to be immediately engaged as a regular trader to New York.” [Farr, 1950. Op. Cit. pg117] On 24 July 1841 the Bristol Mercury carried a report that she had made New York to Bristol in 17 days. [Farr, 1950. Op. Cit. pg 118]

The Bristol Mercury of 12 April 1828 stated that the Cosmo (Gillespie), on her last [regular New York] voyage made Bristol to New York in 25 days.

In 1840 she was changed to a barque rig, and in 1855 she was sold to a Sunderland Ship-owner, and registered there [Farr, 1950. Op. Cit. pg 117], before another spell on the Bristol register, from which she disappeared between 1859 and 1860 [Farr, 1950. Op. Cit. pg118]. With her new rigging she made the journey from New York to Bristol in 17 days in 1841 [Farr, 1950. Op. Cit. pg116]

1826, brig Salus, 169 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1826, brig Three Sisters, 88 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1826, brig William & Elizabeth, 79 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1827, brig Drake, 150 tons

“On Tuesday morning the Brig Drake was launched from Mr. Taylor's Yard, Crosspark, burthen 150 tons. She is a very elegant vessel, and likely to be a swift sailer. She is built for Cap. W. Cook, late of the Lumber Brig Apollo, intended for the Coasting and Foreign Trade.”

A display in the North Devon Musem Trust's Maritime Museum at Appledore gives her as 95 tons, but lacks any citation for this information.

1827, smack Gurnet, 15 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1827, brig Saltern's Rock, 142 tons

“On the 26th Instant, was launched from the Yard of Mr. W. Taylor, a fine Brig named Saltern's Rock, burthen about 200 Tons. She was completely rigged and ready for sea. The evening being fine, the launch attracted a large concourse of spectators.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 1 June 1827 p4 c2]

Saltern's Rock was the earlier name of Crosspark Rock, an outcrop just north of Taylor's yard.

The following advertisement appeared in the North Devon Journal for 18 May 1827 [p1 c1] “For St. John's, New Brunswick, That Fine New Brig SALTERN'S ROCK, J. Taylor, Master, 142 Tons Register, has room for a few Steerage Passengers, will sail the first week in June. For Particulars apply to Mr. W. Taylor, Shipbuilder, Bideford, of at the North Devon Journal Office, Barnstaple. May 2d, 1827.”

On 24 June 1828 the Saltern's Rock, Taylor. arrived in Halifax, from Cork [Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser. London. 25 June 1828 p4 c2]

On 11 May 1829 the Saltern's Rock, Taylor, arrived in Cork from St. John's, New Brunswick [Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser. London. 18 May 1829 p4 c1]

On 11 Sept 1828 The North Devon Journal [p4 c4] reported the arrival of the Saltern's Rock, Taylor, at Appledore, Port of Bideford, from St. John's, New Brunswick. She arrived on Sept 7th [Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser. London. 10 September 1828 p3 c4] About a month later she sailed again from Appledore, under Davison. [North Devon Journal 08 October 1829 p4 c3]

On the 1 April 1830 the North Devon Journal [p4 c3] reported that the Saltern's Rock, Mollard, had arrived at Bideford from Plymouth.

On 16 Sept 1830 the North Devon Journal [p4 c2] reported the arrival, in Bideford, of the Saltern's Rock, Mollard, from Prince Edward's Island. Lloyd's List for 17 September 1830 [p2 c3] gives her arrival date as the 14th and the same details for her master and the ports involved.

Lloyd's List of 31 July 1829 [p3 c4]gives Saltern's Rock, Davison, as arrived in Bermuda from Cork.

On the 11 May 1829 the “Saltern's Rock, Taylor,” sailed from Cork on 11th May, bound for St. John's (New Brunswick) [“Shipping Intelligence” Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser. London, 18 May 1829 p4 c1]

After 1829 Taylor no longer appears as captain of the Saltern's Rock. Henceforth it appears to be captained by one Mollard.

In 1831 the Saltern's Rock, Mallard [sic], from Bilboa, arrived at Scilly on May 13th [Morning Post. London. 17 May 1831 p4 c2]

On Feb 13 1834 the Saltern's Rock. Molland [sic], arrived in Liverpool from New York [“Liverpool” Morning Post. London. 15 Feb 1834 p3 c3]

1827, ketch Swallow, 148 tons

“Last Thursday a fine Brig named the 'Swallow', about 200 tons burthen, was launched from the yard of Mr. Wm. Taylor, Crosspark; she is built for some Merchants of London, designed for Foreign Trade, and will be commanded by Cap. Grills; her first voyage will be to Newfoundland with coal, and from thence to London with fish; she is now alongside of the Quay, having her bottom coppered, and will sail next week.” [North Devon Journal 17 August 1827 p4 c3]

A display at Appledore Maritime Museum gives her as a ketch of 148 tons.

1828, sch/brig Brothers, 84 tons

“on Teusday morning at Mr. Taylor's yard, Crosspark, was launched the schooner-brig Brothers, Capt. Molland, of St. Ives, 80 tons burthen per register.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 07 February 1828 p4 c2]

A display at Appledore Maritime Museum gives her as 84 tons.

1828, sloop James & Louisa, 17 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1829, brig Shepherdess, 127 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1830, schooner Little Cosmo, 57 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

1830, Barque Mary Jane, 249 tons

Source is a display at Appledore Maritime Museum

Henry Tucker's yard, East-the-Water, ?-1806-?

Location of the yard

Caution needs to be exercised when considering these records, as they is scope for confusion with a shipbuilder named Tucker who was active in Appledore.

According to Nix, his yard was located at the East-the-Water end of the Long Bridge [Nix, 1991, 393]. The yard near Brunswick wharf seems to be accounted for at this period by other ship-builders, but there were two yards further north. As he is both a maltster and a shipbuilder then that may help narrow down his location (maltster's facilities being limited to certain areas of the wharfs).

From the details of the 1836 sale of Clarence Wharf, it would appear that he was the tenant there.

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

Henry Tucker's birth was registered as follows “31 [a sequential number for baptisms in 1756] Henry Son of Joseph Tucker & Margaret his wife of Bideford Ship-wright baptized Oct 27th 1756” [Bideford, Great Meeting (Independent): Baptisms. National Archives TNA/RG/4/515]

For a builder who lived to ninety, records of the ships he built seem rather scarce.

On 12th May 1781 a Henry Tucker of Bideford married Elizabeth Mayne/Maine [both spellings appear on the record] of Bideford. Her father William Maine was one of the witnesses [South West Heritage Trust, Bideford Marriages]. Nix states that this is the marriage of Henry Tucker, of East-the-Water, Shipbuilder, married the eldest daughter of William Maine of High Street, Bideford [Nix, 1991, pg 319]. It is worth noting that Mr Crocker, shipbuilder, of Bideford, may also have been connected to the Maine family, as on 2 May 1838 his daughter, one Miss Sally Maine Crocker, married Mr. J. Dark, of Leamington Spa [North Devon Journal 31 May 1838 p4 c4]

In 1795 “Henry, Son of Henry Tucker & Elizabeth his Wife of Bideford, Shipwright, baptized Jul 3rd 1796 dead” [Bideford, Great Meeting (Independent): Baptisms. National Archives TNA/RG/4/515]

In 1804 his yard had no shipwrights and 12 apprentices. Henry Tucker may have been related to the John Tucker who had a shipyard in Appledore, which, in 1804, also had no shipwrights but only apprentices (in that case 10). [Nix, 1991, page 394, citing 'An Account showing the Number of Shipwrights, and also Apprentices Employed in the Merchant Yards of Great Britain: According to the Returns of the Admiralty, in House of Commons Sessional Accounts: Papers and Accounts. VIII, 1805, (193), pp. 467 sqq'.]

Henry Tucker is listed in Pigot's Trade Directory of 1822-23 under both Maltsters and Ship-builders, with his address given as East the Water.

He is listed in Pigot's 1830 Directory for Devonshire, under Merchants, as “Tucker Henry, East the Water”

On 21 Jan 1836 the North Devon Journal [p4 c4] carried the news of the death “at Bidford, Mrs. Tucker, wife of Mr. Henry Tucker, for many years a shipbuilder of that town, aged 79.” The parish records have an Elizabeth Tucker, aged 79, buried at Bideford on 21st Jan, 1836. [South West Heritage Trust, Devon Burials, Anglican, Bideford]

In 1836 Clarence Wharf was put up for auction, at which time it was said to have “two strongly built malt houses” and an occupant by the name of “Mr. Henry Tucker.” It seems that Henry Tucker bought it, as, following his death, his executors offer the freehold for sale.

Listed in Robson's 1839 Directory for Devonshire, as “Tucker Henry, Maltster & ship owner, East the Water”

The 1841 Census lists him at East-the-Water and of independent means. With him are his wife Elizabeth and his daughter Elizabeth.

Listed in Pigot's 1844 Trade Directory under Maltsters and Merchants, when address given as East the Water.

The North Devon Journal of 5 November 1846 [p3 c3] reports the death, “at Bideford, on Monday last, of Mr. Henry Tucker, formerly shipbuilder, aged 90.” The Anglican burial record for this individual gives his date of burial as Nov 7, his age as 90, and his “abode” as East the Water. The ceremony was performed in Bideford by W. Braithwaite. [South West Heritage Trust, Devon Burials, 799A/PR/1/45]

In 1847 probate was granted for the will of Henry Tucker, of Bideford, Gentleman [Prerogative Court of Canterbury PROB11/2055]

Death duties were registered in 1847 for Tucker Henry Bideford Devon, Executor: Elizabeth Tucker daughter; Court:Devon RC Register:4 Folio:393 [National Archives, IR27/283]

In 1848 the freehold property of the late Mr. Henry Tucker of Clarence Wharf is offered for sale, at which time Mrs. Tucker is living in a house on the Wharf, and so is Mr. Thomas Waters (a person of that name, soon after this, begins ship-building in this vicinity). [North Devon Journal 05 October 1848 p1 c2]

Incidents relating to the yard

In 1802 he had trouble with his apprentices running away:

Ran Away from Henry Tucker, Ship Builder, Bideford, Two of his Apprentices, Robert Summer, aged 17, short straight Hair, and slight Stature and William Hoyle, of the same Age, short and thick; they were dressed in blue Jackets and pink Linen Trousers.”
Whoever harbours or employs them will be prosecuted according to law.
Bideford, 31st August, 1802.”
[“Apprentices that ran away from their Masters” Postby Nevis. MyZone, Genealogy forum. Thu Nov 13, 2014. Online: http://www.mzawf.org/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=877 Accessed 13 Jul 2016]

Ran Away from their Master, Mr H. Tucker, Ship-Builder, Bideford, two of his Apprentices, one named William Scrigings, aged 21 years, near six Feet high, of a fair Complexion, with short Hair; a well-grown Man. The other named William Cann, aged 21 Years, of a fair Complexion, about 5 feet 7 inches high, long straight Hair, of an awkward Appearance. Whoever harbours or employs either of the said apprentices, after this public Notice, shall be prosecuted according to Law.
19th April 1802.”
[“Apprentices that ran away from their Masters” Postby Nevis. MyZone, Genealogy forum. Thu Nov 13, 2014. Online: http://www.mzawf.org/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=877 Accessed 13 Jul 2016]

Ships launched

1806, sloop Mutine

On Friday last a sloop of war, built by Mr. Henry Tucker, at Bideford, was launched about six o'clock in the evening ; when the bridge, quay, and places adjacent were filled with spectators from the town and its vicinity, which added to the pleasure of the scene, there being a great display of beauty and fashion among the fair sex, who, with the other beholders, did not fail to hope that she may be successful in sharing the glory of Britain against our lawless ambitious enemy.--She was named Mutine, and so christened by the lord of the manor of Bideford, John Cleveland, esq. whose barge, amongst the other boats on the river, was not a little conspicuous for its elegance. She is considered a handsome tight-built vessel, and reflects the highest credit on the builder, and Mr. Cowe, under whose inspection she has been constructed.” [“Exeter” Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 21 August 1806 p4 c3]

From the position of the spectators, on the quay and bridge, this launch appears to have been from one of the East-the-Water yards.

HMS Mutine was a Royal Navy 18-gun ''Cruizer'' class brig-sloop. [Uniopedia: The Concept Map, Online:http://en.unionpedia.org/HMS_Mutine_%281806%29, accessed 1/6/2016] Though some sources cite Chapman as the builder, this news-paper report of the launch gives the builder as Tucker.

1813, Gun-brig Pelter, 183 51⁄94 tons

Launched on 27/08/1813, she was a 12 gun ship, credited to Henry Tucker of Bideford. 183 51⁄94 tons B.M. She took about six months to build. [“Henry Tucker” http://threedecks.org/index.php?display_type=show_crewman&id=24227 Accessed 17 Sept 2016] To initial cost to the builds was £ 3,411 [Rif Winfield. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793 – 1817. Seaforth, 2014. No page numbers]

1824, brig New Alfred, 120 tons

On Wednesday last, was launched from Mr. Tucker's Yard Bideford, a beautiful new Brig, of 120 tons burthen, call the New Alfred ; built for Capt. John Maine ; she went off the stocks in very fine style, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators.” [North Devon Journal 27 August 1824 p4 c1]

1825, brig Lady Clinton, 130 tons

A fine brig, of 130 tons, named Lady Clinton. was last week launched from the yard of Mr. Henry Tucker, ship-builder, Bideford. She went off in fine style,"in the presence of a great number of spectators. As she moved off, a man, called Anthony, fell into the hold on his head; he was taken up in a lifeless state, and remains very ill. The Lady Clinton is designed for the coasting trade, and built for Captain Day.” [Trewman's Exeter Flying Post 22 September 1825 p4 c3]

Waters' yard, Cross Park, ?-1848 till 1873

Location of the yard

In the reminiscences from T. Murphy, recorded in 1904, when Murphy was 89 [Notebook of Vernon Boyle (1858-1926), cited in Wm. Henry Rogers typed manuscript Vol 3, Pg 35], he states that Waters' yard was opposite the Terminus Inn (which is shown on a plan of 1842 as where the East of the Water restaurant now is).

Graham Farr states that Thomas Waters took over the yard of William Brook in 1844, after Brook fell ill. Farr considers that this Thomas Waters is probably to be identified with a Clovelly builder of the same name who operated between 1827 and 1840 [“Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

Biographical background on the shipbuilder/s

In 1848 the freehold property of the late Mr. Henry Tucker of Clarence Wharf was offered for sale, at which time a Mr. Thomas Waters was resident in a house there. [North Devon Journal 05 October 1848 p1 c2]

Thomas Waters is listed in White's 1850 Trade Directory under Shipbuilders, when his address is given as East the Water.

From the 1851 Census records it is clear that one Thomas Waters, born about 1796, in Clovelly, identifies himself as a “Ship Builder, employing 17 men.” He is living in Barnstaple Street with his wife Harriet and several children, amongst whom are his sons William, born c 1832 and an apprentice shipwright, and Thomas, born about 1839. The stated birthplaces of his children suggest he was in Clovelly until at least 1840.

In 1852, Waters' son-in-law, J. Martin, was also active at the yard. In 1849 a son had been born to the wife of a “Mr. Jesse Martin of East-the-Water” [“Births” North Devon Journal 19 April 1849 p8 c4]

In 1857 Thomas seems to have started taking his son William, then aged about 25, into the business, as several makers certificates are signed by William, whilst the local papers credit Thomas as the builder. This certificate signing was perhaps intended to give William the credentials to set up on his own, for Grahame Farr suggests that he did just that in 1860, operating from the Rolle Company's Sea Locks yard, at Weare Gifford. [“Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

In 1858, The London Gazette carried the following: "Notice is hereby given, that William Waters of Bideford, in the county of Devon, Shipbuilder, hath by indenture bearing date the 5th day of August, 1858, assigned all his estate and effects unto Robert Easton Yelland, Banker, and George Heard, Merchant, both of Bideford aforesaid, upon trust for themselves and the rest of the creditors of the said William Waters" it goes on to say that the deed had been formally executed. [The London Gazette. August 24, 1858. Pg. 3922]

On the 1861 Census Thomas Waters is listed in Barnstaple Street, immediately after the Three Crowns, and gives his occupation as Master Ship Builder, employing 2 men.

William Waters is listed on the 1861 Census as follows: "Torridge Street, William Waters, Head, Mar, 29, Ship Builder, Master, employing 7 men" [Torridge Street later became Torridge Place]. So, although he was now building ships in Weare Gifford, he continued to live in East-the-Water.

On the 1871 Census Thomas Waters is at 43 Barnstaple Street and still gives his occupation as Ship Builder.

In December 1873 “Mr. Waters, Shipbuilder, and Mr. Philip Colwill, lime and coal merchant” each received 10 days notice to give up their yards (in accord with the terms under which they held them) [“The Proposed New Railway Wharf at East-the-Water” North Devon Journal 04 December 1873 p8 c1]

Thomas Waters appears to have died in 1875, when the death was registered in Bideford district for a Thomas Waters, aged 79 [Apr-Jun, 5b/367].

Incidents related to the yard

In 1850 “Samuel Richards, aged 9. was found drowned at the side of Mr. Water's shipbuilding yard, East-the-Water, Bideford. [“August 1850” North Devon Journal 16 August 1900 p3 c1]

The following advertisement appeared in 1867 and referred to the yard :“WANTED two or three stout Lads as apprentices to the sea. Apply to Capt. Jones, at Mr. Waters' Yard, Bideford.” [Bideford Weekly Gazette 19 February 1867 p4 c7]

In 1872 a letter from “Mr. Waters, shipbuilder, of East-the-Water” was read, at the meeting of the Local Board, in which he requested compensation for damage cause in carrying out civil drainage works. [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 31 October 1872 p6 c2]

Ship launches

1845, sloop Ebernezer, 22 tons

Grahame Farr identifies the 22 ton sloop Ebernezer as Thomas Waters' first vessel from Cross Park [“Ship Building in North Devon”. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

1851, copper-bottomed schooner Vivid, 150 tons.

On Tuesday morning last a fine copper-bottomed schooner was launched from the yard of Mr. Waters, of this town. She is intended, we understand, for the Newfoundland trade. Her register is 150 tons, and she was named the 'Vivid.' [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 03 July 1851 p8 c5]

1852, schooner Queen of the Seas, 240 tons

'The schooner “Queen of the Seas,” 240 tons burthen, was launched from the yard of Mr. Waters, at Bideford.' [“August 1852” North Devon Journal 04 September 1902 p2 c3]

1852, smack Quiver, 65 tons

'The “Quiver” smack, of 65 tons burthen, was launched from the yard of Mr. Waters, of Bideford. She was the property of Mr. Henry Stevens, of Bideford.'[“September 1852” North Devon Journal 25 September 1902 p2 c7]

1852, screw steamer Alpha

Following the description of the launch of the Quiver from Waters' yard, the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette [4 September 1852 p8 c2-3] goes on to state “and on Wednesday, something more novel occurred at the same place, the launching of a small screw steamer, built by Mr. J. Martin, Mr. Waters' son-in-law, in a large mould loft adjoining the yard. A level platform was erected outside, on which she was brought out, and at the proper season, the end nearer the river was lowered gradually till it formed a launch, off which she dashed gaily, in the presence of a large concourse of people. She is appropriately named the Alpha, and is considered a beautiful model. She is 50 feet long, draws about two feet water, and is intended to ply between Bideford and Barnstaple, and for excursion trips, as she can leave Bideford at half-flood, and return at half-ebb.”

1854, barque Chieftain/Ellen Sophia, in excess of 200 tons

In Sep 1854, 'A barque called “Chieftain” belonging to Mr. T. Evans was launched from Waters' shipbuilding yeard' [Reminiscences from T. Murphy, recorded in 1904, when Murphy was 89, recorded in the Notebook of Vernon Boyle (1858-1926), cited in Wm. Henry Rogers typed manuscript Vol 3, Pg 36]

Grahame Farr suggests that this ship was built on speculation, was over 200 tons, and was bought soon after her launch by one Thomas Evans, who changed her temporary name of Chieftain to Ellen Sophia. Farr further suggests that this Thomas Evans was probably the former ship-builder at Cleave Houses, and that he sold the vessel the next day to Edward Fernandez, of Instow. [“Ship Building in North Devon.” Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

1855, brig Wildwave

'The brig “Wildwave,” was launched from Mr. Water's yard at Bideford.' [“February 1855” North Devon Journal 30 March 1905 p7 c7]

1856, unidentified schooner.

“Another beautiful schooner, was launched on Saturday morning last, from the yard of Mr. Waters east-the-water, she is the property our late esteemed townsman T. Evans Esq., and does credit to the builder.” [“Ship Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 11 March 1856 p1 c1]

1856, schooner Gleanings, 90 tons.

"On Saturday week last a schooner of about 90 tons burthen was launched from the yard of Mr. Thomas Waters, ship-builder, East-the-water, and received the name of the Gleanings. She is the property of Mr Thomas Tucker, of this port." ["Ship Launch" Bideford Weekly Gazette 26 August 1856 p1 c1] The North Devon Journal also carried the news of this launch, adding that she was launched about 6 o'clock, and that Thomas Tucker, late master of the Gleaner, was intending to use her for the coasting trade. [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 21 August 1856 p8 c1]

1856, schooner Heroine, 126 tons

'The Schooner “Heroine,” of 126 tons burthen, was launched from Mr. Thomas Water's shipbuilding yard, East-the-water, Bideford.' [“August 1856” North Devon Journal 16 August 1906 p6 c2]

1857, schooner Zouave, 120 tons.

"On Saturday morning, the 9th inst., a pretty schooner was launched from the yard of Mr. Waters, East-the-water. Her length is 68 feet, breadth 18 feet, and depth 9 feet, and is expected to carry 120 tons. She is built for Captain James Finch jun., and Mr. Berryman, of Clovelly, and is to be employed in the copper and tin trade." The article goes on to mention a launch at Cleave Houses (Cox's yard) of the Tamar. ["Ships Launched" Bideford Weekly Gazette 19 May 1857 p1 c1]

The launch was also covered by the North Devon Journal, which additionally confirmed that the name of the ship was Zouave and that Berryman was a sailmaker [“Ships launched” North Devon Journal 14 May 1857 p5 c4]

1857, schooner Fairy, 140 tons.

“On Saturday evening last, a very pretty schooner about 140 tons burthen, was launched from the yard of Mr. Thomas Waters, East-the-Water. As she glided from the stocks into her future element, she received the name of Fairy from Miss Ann Jones, daughter of the owner, Cap. Jones, of Port Talbort.” ["Launch" Bideford Weekly Gazette 22 September 1857 p1 c1]

Grahame Farr states that the builder's certificate for the Fairy was signed by William Waters. [“Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

1858, schooner Leader, 140 tons

The beautiful schooner Leader, Capt. Bate, was launched at Mr. Waters' yard. Bideford, on Teusday morning, built for the captain and others in Port Talbort. Burthen 140 tons. She went off in gallant style, witnessed by a large concourse of spectators on both sides of the river, who were delighted at her fine appearance when she settled the bosom of the Torridge. She will be fitted out with every dispatch, being already chartered for the Mediterranean.” [“Bideford” North Devon Journal 04 March 1858 p5 c1]

Grahame Farr states that the builder's certificate for the Leader was signed by William Waters. [“Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

1858, smack Pride of Torridge

"On Thursday evening a smack was launched from the yard of Mr. Waters, called the Pride of the Torridge. She was built for Mr. Hammett, shipowner, of this port. " ["Ship Launch" Gazette 28 September 1858 p1 c1]

In 1857 Waters' six-oared gig, Pride of the Torridge had taken the prize in its class at the Bideford Regatta ["Bideford Regatta" Western Times 11 July 1857 p5 c5]

1859, St. Germans

Grahame Farr suggests that this was the third of the ships launched between 1857 and 1859 for which William Waters' signed the builder's certificate [“Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22. 1976., cited in Bideford Buzz, Jul, 2016. Online: http://bidefordbuzz.org.uk/2016/07/two-bideford-built-schooners-of-the-nineteenth-century/ Accessed 28 Sep 2016]

1862, unidentified vessel

On the same evening another and smaller craft was launched from the yard of Mr. Waters. Returning from the launch at Messrs. Cox's, the public were just in time see this gallant craft bound off the stocks and enter the harbour with a dash that must have shaken the nerves of those on board her.” This followed an account of the launch of the Scout from Cox's yard. [“Launches” Bideford Weekly Gazette 05 August 1862 p4 c1]

The visibility of this launch to the public confirms that it was from the East-the-Water yard.

1868, Schooner Isme

Attributed to Thomas Waters of Bideford [Bideford Weekly Gazetter, May 1868 (5 4B)]. A two masted topsail schooner [Ian D Merry, The Westcotts and their times, National Maritime Museum, 1980 (Google snippet view)]

1865, schooner The Two Sisters

“Built in Bideford by Thomas Waters 1965 [sic=1865]. First owned by P.K. Harris of Appledore. Later by J. Chugg of Braunton. Port of registry Bideford. She was originally built as a Polacca schooner re-rigged in 1880 as a ketch & served in the coal & brick trade in the Bristol Channel. She sank in 1922 but was raised & repaired & had an engine fitted. She carried the last cargo of iron ore from Spreacombe mines near Braunton to South Wales. She was brought for a voyage to Australia in 1939 but became a training ship for sea scouts at Littlehampton. Broken up in 1950.”

1867, unidentified schooner

A fine new schooner was launched on Tuesday evening last from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. E. Waters, at East-the-Water. It is of excellent build, and well modelled. We understand that it is intended for general trade, and that a Mr. Jones, of Swansea, is the owner.” [“Launch of a New Schooner” Bideford Weekly Gazette 26 February 1867 p4 c5]

1868, schooner Ismene, 180 tons

'A schooner named the “Ismene,” and intended for the general trade, was recently launched from the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Waters. She is 180 tons burden, and has been purchased by Captain Merefield.' [“Launch” Bideford Weekly Gazette 05 May 1868 p4 c2]

1870, clipper schooner Forward Ho!

During the high tides of the past week three splendid vessels have been launched into the river.” . . . “On Saturday morning a handsome-looking clipper schooner, about 150 tons, was launched from Water's yard, East the-Water. This vessel is the property of Mr. Haines, of Appledore, and was christened by him Miss Haines at the time of the launch. Her name Forward Ho! and she is intended for general trading.” [“Ship Launches” Bideford Weekly Gazette 22 March 1870 p4 c2]

Ships refitted or altered

In anecdotal evidence from “Mr. W. Leonard” subsequently recorded by Vernon Boyle [Notebook of Vernon Boyle (1858-1926), cited in Wm. Henry Rogers typed manuscript Vol 3, Pg 34], he states “The Alice was cut in two and lengthened at Waters' shipyard East-the-Water, on the beach alongside the yard.”

The Alice was originally built by William Waters at Weare Gifford, as may be seen from the following account, published in the Bideford Weekly Gazette [“Ship Launch” 19 February 1861 p4 c2] 'On Tuesday last, a fine schooner, built at the yard of the Rolle Canal Company, at Weare Gifford, was floated down the river, and passed safely through the bridge. She is a very beautiful little vessel, about 90 tons custom-house measurement; was built by Mr. Wm. Waters of this town ; is called the “Alice,” and is intended, we are told, for the foreign trade.'

Built in Bideford, but not in East-the-Water

To avoid confusion, the following are a list of some of the ships built locally, for which contemporary documentation confirms that they were certainly not built in East-the-Water:

1 The How family would go on to develop a significant business based at Commercial Wharf, upstream of the Long Bridge and on the West bank of the Torridge.

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