Department for Culture, Media and Sport designates unidentified wreck

The number of protected wrecks is now 48. The new designated wreck is located off the north coast of the Isles of Wight, Alison James from English Heritage notified MAG this week.

The ‘Unknown Wreck off Thorness Bay’ is the official name for the forty eight protected wreck. This site is designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 as it is or may prove to be the site of a vessel lying wrecked on or in the sea bed and, on account of the historical, archaeological or artistic importance of the vessel, or of any objects contained or formerly contained in it which may be lying on the sea bed in or near the wreck, it ought to be protected from unauthorised interference. Protected wreck sites are designated by Statutory Instrument. The following information has been extracted from the relevant Statutory Instrument.

The wreck site is highly unusual in that it contains an almost complete assemblage of a mid- to late 19C wooden merchant sailing ship, consisting of the ship’s structure complete with its hull, planking and fitting, many small finds scattered over the site associated with different aspects of shipboard life, and technology including rigging and navigation equipment. There are also materials possibly associated with the ship’s cargo or provisions.

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The site is currently under no immediate threat but evidence gathered during fieldwork suggests that some parts of the wreck have been exposed and these exposed materials are at risk of loss. English Heritage will be drawing up a management plan for the site after carrying out a detailed risk assessment as part of its Heritage At Risk programme.

To read the report go to



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