The Tamar barge Lynher was once abandoned on the banks of the Lynher River by the quay at Poldrissick Quarry and has now been restored to full sailing condition.
The Tamar barge Lynher was built in 1891 by James Goss at Calstock in Cornwall, she was a typical inside barge with one deck, one mast, a semi-elliptical stern, carvel planked, smack rigged with gaff and a large boom. Lynher was sold on completion to a Mr Cox at a build cost of £400, then spent 60 years carrying dock dung, timber, stone up and down the rivers and creeks around Plymouth. Lynher was once owned by Mr Brand who ran the Tideford Post Office and he used her for bringing up supplies from his shop in Devonport.
Lynher was used to shop stone from Poldrissick Quarries owned by the Steed brothers. The brothers had an interest in a number of similar barges including Blue Elvan, Elizabeth Jane andTriumph who was hulked not far from the Lynher at Poldrissick on the Lynher River.
From 1924 to 1940 the Lynher was owned by Samuel K. Daymond of Saltash in Cornwall. In 1928, an axuxiliary motor was fitted and a 1.5hp Hamworthy engine powering a winch fixed to a crane was installed at the same time, replacing the need for labouriously hand operating the derrick, thus speeding up loading and unloading. In 1940, soon after the outbreak of WW2, the Lynher was requisitioned by HM Government and used as a barrage balloon platform anchored in Plymouth Sound, as was her sister ship Triumph .
Having been returned to work from war service at the end of WWII, the Lynher was now owned by Notter River Quarries (1936) Ltd. and managed by Kimberly Foster, the proprietor of Treluggan Quarry, and she worked exclusively from Treluggan on the Lynher River with cargoes of Blue Elvan road stone. The Treluggan Quarry closed in the 1950s and a few years later the barge Lynher was abandoned next to the quarry quay at Poldrissick.
In 1980s was seen by Martin Langley and John Cotton alongside the schooner Millom Castle , in a sorry state with a hold full of mud. But in 1985 Charlie Force made enquiries about the Lynher’s hulk and decided to dig the mud out of the barge by hand, a huge undertaking in difficult conditions. Thanks to Charlie’s efforts the barge floated out of her mud berth and was taken up the Tamar River to Morwellham Quay.
The hull underwent a nine-year conservation project to return her to sailing condition and in 1999 the Tamar barge sailed out into Plymouth Sound once again. The Lynher was then sold to a lady who had the intention of living aboard her whilst cruising the coast but plans did not come to fruition. The ship was given to a charity, The Lynher River Barge Community Interest Company (CIC), and with the help of a Hertiage Lottery Grant and a fantastic team of volunteers and expert boatbuilders led by Dominic Bridgman, the barge’s hull was extensively treated and reconstructed.
Lynher is now one of only two surviving Tamar barges (the other being Shamrock) from the hundreds which were once the workhorses of this region. Lynher has been recorded on the National Register of Historic Vessels since 1998 and has the status of being listed on the National Historic Fleet.
The goal of the Lynher River Barge CIC is to continue to maintain and operate the Tamar Sailing Barge Lynher to a commercial licensed standard in order to offer day sailing activities and voyages to the communities along the Plymouth Waterways. Read more about the great work by the Lynher River Barge CIC here .
The Tamar barge Lynher is mentioned in Langley and Small's book Lost Ships of the West Country and in Merry's Shipping and Trade on the River Tamar.
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The Tamar barge Lynher was salvaged from the river and rebuilt and can now be seen sailing around Plymouth's waterways.
Originally hulked at Poldrissick, Lynher River, Cornwall.
Last updated 03 Jan 2021
Position OS: SX 38168 59378
Position GPS: 50.411932, -4.279028
James Goss, Calstock
Sail, then 26hp auxiliary motor
29 GRT, 20 tons net
Abandoned 1950s, salvaged 1985, rebuilt
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