Latitude 50° 18.267 N
Longitude 004° 06.624 W
Depth 5 - 15m
Accuracy 5m
Location Description Mewstone Ledges
Reference NMR 1065428
Craft type Steamship
Date built 1874
Date of loss 15th October 1877
Manner of loss Wrecked
Outcome Abandoned
Construction Iron
Propulsion Steam
Nationality United Kingdom
Hull displacement 332 tons
Armament None
Crew 11
Built Humphreys, Pearson & Co. Ltd.
Master Captain Nance
Owners John Cory Steam Shipping Co.


The 332 ton iron steam ship Rothesay was built in 1874 in the Hull shipyard of Humphreys, Pearson & Co. Ltd. The vessel was 145 feet long, 22.5 feet in breadth, 11.7 feet in depth, powered by a 50 h.p. Humphreys & Pearson compound steam engine and was owned by the John Cory Steam Shipping Company in Cardiff. The Rothesay was returning to Cardiff from Caen in ballast with 11 crew and captain T.H. Nance on board, having refuelled at Dartmouth.  During the voyage the weather worsened forcing the Rothesay to seek shelter in Plymouth, by the time she tried to reach the safety of the harbour they were blowing force 11 from the south west.  Unfortunately she did not reach safety and the ship was dashed on the south east side of the Great Mewstone just before midnight on the 15th October 1877, during the worst storms in the area for many years.  Incredibly, one of the crew survived being thrown overboard and landing on the Great Mewstone and after a brief period was able to assist his crewmates in getting a line onto shore which they used to escape the sinking ship.  No lives were lost and the crew sheltered overnight in the ruins of an abandoned cottage above where the wreck lay.

Diving the Rothesay

The wreck lies on the north-east side of the Mewstone Ledge, scattered over an area more than 100m x 100m in depths from 5m to 15m. Wreckage in the area is from a number of ships including the Ajax and Matilda so it is difficult to identify which is which. The site also buts up against the Mewstone cannon site which lies a little to the south. The seabed is rock reef topped with thick kelp and the ironwork from the wrecks is covered with weed so its hard to tell wreckage from rocks.

email If you have any more information about this ship then please contact us.


The Mewstone from the south east


Mewstone Ledge
Mewstone Submarine