Pwllheli was by far the biggest
shipbuilding port on Llyn, with over 400 vessels completed between 1759 and
1878, and ranging in size from the seven ton Flora in 1798 to the magnificent
Margaret Pugh at 693 tons in 1862. Many fine books have been written about
Pwllheli. We have only put together here some newspaper clippings (Caernarfon
& Denbigh Herald) and other material that we have found, just to give you
some idea of life in this busy port.
Pwllheli Launch day,
April 25 1849.
On Wednesday morning the 25th instant,
at half-past 9 a.m., was launched from the building-yard of Mr.
John Roberts, ship builder, of this town, a fine low built
schooner, of the burther of 140 tons, and of a peculiarly
handsome model, to be called the “Joseph Brindley”
and commanded by Captain John Ellis, late master of the brig
Diligence of this port. The weather being very fine, a very
large concourse of persons assembled to witness the proceedings,
and, when all preparations were finished and daggers struck, she
glided most smoothly and beautifully to her future element
amidst the loud plaudits of the spectators. This vessel being a
very different style of make to the vessels generally built at
this port, has been particularly admired; and pronounced by
persons well qualified to form the opinion as likely to turn out
a first-rate clipper for sailing qualities, and to add
materially to the reputation of the enterprising and persevering
young ship builder. After the launch was over, the builder
invited the captain and the carpenters employed, 22 in number,
to his residence, Picton Castle Cottage, where he regaled them
with a most substantial dinner, and a plentiful supply of cwrw
da (good beer), which did not fail to produce its usual
hilarity, and subsequent proposal of loyal and patriotic toasts,
as well as humorous speeches and merry songs, during which the
prosperity of the builder, captain, and owners, were not the
least conspicuous (C.& D.H. April 28, 1849).
"Building a Schooner"
C & D H, July 25th 1857.
Pwllheli. Shipbuilding seems to be
reviving in the improving seaport, there are no less than four
fine schooners, averaging about 200 tons each, in course of
construction in our different building yards. We observe also
the frame of a large ship (probably the barque Woodcock 336
tons, launched in 1859) apparently of about 600 tons, on the
stock in the building yard of Messes Jones and Son, Brynhyfryd,
which we understand is to be employed in the American timber
She was lost in the
Atlantic in 1860.
On a voyage from
Bangor to Boston.
13 1858 Pwllheli.
Thursday morning last a fine new schooner, named the "Twelve
Apostles", of a beautiful model, partly rigged on the
stocks, and decorated with a handsome figure head, was
launched from the building yard of Messrs. Hugh Thomas
and William Jones, of Morfa, near this town. She glided
majestically into her briny element amidst the deafening cheers
of the numerous host of spectators attracted to the spot.
She is about 220 tons burthen [118 tons in fact], is the
sole property of Captain Prichard, of Erw Wen, Penrhos,
is to be commanded by Captain Hugh Hughes, of the schooner
Jaw, of this port, and is intended for the coasting and foreign
trade (C & D H. May 15, 1858)
Twelve Apostles Wreck)
The Margaret Pugh 1862
The three masted barque "Margaret
Pugh" (692 tons register) was the largest vessel ever
built at Pwllheli, in 1862. She was registered at Caernarfon
(No. 36 November 17, 1862). The managing owner was Hugh Pugh,
banker, of Pwllheli.
This Crew Lists cover the period 1863-1864. This extract relates
to here maiden voyage from Liverpool to San Francisco and back
to Liverpool, which began on January 23, 1863 and ended on April
18, 1864. The engagement was from Liverpool to San Francisco,
thence (if required) to any ports and places in the Pacific,
Atlantic and Indian Oceans and China and Eastern Seas, thence to
a port for Orders and to the Continent of Europe if required,
and back to a port of final discharge in the United Kingdom, the
term not to exceed three years'. The crew was to consist of
Mate, Carpenter, Boatswain, Sail-maker, Steward and Cook, six
Seamen, one Ordinary, and three Apprentices or Boys, no Grog
allowed'. The master was Captain William Lloyd Owen of Denbigh,
aged 30, but he never went to sea and his replacement was
Captain William Williams, aged 38, of Allt Goch, Pwllheli,
(formally of Rhiw) who had previously served on the William
Carey (Cert. No. 70, 44). He was discharged from the William
Carey at London on February 5 and joined the Margaret Pugh at
Liverpool on February 6,1863. He remained master of the latter
vessel on April 18, 1864 following the completion of the voyage
to San Francisco and back. She was sold to French owners (Bourdeaux)
in June 1878, and renamed Oceanie, she was destroyed by fire in
"Pwllheli timber yard"
On Tuesday morning last a fine clipper-built
vessel of about 250 tons burthen, named the "Empress", was launched from the
building yard of Mr. Griffith Evans, Mount-square, at Morfa, near this
place. She glided majestically into the briny element amidst the cheers of
hundreds of respectable spectators. Miss M. Evans. the builder's daughter
performed the christening ceremony. She is to be of brigantine rig, and is to
be decorated with a full sized female figure head of exquisite design
manufactured by Mr. David Williams. Traeth. This beautifully modelled
vessel is of a superior build, and of the best materials. She is to be commanded
by Captain John Jones, late of the brig Don Juan, of Carnarvon, and is
intended for the foreign trade. The chief owner. Mr. Richard Jones, timber merchant, Dolgelley, as well as the master and builder, invited their friends
and the shipwrights and workmen to drink success to the Empress. We
understand that two other vessels, of similar size are to be immediately placed
on the stocks in the same yard.
"William Jones timber yard 1890"
A list of all the ships built at
Pwllheli between 1759 ~ 1878