When I started the Llŷn and the sea section of
rhiw.com over two years ago, we borrowed a fantastic
collection of photographs from Mr & Mrs Owen of Mynytho. Amongst the many
fine images, was one of the schooner "Sparling" discharging coal at the
of Abersoch beach. But looking closer at other photographs in the
collection, I found another two images of her unloading lime next to the
kiln at the mouth of the river Soch. And within days I was e-mailed an
image of a schooner on Llanbedrog beach, and on close examination, again I
established that she was the Sparling. I find this quite
fascinating, for the same vessel to crop up so many times, I even saw a
painting of her, which I managed to scan. She must have been a very
regular visitor to Llŷn, with all these images of her. But there was no
mention of her in any of the port
records that we have managed to get hold of.
The Sparling was built
originally as a sloop at Frodsham, Cheshire in 1815. She was
62ft from stem to stern, with a beam of 15ft and a depth
7ft. She had a standing bow-sprit, a round stern, and was carvel built,
registered net tonnage 52, and grossed 85. The round stern, made
identifying her in photographs much easier, as the majority of the little
ships that called at Llŷn had transoms, of some type or other, and
indeed, most of the Llŷn built vessels had transoms as well. Her first
owners were Ellison & Co., Liverpool, and she was registered at the
port until at least 1855, Official No; 8688. She doesn't appear in Lloyds
Register after 1840. But in 1881, now schooner rigged, she was owned by David
Pugh, Menai Street, Port Dinorwic, Caernarvonshire, and registered at
According to the 1881 census for the vessels at Liverpool, she had a crew
of three; Master, (owner) David Pugh, 58, married and born at Barmouth
Meirioneth. Mate, John Williams, 32, Married, Gaerwen, Anglesey, and
Ordinary Seaman, Owen R Williams, 19,
unmarried, Newboro also on Anglesey.
the 22nd of February 1910, at the grand old age of 95, the Sparling
slipped her moorings at the port of Garston, on the river Mersey, and set sail with a
cargo of coal for the Anglesey port of Beaumaris. A journey she must have
undertaken dozens of times in her long life. Whether through a foul tide or severe weather, we will never know.
But she came ashore between Crosby and Formby at the mouth of the river
Alt, and was wrecked. Both crewmen were picked up from their own boat by the Steamer
Allison, and landed at Alfred Dock Liverpool that evening. The wreck was
sold to J. Hughes of Crosby, for £5 on the 5th of March, and she was broken up
by him and removed.
Shipwreck details from
from Mrs G Hughes.
Ship spec, from Dom, at
Other details, from the
book "Ventures in Sail" by the late Aled Eames, with the help of, Hugh
Many thanks to you all.
The Sparling wreck
photograph was e-mailed to us last November (2005), by a gentleman from
Merseyside, shortly before our desktop computer crashed, and we lost
his contact details. So could you please get in touch with us again, so we
can credit you, Thank you.