Caledonia (brig)

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<!-- Deleted image removed: -->The Caledonia was a brig of some 200 tons, built in Arbroath, Scotland, and wrecked on September 7, 1843 on Sharpnose Point, near Morwenstow, Cornwall.

Final voyage

In September 1842 the Caledonia was homeward bound from Odessa, and called in at Falmouth to bury a crewman who had died of wounds suffered during a knife fight in Constantinople. The Caledonia then sailed for Gloucester to unload her cargo of wheat.

As she departed Falmouth a north-westerly gale was raging. At about 1 am on the morning of 8 September the ship's lookout saw waves breaking to leeward on Sharpnose Point, near Morwenstow, Cornwall.

Her captain, Stevenson Peter, shortened sail and tried to stand clear of the shore, but the ship refused to come up and soon hit the rocks at Sharpnose Point. As they hit, the captain ordered the crew to climb into the rigging, but the mast collapsed, throwing them into the sea where they all died. The sole survivor was Edward Le Dain from Jersey who managed to get ashore where a farmer discovered him at dawn. He was taken to the local Rectory where the Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker ensured that he was cared for and nursed back to health.

Aftermath

The bodies of the other crewmen eventually washed up on the beach and were buried in Morwenstow Churchyard. For some 162 years the white, carved pitch-pine figurehead of the brig was preserved in the churchyard as the headstone of the ship's captain and crew....
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