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The “ENGLANDS GLORY” 1881, Barque

Disaster finally overtook the barque England’s Glory at the end of a long and eventful passage lasting six months when, on November 7, 1881, she was totally wrecked near the entrance to Bluff Harbour. The barque sailed from London To Bluff, via Nelson, with a general cargo, the principal part of which was iron rails, and had a fair passage until the Cape of Good Hope, when she encountered heavy weather. The iron cargo began to work and shift, and it was found necessary to jettison the general cargo from the main hold in order to reach the iron. Endeavours were made to secure the iron by means of toms made from spare spars and studding sail booms. The toms, however, failed to hold the mass of moving iron, and as the ship could not be made seaworthy, or safe, a course was set for Mauritius, where the cargo was discharged.

Three weeks later the barque left Mauritius and eventually arrived at Nelson where part of the cargo was discharged. She then sailed for Bluff, but encountered very bad weather off the West Coast. During a heavy gale, when the barque was hove to, the iron again shifted, carrying away the midship stantions as it rolled from side to side. As there was great danger to the vessel, the England’s Glory was put before the wind, and a course was set for Foveaux Strait. The barque arrived off Bluff Harbour on the morning of November 7, and the weather being fine, the master stood close in to Lookout Point to take on board the pilot. On the latter taking charge, the helm was put hard up and the headsails trimmed, but the vessel would not pay off, and ran ashore about a mile to the west of the entrance to the Bluff. An attempt was then made to kedge the vessel off with a hawser from the quarter, but failed, and she was making water rapidly, the crew launched all the boats and got their effects away. A few minuets afterwards the barque listed heavily to starboard, all her beam ends being under water. She was dry at low water, but the sea was breaking over her at high water, and she was fully exposed to the sea in the strait, it was realised that she must break up during the first gale.

Three days after the barque had struck, it was reported that a good deal of the cargo had been saved, but that a southerly gale was blowing. On the night of November 12, a gale and a heavy sea effected the destruction of the England’s Glory, the hull breaking into three parts, parting at the breaks of the topgallant forecastle and poop. At the Court of Enquiry the pilot said he could only account for the casualty by the vessel not paying off, and supposed that there was something wrong with the steering gear. The junior pilot said that he believed that a counter-currant running along the shore prevented the barque’s head from paying off with the flood tide and wind on the port quarter, although to him the rudder did not appear to be hard over. The court found that the casualty was caused by an error of judgement on the part of the master in altering the ship’s course in order to pick up the pilot boat, and thus bringing her too close inshore and within the influence of the eddies with her head inshore. When she failed to pay off , as a last resource her anchors should have been let go.

(Above) Captain John Bollons, who arrived at Bluff on the Englands Glory (when she was wrecked here). He died in 1929 and is buried at Bluff

The England’s Glory, No. 60,919, was originally a full rigged ship of 751 tons net register, built by Pile at Sunderland, in March 1869, and her dimensions were : length 183.3 ft, beam 31.2 ft, depth19.7 ft. She was under the command of Captain William Knight, and carried a crew of 19 all told.

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