Shipping lists etc


A selection of items compiled by Steve Keates from various sources during his study of 18/19th century coastal shipping links between South Wales ports and the English counties of Devon and Somerset.

The section headings are;

  • Robson's Somerset Directory for 1839
  • Pigot's Somerset Directory 1830
  • The Somerset County Herald January 7th 1843, a list for Bridgwater Docks
  • Boats leaving Bridgwater for Welsh Ports
  • More ships and masters from Pigots 1830
  • Cost of shipping coal from Swansea to Bridgwater 1776
  • An example of not so cordial trade with the West Country.

Robson's Somerset Directory for 1839

List of coastal shipping giving Masters names of vessels that traded regularly between Somerset (mostly Bridgwater) and the Welsh Ports of Swansea, Neath, Cardiff and Newport. ( Some of these vessels were still sailing in the 1920's)

Vessel ; Master

  • Union; Gwyther
  • Friendship; Westlake
  • Neptune; Sharman
  • Active; Guy
  • Three Sisters; Dingley
  • Resolution; Reed
  • Prudence; Edwards
  • Fame; Hunt
  • Caerleon; Bryant
  • John Barwise; Washboum
  • Bransby; Prout
  • Hope; Billin
  • Mary; Burrell
  • Edmund Protheroe; Edmonds
  • Friends; Moule
  • Blessing; Duddridge
  • St Pierre; Herbert Rebecca; Harper
  • Fortitude; Lewis
  • Gannet; James
  • David; Margaret
  • Jane; Smith
  • Uninamity; Mithchel
  • Industry; Davies
  • Mary Ann; Davey
  • Friendship; Cridland
  • Spraycombe; Marsh
  • Eliza; Prosser
  • John and Mary; Cridland
  • Betsy; Beynan
  • Providence; Patterson
  • Venus; Hall
  • Sampson; Bryant
  • Charlotte; Casey
  • Charles; Howe
  • Nelly; Davidge
  • Prudence; Mitchell
  • Sisters; Knapp
  • Tor; Moule
  • Nottingham; Headford
  • Taunton; Thomas
  • Ann; Howe
  • William and Susan; Bryant
  • William; Watkins
  • Industry; Murrett
  • MaryAnn and Sally; Date
  • Mary; Perks
  • Jane; Cook
  • Sally; Roberts
  • Owen; Cambridge
  • Fame; Wills
  • Picton; Jones
  • Gally; Sterey
  • Britannia; Philips
  • Caerleon; Headford
  • Orion; Jones
  • Temperance; Richards
  • Thomas and Sarah; Hiscox
  • Hopewell; Williams
  • New Felicity; Hopkins
  • Cinderella; Nurse


Pigot's Somerset Directory 1830

Watchet: Conveyances by water.

To Bristol

  • The Union Packet; Thos Press Master
  • The Friendship; John Price Master (every fortnight)

To Swansea and Newport

  • The Friends; James Hole Master
  • The Watchet Trader; John Slocombe Master
  • The Ceres; John Slocombe Master
  • The Moderator; George Hole Master
  • The Love; John Govier Master

Cargos for the Swansea and Newport boats likely to be coal and limestone.


The Somerset County Herald January 7th 1843, a list for Bridgwater Docks

Arrivals from the 26th December 1842 to the 3rd January 1843

This list is only of those boats from Wales, the paper gives other shipping but this was outside my research study parameters.

Vessel ; Master From

  • Hope; Billins Newport
  • Ann and Elizabeth; Lewis Llanelli
  • Charles; Howe Newport
  • Mary; Chilott Newport
  • Royal Forester; Knight Cardiff
  • Mary Ann; Smart Newport
  • Friends; Moule Newport
  • John George; Guilliford Cardiff
  • St Pierre; Herbert Newport
  • Olive Branch; Sharman Neath
  • Rebecca; Hooper Newport
  • Owen Cambridge; Ware Swansea

One or two regulars and confirming Newport as a principle coal port at the time.

Boats leaving Bridgwater for Welsh Ports

Also from the Somerset County Gazette

Departures 28th December 1842 - 4th January 1843

Vessel; Master Destination

  • Brothers; Owens Cardiff
  • Three Brothers; Mason Milford
  • Charlotte; Carey Neath
  • Eliza; Prosser Swansea
  • Bristol Packet; Duddridge Newport
  • Royal Forester; Furney Cardiff
  • Charles; Howe Newport

Departures 25th January to 31st January 1843 included;

Bristol Packet and Taunton Packet both for Newport plus the following;

Vessel Master Destination

  • Star; Richards Newport
  • Friends; Bryant Cardiff
  • John George; Guiliford Cardiff

In these lists Friends occurs with different masters. There was however more than one vessel named Friends working in these waters.

Some of these Vessels and Masters names are mentioned in Graham Farr's book The Somerset Harbours, [Christopher Johnson 1954]

More ships and masters from Pigots 1830

Since these coasters varied their routes any one of these masters could have a connection with the Welsh ports.

Conveyance by water

To London

  • The Benjamin, Thos Hooper Master
  • The Hero, W.S. Robins Master
  • The Shamrock, Robt. Bussel Master

To Bristol

  • The Taunton, Thos Symes Master
  • The Langport, George Story Master
  • The Dispatch, John Squires Master
  • The Active, James Davey, Master

To Cardiff

  • The Friends, John Davey, Master
  • The Venus, John Guliford, Master

To Gloucester

  • The William and Mary, R Bryant Master [Note the William and Mary was involved in a dramatic rescue of the Moss Rose in 1836, see below. ]
  • The Severn, Charles Cridland Master

To Liverpool

  • The Apollo, Edward Westlake Master
  • The Brothers, William Towels Master

To Swansea

  • The Union, -Bryant Master
  • The Lady Kenmare, - Thomas Master


Extract from the book 'Somerset Harbours' by Graham Farr (1954);

."....arrivals in the Parrett in January 1851........There were no less than 54 craft; comprising 22 from Cardiff, 19 from Newport, 7 from Lydney and one from Swansea, doubtless all with coal or iron..........Four from Gloucester, probably with salt or flour; and one from Bristol with general cargo transhipped from ocean-going vessels. The ever popular names were there - Ann, Fame, Prudence, Unanimity, Friends, and the inevitable Caerleon from Newport. The Masters, too included names still found on Parrett-side --- Smart, Duddridge, Withycombe, Davidige, Hobbs, Herbert, Bryant, and there were the two Sharmans, William of the James and Sarah, and James of the William and Mary. The latter.....figured in the Moss Rose rescue of 1836, commemorated by the stone on Burnham promenade. There was a captain John Sharman in charge of the Nancy as early as 1788."

Cost of shipping coal from Swansea to Bridgwater 1776

Original document in Som. R.O. DD/DP7/9

This estimate gives wages and the taxes paid on Welsh coal, and the goods being shipped to Swansea showing active building taking place. Spelling is as per the original and is interpreted from the good captains handwriting to the best of my ability. It was not easy.

Captain Hawkins estimate of expenses attending a ship load of 25 Chaldrons off coal from Swansea to Bridgwater. April 17th 1776.

Expense of a ship load of coal Swansea to Bridgwater.

  • Sterning ye Defvce* (the Betsy of 40 Tons)
    (ditto 26 Tons) 2 /6
  • Ale & Bread loading 8/ 6
  • Man to shift ye coal 1/ 6
  • Teams porting ye Defvce 2 /6
  • Logs & bondsman (10/6 Land Office 2/-) 12 /6
  • Harbour duty 1 /6
  • £5 ways of coals £10-0-0
  • Help out Swansea 8 /6
  • Help into Bridgwater 9 /0
  • Putting in ye Logs & Land Officer 10/ 6
  • Help and ales discharging (6-7days to be allowed) 18/ 0
  • Town dues 3 /6
  • Duty on 25 Chaldrons* of coals £6- 5- 0
  • Horse & ye informer to Monkton (to advise arrival) 3/ 6
  • Costing of 4 Men at 12 days £1-16- 0
  • Masters wages £1-15- 0
  • 2 men @ £2 10 boy @ 15/- £3-5-0
  • Sum of ye Defvce £5-0-0
  • Total £32-2-0

*Defvce literally a contrivance but seems used to describe a vessel. 'Sterning ye Defvce' means Commissioning the vessel i.e. flying a stern flag to show where the vessel is registered.

*Chaldron a measure used in the shipping of coal and limestone in this case each Chaldren was 36 Bushels.

On the voyage out to Swansea it was proposed the ship carry Timber (Elm planks), bricks and cloth (Long ells, a white wool cloth manufactured mostly in the Wellington area)

This is for the estate of Monkton Somerset. Further expense would have to be incurred to transport the coal to the estate from Bridgwater. It shows then that the cost of coal in this region Somerset was reasonably high and provides one reason why the Cloth manufactures in these regions were reluctant to introduce steam power.

Capt Hawkins did not have a boy called Jim, nor a dog called Black Spot.

An example of not so cordial trade with the West Country.

From Early Chancery Proceedings - a Welshman makes a case for the return of goods.

PRO C1/15/223

Chancellor : The Archbishop of Canterbury

Date : 13 May 1443-31 January 1450

Petitioner : William Nerbere of St Athan in Glamorgan South Wales

Complaint : Thomas Gower, captain of Cherbourg and John Bere of Barnstaple in Devonshire were in possession and owners of a  * balinger called the 'Mary'. Thomas Gower granted his part of the ship to the petitioner who had been peaceably in possession of it, by reason of the grant, in common with John Bere; until William Lethycote, also of Barnstaple, was allowed by John Bere to enter wrongfully onto the petitioner's part of the ship, and kept it wrongfully from him for more than six years, and was still doing so, to his great harm.

Request : That the chancellor would consider the foregoing and grant a writ of subpoena directed to William Lethycote, commanding him to appear on a given day before the king in chancery to answer the petitioner in the matter, so that the latter might recover his part of the ship and the damages he had sustained in accordance with the chancellor's wisdom, as good conscience and reason required, for the love of God.

*English sailing barge usually with from forty to fifty oars, shallow-draughted and clinker built.

Steve Keates (Sept 2000)


[Last Updated : 26 Sept 2002 - Gareth Hicks]