Tamar Barge built 1899 by Hawkes, Fred, Stonehouse Creek
To be confirmed
18.00 feet (5.49 metres)
56.95 feet (17.37 metres)
6.00 feet (1.83 metres)
Built in 1899 by Frederick Hawke of Plymouth for Tom Williams, SHAMROCK is a sailing ketch built for cargo work on the River Tamar and estuary in South West England. Her construction was of pitch pine and oak. From 1899 to 1962 she worked as a barge plying her trade though with several changes of ownership. In the late 1930s she moved from Plymouth to the Truro River where she operated in several Cornish ports. In 1962 she was used as a test drilling barge for core samples on the sea bed within St Ives Bay, Cornwall and later became a salvage vessel between 1966 and 1970 when she fell into disrepair. The National Trust acquired her in 1974 and she was towed up the River Tamar to Cotehele Quay for restoration. This was a major joint project between the National Trust and the National Maritime Museum. SHAMROCK is the centrepiece of a display at Cotehele from where she makes occasional voyages on the River Tamar. In Winter 2006, several planks on her starboard side needed to be replaced, which delayed her spring launch by a month. However, a team of skilled volunteers assisted with the fitting of the 2 inch thick larch planks.
This vessel is a survivor from the First World War. You can read more about her wartime history by visiting our First World War: Britain's Surviving Vessels website www.ww1britainssurvivingvessels.org.uk.
1. What is the vessel’s ability to demonstrate history in her physical fabric?
Evidence for designs, functions, techniques, processes, styles, customs and habits or uses and associations in relation to events and people. How early, intact or rare these features are may impact on significance.
2. What are the vessel’s associational links for which there is no physical evidence?
Associations with people or places. Off-ship research.
SHAMROCK was launched in July 1899 by Frederick Hawke of Stonehouse, Plymouth for Tom Williams, a lighterman from Torpoint giving her strong associations to this area. She was named after the then challenger for the America's Cup. She also has significant regional connections with Devon and Cornwall. Her design as an ‘inside barge’ saw her initially carry cargoes on the Tamar or from Torpoint to Plymouth, although her maiden voyage was along the coast to Fowey. However, her working area then extended to the relatively sheltered waters of the south coast of Devon and Cornwall and by the 1930s, she was using Falmouth as her base port. She operated during the First World War, mainly carrying 18lb shells from transatlantic ammunition ships moored in Plymouth Sound to Ocean Quay. By the 1950s, SHAMROCH had the distinction of being the last Tamar barge to trade under sail and has been recorded on the National Register of Historic Vessels since 1996. She is now one of only two surviving Tamar barges (the other being LYNHER) from the hundreds which were once the workhorses of this region.
3. How does the vessel’s shape or form combine and contribute to her function?
Overall aesthetic impact of the vessel, her lines, material she was built from and her setting. Does she remain in her working environment?
SHAMROCK is representative of her type with a small, simple hull with a flat transom stern, round bows with no overhang, and a shallow draft to enable her to trade far up-steam in rivers. She has aesthetic beauty not only for her graceful lines but also for the robust simplicity and practicality of a traditional merchant sailing ship. Her hull construction is exposed in her hold, demonstrating clearly how larger ships were constructed. She is typical of many maritime workhorses in being slow, almost stubborn in her manoeuvres under sail. She is however capable of commendable speed with the wind in the right quarter. SHAMROCK thus demonstrates the limitations of sailing vessels that formed the backbone of British trade two centuries ago. She is an evocative example of how boat builders and mariners designed, built, operated and maintained wooden sailing vessels in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. SHAMROCK is now based at Cotehele Quay, on the River Tamar in Cornwall in a heritage setting which is indicative of her working life. As a National Trust owned vessel, she is fully accessible to the public and is occasionally sailed on the river.
Source: NHS-UK team, 29 March 2017.
This statement was developed as part of the Heritage Lottery funded First World War project. http://www.ww1britainssurvivingvessels.org.uk
- June 2011 Visited by National Historic Ships on the 27th May. Vessel is in very good condition, well painted and there is no significant evidence of deterioration. Source: Paul Brown on behalf of National Historic Ships
- 1974 Mariner's Mirror Note: Coasting Ketch Shamrock
- 1975 Ships Monthly Saving the Shamrock
- 1978 Old Ships, Boats and Maritime Museums - Sullivan, Dick
- 1988 Lost Ships of the West Country - Langley, M and Small, E
- 1993 International Register of Historic Ships - Brouwer, Norman J
a single pin or one of a pair rising vertically from the sheer and acting in a variety of ways to provide a fulcrum for the oar