Registration number 751
Status Registered


Function Fishing Vessel
Subfunction Dredger
Location Brightlingsea
Vessel type Essex Smack
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No


Builder Harris Brothers, Rowhedge
Built in 1900
Hull material Wood
Rig Gaff Cutter
Number of decks 1
Propulsion Sail
Primary engine type None
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
11.90 feet (3.63m)
5.51 feet (1.68m)
Length: Overall
44.00 feet (13.41m)


Built in 1900 by Harris of Rowhedge, ELLEN is a carvel built fishing smack, rigged as a gaff cutter. She was built for Mr Martin, a Rowhedge fisherman, and was purely a sailing vessel until 1927 when her first engine was fitted – a Thornycroft 9 hp petrol/paraffin engine. It is thought that in her early years she was used for pleasure in the summer and fishing in the winter. After several changes of ownership, though always working in the East Coast area, she sank at her mooring near Felixstowe around 1973.

In 1945 she was owned temporarily by George Day and family of Whitewall creek, residing in Upper Upnor, barge breakers and later bought in1946 by Reginald F. Lawson of Wimbledon, who lived on on the Medway, with Wife and 3 children, of whom I was one.

Sold in 1950 to a pair of brothers who intended removing the accommodation and collecting seaweed to be sold as fertiliser.

She was raised and taken to Ipswich, where she was vandalised, and then to Woodbridge. A succession of owners attempted to restore her and eventually she was purchased by a Trustee of the Colne Smack Preservation Society in 1987. Taken to Brightlingsea and surveyed, she was then transported to Oliver Walstons Farm in Thriplow, Cambridge and was rebuilt in 1991.

ELLEN is now under new ownership and based in Brightlingsea. Under refit - launching 2024. Her engine will not be reinstalled as the owner plans to operate her as a purely engineless sailing vessel.


Leather, John, Saltwater Village
Benham, Harvey, The Stowboater

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