A wreck with a close link to one of the world's most famous ships has been given special protection at Sutton Hoo.

The iron hulk of the Lady Alice Kenlis, designed by the same shipwright as the Cutty Sark, has been granted protection by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.

The Lady Alice Kenlis was an iron steamship designed by Hercules Linton in 1867. He is the designer of the internationally renowned Cutty Sark, launched two years later in 1869.

The Cutty Sark (now at Royal Museums Greenwich) was a state-of-the-art Victorian tea clipper.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Cutty Sark is on display at Greenwich in London.The Cutty Sark is on display at Greenwich in London. (Image: Archant)

It was one of the fastest of its time, making the journey from Sydney to London by sail in 73 days.

A clipper is a type of 19th century merchant sailing vessel, designed specifically for speed.

The Lady Alice Kenlis is important in our understanding of early iron ships. Protection by scheduling will ensure that the hulk of the ship will be protected by law.

East Anglian Daily Times: There is no access to the section of the riverbank near the hulk.There is no access to the section of the riverbank near the hulk. (Image: Paul Geater)

The hulk is on the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo estate but is not publicly accessible due to its location. It can be seen from the river itself - or from Melton on the opposite bank.

The remains of this particular ship are referred to as a ‘hulk’ rather than a shipwreck as there has been no wrecking event.

Hulks are ships that have been abandoned, partially dismantled and then stripped of their fittings.

Although it is now "protected," there is no question of restoration or of making any changes to it - any attempt like that could lead to its disintegration.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The ship was named after Alice Maria Hill, daughter of the Earl of Hillsborough, who married Lord Kenlis, a politician and the Earl of Bective in Ireland, to become Lady Alice Kenlis in 1867.

The vessel was built by J&R Swan in Maryhill, Glasgow, and launched on  December 23, 1867.

Serving as a cargo ship in 1868, it was used to carry cattle, goods and passengers between Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.

It was briefly used as a ferry, later re-registered as the Holman Sutcliffe and converted into a suction dredger in 1913.

East Anglian Daily Times: The vessel has been in the Deben for more than 80 years.The vessel has been in the Deben for more than 80 years. (Image: PA)

The vessel continued as a dredger until it was partially dismantled in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

Hercules Linton (1836-1900) was a Scottish shipwright who worked as a surveyor for the Liverpool Underwriters’ Registry as a specialist on iron vessels.

Linton went on to form the shipbuilding company Scott and Linton, which built a number of vessels, the most famous being the Cutty Sark, before going bankrupt in 1871.

East Anglian Daily Times: Angus Wainwright at Sutton Hoo.Angus Wainwright at Sutton Hoo. (Image: Archant)

Angus Wainwright, Archaeologist at the National Trust, said: “Although we knew that the Lady Alice Kenlis was an interesting ship, we didn’t appreciate just how historically important she was. 

"This is now our second scheduled ship at Sutton Hoo, as we also look after the site where the famous Anglo-Saxon burial ship was excavated in 1939.

"What’s interesting to me, is that the Sutton Hoo ship was nearly as long as its Victorian descendant, the Lady Alice Kenlis.”

East Anglian Daily Times: The Sutton Hoo ship was twice the length of the Lady Alice Kenlis.The Sutton Hoo ship was twice the length of the Lady Alice Kenlis. (Image: Paul Geater)

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: ‘‘While only the rather ghostly remains of the Lady Alice Kenlis survive, it deserves protection as an important part of our seafaring history.”

Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson said: "The hulk of the Lady Alice Kenlis, resting in the River Deben,  offers us an important insight into the work of Hercules Linton, who - as the designer of the Cutty Sark - became one of the most notable shipwrights of the nineteenth century.”

Kay Yule, cabinet member for planning and coastal management  at East Suffolk Council, said: “Anyone who uses the River Deben, or who has ever looked towards Sutton Hoo from the opposite quayside, will be very familiar with the sight, if not the name and history, of the Lady Alice Kenlis."