Winter storms unearth potential 18th century shipwreck on Suffolk coast

Thorpeness shipwreck Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The remains of a shipwreck have been spotted at Thorpeness - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Part of what could be an 18th century shipwreck has been unearthed on a Suffolk beach. 

A large amount of wood thought to belong to a ship has been spotted on the beach at Thorpeness. 

Nicholas Mellor was walking in the area after recent storms when he came across the wood. 

"I thought it was just driftwood that had been washed up," said Mr Mellor. 

"The shingle had been scoured away to reveal the wood."


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As he looked closer at the wood he realised that it was far too large to be drift wood and appeared to be part of a structure. 

The section of wood is around 6-8 inches deep and around 10 inches wide. 

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The wood also appears to contain what is known as trenails. 

Trenails are made of wood and were used in the construction of boats in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Another telling sign is that the wood appears to have a curve to it. 

"It's got the curve of a large boat," said Mr Mellor. 

"It's built incredibly solidly."

Mr Mellor believes that the boat could have been a similar size to Captain Cook's Endeavour. 

Mr Mellor works in heritage management himself but his projects usually see him looking at slightly more far flung areas of the world, like Egypt or Zanzibar. 

He was able to put his contacts to good use and spoke to marine experts, who were able to confirm his suspicions about the nature of the wood. 

Now, Mr Mellor is hoping to find out more about the ship and what happened to it. 

"If it sank nearby then there might be a record of it," said Mr Mellor. 

Mr Mellor said that the construction of the remaining parts of the boat suggest it was either a warship or collier ship. 

He believes that the wreck has been under the shingle all this time and that it could become covered up again just as easily. 

"I hope that it will still be visible when restrictions allow visitors back to Thorpeness," said Mr Mellor.  

For now, Mr Mellor is looking for local history groups and schools to help him find out more about the boat and its potential history. 

Anyone interested in helping Mr Mellor should email katy.sandalls@archant.co.uk to be put in touch. 

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