Site of whisky shipwreck, Porth Colmon

Site of whisky shipwreck, Porth Colmon

porth_colmon_stuart_wreckIn April 1901 a sailing ship was driven onto the rocks near Porth Colmon while carrying whisky and other items. As it disintegrated, delighted local residents helped themselves to the goods!

The iron-hulled barque, named Stuart, had only recently started its long voyage from Liverpool to Wellington, New Zealand. Visibility was poor and after a navigational error the ship became wedged at Porth Tŷ Mawr. All 19 crew members survived.

Customs collector Mason Cumberland was quickly dispatched “with assistance” from his office in Caernarfon to protect the ship’s cargo. However, all manner of goods had disappeared from the shore by the time he arrived. Fine china, floor coverings and even pianos found new homes on the Llŷn Peninsula instead of in New Zealand. Some valuables were buried or stuffed down rabbit holes while the Customs men were at large.

porth_colmon_whisky_from_wreckThe photos, courtesy of Rhiw.com, show the broken ship and, over 110 years later, a full bottle of whisky and a jug from the Stuart.

Although no lives were lost in the wreck, there was a reminder of the dangers of these exposed waters in 1949 when the lexicographer John Bodvan Anwyl drowned here while bathing. Born in Chester in 1875 to Welsh parents, he was proficient in many languages.

His promising career as a chapel minister was cut short when an illness left him deaf at the age of 25. He spent 15 years ministering to deaf people in Glamorgan and ran the Pontypridd Deaf and Dumb Institute.

From 1913 to 1937 he edited 18 editions of Spurrell’s Welsh-English dictionary, including concise and school versions. His last major work was to gather information from people across Wales for a new standard Welsh dictionary based on the Oxford English Dictionary. He retired to a smallholding at Llangwnnadl, near Porth Colmon, and drowned in July 1949.

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More Stuart information and photos – Rhiw.com website