Tag Archives: hollowshore

Bird of Dawning is relaunched, after 80 years

Bird of Dawning is one of the delights of sailing on the Swale – a pleasing and elegant example of the kind of yacht East Coast smack builders would sometimes build when not building vessels for fishing, shrimping or oystering. She lives just off in Oare Creek, just off Faversham Creek, and is a regular on the water.

Julian Mannering wrote this week to say she has been relaunched after some major work, and included a photo from this week’s relaunch together with a shot from her original launch at Paglesham, in July 1937. Here’s what he had to say:

‘Julian and Amanda Mannering’s Bird of Dawning was relaunched at Hollowshore, off the Swale, on Monday 24 April after extensive repairs and refitting.

Bird of Dawning was originally launched 80 years ago this year from the yard of Frank Shuttlewood at Paglesham on the river Roach and was built on the lines, above the waterline anyway, of a Paglesham smack.

‘Time inevitably takes its toll and considerable work had to be carried out this winter on her decks, covering boards, stem and stern to bring her back to strength. Tie bars were fitted under the side decks and some 500 bronze screws employed to refasten her original Siberian larch decks which were then recaulked with oakum and payed with a locally-made pitch. Finally, a new iroko capping rail was fitted and a little sheer added astern.

‘The work was carried out in the black shed at Hollowshore by Dan Tester, owner of Hollowshore Services, and Nick Relf who between them did a brilliant job finding solutions for tricky problem wherever they were encountered. They truly breathed new life into an old ship.

‘She looks like a new vessel now and is fit and ready for many more years sailing.

‘Once back in commission Julian and Amanda plan for some East Coast cruising, including a short cruise up the Medway in July to show a group of military historians the route of de Ruyter’s attack on Chatham 350 years ago. The Swale Match is in the diary for 29 July and then it’s hoped to have a summer cruise to the near continent.’

For the Old Gaffer’s Association’s list of vessels built by Shuttlewood, click here. There’s a recent photo of Shuttlewood’s shed here, and some scraps of history here and here.

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Possible bronze age log boat found at Hollowshore, near Faversham

Bronze age boat at Hollowshore

Oooh – look what they’ve found lurking in the mud at Hollowshore. The folks who did the work are SWAT Archaeology, and hopefully there will be a report at some point…

It’s such a special place, there’s no question.

The bawley Emma

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Vic Maynard and his lovingly rebuilt bawley Emma in 2009/10. He told me her story over a pint at The Shipwright’s Arms at Hollowshore over the weeked.

She was originally built in in clinker 1845 by Thomas Bundock at Leigh on Sea, probably for the purposes of cockling and shrimping, like other bawleys.

Vic says she was not built by Haywards as has been suggested, as there are no records of similar boat being built at that yard before 1850. Bawleys built after 1850 or so were built in carvel.

Bundock had served his apprenticeship at the Maldon yard of James Williamson at the time that the well known smack Boadicea was built in 1808, and Vic reckons the bawley and the smack have something in common.

Bundock had daughter called Emma, who married her skipper and likely owner, a Henry Cotgrave, who seems to have been locally known as ‘Benson’, probably as a result of a connection with a Mrs Benson in London.

Vic suggests this is the same ‘Benson’ that is mentioned in the excellent 1893 book by H Lewis-Jones Swin, Swale and Swatchway, which is currently available in reprint from Lodestar.

It is thought that Emma came to Kent around the turn of the century, first into the hands of the Jemmet family of Faversham, and that she was then owned from 1928 until 2010 by Jim Gregory.

She remained a clinker-built craft until 1917, when she was converted to carvel. Rather than do the job wholesale, which would have created a completely new boat, Vic had Dan and Barry Tester of Hollowshore rebuild her piece by piece so that she would remain the Emma, and in doing so found that in converting her to carvel all those years ago, her clinker strakes had been filled out with feather-edged boards and tar. She had remained like that for more than nine decades…

These days, he has her beautifully sorted out inside and out, with just a tiny space under the foredeck that suffices as a cabin.