Swale Smack & Barge Match, 10th August 2019

Crowd-funded John Welsford Joansa launched at Faversham

Alan Thorne’s crowd-funded project to give as many local people as possible an experience of boat building culminated in the launch of a John Welsford-designed Joansa rowing skiff a couple of weeks ago.

Quite a crowd turned out, I’m glad to say! The name Bridget refers to the local plan to build a new lifting bridge over Faversham Creek, which would allow barges, smacks and other traditional boats to be moored at the top end of the creek once more.

Interesting Seasalter wreck to be studied by archaeologists

This news story in today’s Observer newspaper is great. Read it here.

For hundreds of years, the wreck of a ship known as Old Brig has lain buried in the mud of the Thames estuary.  Historians believe the vessel may have been linked to the smuggling trade that once thrived along the creeks and inlets of north Kent.

Now, after an initial exploration showed that the wreck was unusually well preserved, archaeologists are to embark on a major excavation that they hope will finally yield the ship’s well-hidden secrets.

“The potential is huge,” said Mark Dunkley, Historic England’s maritime archaeologist. “The wreck appears to be pretty complete. We’ve excavated just down to a deck level. To have a deck in situ is rare. Normally they disappear, eaten away by the weather and tides. This shows that the preservation is exceptionally good.”

Long buried in the silt of the estuary, Old Brig has in recent years been exposed by shifting sands and tides on the beach at Seasalter to the point where it now stands up to half a metre high at low water. Historians now hope to discover how it was used and what led to its beaching. A 1770 sea chart pinpoints Old Brig’s final resting-place.’