Mysterious shipwreck uncovered on Suffolk beach
PUBLISHED: 20:07 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:16 12 April 2018
Suffolk’s coast used to be a bustling and busy shipping area with fishing boats aplenty and, back in the 17th century, it played host to the Battle of Solebay.
Wrecks from across history have often appeared or washed up on the sand and pebble beaches, with records indicating numerous scuttled and wrecked ships throughout the years.
After one man encountered a large section of the hull of a ship in Covehithe, on March 27, the possibility was raised that a wreck of historical significance had been found from the naval battle, fought between the Dutch and the English and French during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. It took place off the coast of Southwold in 1672.
However, the truth is likely to be much less exciting according to archaeological experts.
Linzi Everett, project officer at Suffolk Archaeology, said the debris was a segment of the hull from an unknown ship and was around 10m long, with wooden pegs, known as trenails, rather than metal fixings.
She said: “I would be surprised and delighted if it was a ship from the Battle of Solebay.
“Looking at the fact that it has this wooden build, if there is any metal work in it there not much. That suggests it was made before the 1890s, and is most likely around the 18th or 19th century.”
She added: “The evidence at the moment points to it being later than Solebay. Wrecks like these are not uncommon, especially getting these kinds of fragments along this stretch of coast. It is a busy shipping area and there are plenty of records of ships being wrecked.
“It’s not something that has recently washed up, it’s been buried under beach deposits for many, many years but recent storms have scoured sand and gravel from the beach to reveal this wreck.
“A local resident we spoke to on the day said that she’s walked that stretch of shoreline for 40 years, but has never seen it exposed before.”
Part of Ms Everett’s job is to make a scale drawing and take photographs of the wreck, information which will all be submitted into the Historic Environment Record for Suffolk.
She said: “Hopefully what will happen is we will have another weather event and the ever shifting sands will come up again and keep in preserved. That is the ideal, to preserve it as long as you can in situ.