↑Top / Menu / Search

The Tale of Two Barques

At the beginning of October 1856 the following letter was delivered to Garton & Jarvis, and, has fortunately survived for over 150years.

October 1st 1856
The Marine Stove you supplied for the barque “Cornucopia” answered admirably. In all my experience at sea (twenty three years) I have never seen any to equal it – the saving of fuel is considerable, which is of much importance on a long voyage. Your stoves only want to be known to be generally adopted.
You will please forward another of 3 feet 8 inches length for a vessel of 460 Tons Register which will be launched on the 15th inst.
I am Gentlemen
Yours most respectfully
P Jarvis

(A note beneath requests articles to be forwarded with the stove)

With the able assistance of the Salcombe Maritime Museum and Mr Roger Barrett we are able to add quite a bit to this short letter. The Cornucopia was launched in 1848, 230 Tons Burden and built in Salcombe by Vivian of Salcombe. The first managing owner was Balkwill & Co and Peter Jarvis was the Master in 1848 and 1853-1856. In 1865 she was transferred to Arundel and registered in Littlehampton in 1866. Balkwill & Co were involved in the fruit trade so she frequently sailed to the Mediterranean, West Indies and South America.

During the Great Storm of 1901, which raged between 12-15 November, over 40 ships were sunk in the North Sea with the loss of at least 200 lives. Included was the Cornucopia, brig of Jersey C.I. which was wrecked off Black Halls near Hartlepool carrying coal from Newcastle to Kinsale.

The letter refers to a ship due to be launched on the 15th October; this was the Eclipse. In the Exeter Flying Post of October 23rd 1856 was stated:

“... on Tuesday week, a well built barque about 600 tons burden named the Eclipse was launched from Mr Vivian’s Yard. The appearance of the ship excited general admiration. She is the largest by 100 tons that has ever been launched at this port. Shipbuilding is very brisk and another vessel is to be laid down immediately on the same lines.”

Alvington (similar to Eclipse)

Peter Jarvis, listed as a Master Mariner, was named as one of the Shareholders of this ship together with four of the same shareholders that had an interest in the barque Cornucopia.

Unfortunately in April 1865 news filtered back to to Kingsbridge (?) that the Eclipse had been lost off Hartland Point, although all the crew and part of the stores were saved. She was insured for £1200. The North Devon Journal reported “During heavy fog the 800 ton barque Eclipse of Salcombe hit the rocks at Hartland Quay and is wrecked, The ships cook is the only casualty

Peter Jarvis was also Master of the Eclipse between 1857 and 1860.

It is said that not much escapes the locals of North Devon – was the stove salvaged? Perhaps somewhere in a Builder’s ledger in that neck of the woods is entered:

“May 1865 – Widened Mrs S******’s hearth to 3 foot 8 inches to accommodate secondhand Range”

Who knows!

The Picture is of a very similar vessel to the Eclipse – this is the Alvington. A model of the Eclipse made by the first ship’s carpenter, Mr Adams, can be seen at the Overbecks Museum, Salcombe, Devon.

Top of page

See also:
The DunbarExports to New Zealand
Cooking EquipmentGreat Exhibition
Sitemap / Contents