This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

England's Shipwreck Heritage

Front cover for England's Shipwreck Heritage

From logboats to U-boats

Hardback by Serena Cant


Buy from bookshop

What do characters as diverse as Alfred the Great, the architect Sir Christopher Wren, diarist Samuel Pepys and the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins have in common? All had some involvement in shipwrecks: in causing, recording or salvaging them. This book examines a variety of wrecks from logboats, Roman galleys and medieval cogs to East Indiamen, grand ocean liners, fishing boats and warships - all are woven into the history of shipwrecks along the coastline of England and in her territorial waters.

Wrecks are not just physically embedded in this marine landscape - they are also an intrinsic part of a domestic cultural landscape with links that go beyond the navy, mercantile marine and fishing trade. Evidence of shipwrecks is widespread: in literature, in domestic architecture and as a major component of industrial archaeology. Shipwrecks also transcend national boundaries, forming tangible monuments to the movement of goods and people between nations in war and peace. In peacetime they link the architecture and monuments of different countries, from shipyards to factories, warehouses to processing plants; in time of war wrecks have formed a landscape scattered across the oceans, linking friend and foe in common heritage.

England's Shipwreck Heritage explores the type of evidence we have for shipwrecks and their causes, including the often devastating effects fo the natural environment and human-led disaster. Ships at war, global trade and the movement of people - such as passengers, convict transports and the slave trade - are also investigated. Along the way we meet the white elephant who perished in 1730, the medieval merchant who pursued a claim for compensation for nearly 20 years, the most famous privateer for the American revolutionary wars and the men who held their nerve in the minesweeper trawls of the First World War. Highly illustrated and based on extensive new research, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in England's maritime heritage.


  1. The hazards of the natural environment
  2. Ships at war
  3. The vagaries of human nature
  4. The transport of people and goods around the world
  5. Solving mysteries
  6. How it all comes together: The wreck of the London from discovery to designation

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £50.00
  • Series: General History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Hardback
  • Physical Size: 246 x 219 mm
  • Pages: 320
  • Illustration: 300, Colour and b&w
  • Product Code: 51529
  • ISBN: 9781848020443


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Fax: 01793 414926
Textphone: 0800 015 0516

Was this page helpful?

England's Shipwreck Heritage

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • The Isles of Scilly
  • A reconstruction of the wrecking of Le Nicholas on the Goodwin Sands in 1371
  • The Needles lighthouse seen from the south-east
  • A 19th century view of a ship beached at Tintagel Haven
  • An aerial view of Pendennis Point looking north-east towards the Carrick Roads
  • A view down the keel and ribs of the Norwegian barque Nornen, wrecked in 1897 on Berrow Beach, Somerset
  • A medieval bench end from All Saints, East Budleigh, Devon, depicting a 16th-century armed vessel
  • Anti-Aircraft Operations Room, Wartime Tunnels, Dover Castle
  • Reconstruction view of the wreck of the Navis Jehsu Christi de Portu in the early 14th century, lying in Brighstone Bay
  • The 'Pepperpot' or St Catherine's Oratory at St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight
  • Castle's Shipbreaking Co., Baltic Wharf, Millbank, London as seen around 1900
  • The wreck of the fishing vessel Admiral van Tromp, east of the Black Nab on the North Yorkshire coast, near Whitby

Related publications

Also of interest...