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List Entry Summary

This site is designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 as it is or may prove to be the site of a vessel lying wrecked on or in the sea bed and, on account of the historical, archaeological or artistic importance of the vessel, or of any objects contained or formerly contained in it which may be lying on the sea bed in or near the wreck, it ought to be protected from unauthorised interference. Protected wreck sites are designated by Statutory Instrument. The following information has been extracted from the relevant Statutory Instrument.


List Entry Number: 1000062


Named Location:

Location Description:

Trinity Bay, Goodwin Sands, off Deal, Kent

Competent Authority:

The site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Latitude: 51.20050833

Longitude: 1.50760502

National Grid Reference: TR 45136 50436

Date first designated: 02-May-1985

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Oct-2004

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: AMIE - Wrecks

UID: 1082122

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Information provided under the Statutory Instrument heading below forms part of the official record of a protected wreck site. Information provided under other headings does not form part of the official record of the designation. It has been compiled by Historic England to aid understanding of the protected wreck site.

Summary of Site

Remains of an English East Indiaman which stranded in Trinity Bay, in the Goodwin Sands, during a gale in 1809. The Admiral Gardner was outward-bound from Blackwall to Madras carrying anchors, chains, guns, shot, iron bars and East India Company copper tokens for local currency.

Reason for Designation

Statutory Instruments



The Admiral Gardner was a twelve year old 800 ton English East Indiaman. In January 1809 she was on passage from Blackwall to Madras with a cargo of anchors, chain, guns, shot and iron bar stock. She also carried forty-eight tons of East India Company (EIC) copper tokens that were to be used as currency for native workers. In company with the East Indiamen Britannia and Apollo, she was caught in the Downs by a violent gale and wrecked on the Goodwin Sands.

In 1976, EIC tokens appeared in sand dredged from the Goodwins for use as fill for construction work in Dover Harbour. The site and her cargo of coins were eventually located by divers investigating a fisherman's snag. The site was then subject to a number of parties claiming interest as it was thought to be the Britannia, lost at the same time but carrying silver EIC tokens. Salvage operations began in 1984 and recovered over 1 million tokens.


Designation History: Designation Order: (No 1), No 699, 1985 Made: 2nd May 1985 Laid before Parliament: 13th May 1985 Coming into force: 3rd June 1985 Protected area: 150 metres within 51 12.67 N 001 30.8 E

Revocation Order: No 1020, 1986 Made: 18th June 1986 Laid before Parliament: 27th June 1986 Coming into force: 18th July 1986

Designation Order: (No 3), No 2295, 1989 Made: 6th December 1989 Laid before Parliament: 13th December 1989 Coming into force: 3rd January 1990 Protected area: 150 metres within 51 12.00 N 001 30.56 E

Designation Order: No 2395, 2004 Made: 12th September 2004 Laid before Parliament: 14th September 2004 Coming into force: 5th October 2004 Protected area: 300 metres within 51 12.0305 N 001 30.4563 E

No part of the restricted area lies above the high-water mark of ordinary spring tides.

Documentary History: Built at Limehouse in 1797, the Admiral Gardner was a 12-year old 800-ton English East Indiaman outward-bound from Blackwall for Madras with a cargo of anchors, chain, guns, shot and iron bar stock. She also carried 48 tons of East India Company (EIC) copper tokens that were to be used as currency for native workers. In company with the East Indiamen Britannia and Apollo, she was caught in the Downs by a violent gale and wrecked on the Goodwin Sands on the 25th January 1809. The loss was estimated at £200,000.'

A week later the cargo of the wreck - hundreds of thousands of coins minted for the East India Company as currency to be used in the colonies - was reported to be beyond salvage. An auction was held to sell off all that remained of the vessel; some rope, lead and iron, sailcloth and some food.

Archaeological History: In 1976, the wreck was discovered during dredging operations when a large number of East India Company coins appeared in sand dredged from the Goodwins for use as fill as part of Dover Harbour.

The site was re-located in 1983 by a fisherman after snagging his nets and the site was subsequently salvaged. Over one million East India Company tokens are reported to have been recovered as well as an intact barrel of 28,000 coins which underwent conservation treatment at Portsmouth.

Following a paper presented on the site at the National Symposium of Nautical Archaeology held at Fort Bovisand in March 1985, concerns were raised over whether archaeological standards were being used. The site was therefore designated in 1985. However, it was discovered the site lay beyond UK waters (then set at 3nm) and de-designated in 1985. It was re-designated in 1989 following the extension of territorial waters to 12nm.

The site was exposed again in August 1993 and May 1995 when the Archaeological Diving Unit (ADU) observed (in 1995) coherent ship's structure fastened with copper alloy bolts, loose timbers, iron guns, anchors and an iron knee.

In June 1999, a magnetometer survey concluded that apart from the disturbance caused by previous salvage, operations the site appeared relatively stable and undisturbed. Ship's timbers were visible by ADU divers in one area and loose copper tokens seen, the exposed area of wreckage was 1m proud of the seabed on mobile sandy bottom. Sand waves up to a metre high were seen around the site and observed to be mobile during the tidal stream, indicating that the level of burial of the site could change constantly. By the 2003, the site was found to be completely buried.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Grocott, T, Shipwrecks of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, (1997), 273-4
Archaeological Diving Unit Archive,
Larn, R, Shipwreck index of the British Isles, Volume 2: Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Sussex, Kent (Mainland), Kent (Downs), Goodwin Sands, Thames, (1995)
Lloyd's, Lloyd's list, (1969)
Lloyd's, Lloyd's list, (1969)


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End of official listing