Heritage Category:
Maritime Wreck
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
Gunwalloe Fishing Cove, Cornwall


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

Location Description:
Gunwalloe Fishing Cove, Cornwall
National Grid Reference:
SW 65184 22477


Remains of a Portuguese carrack which was beached on Loe Bar after breaking from her anchors, while en route from Lisbon to Antwerp with a general cargo in 1527. More specifically, this cargo included copper and silver, cloth, linen, cannon, pitch, tar, musical and navigational instruments, and candlesticks. Parts of the vessel are said to be incorporated into the rood screen of the nearby Church of St. Winwaloe, Gunwalloe.


The wreck was discovered in 1981 after a copper ingot was discovered on a beach. The site was located and identified as the remains as the St Anthony by the discovery of hemispherical-shaped solid silver ingots. Eighteen such ingots were recorded in the cargo list for the vessel. The site was designated in 1982 and excavated; all the recovered artefacts were reportedly severely abraded and no undisturbed deposits were ever recorded. The site has largely been buried since 1988.


Designation History: Designation Order: (No 1), No 47, 1982 Made: 19th January 1982 Laid before Parliament: 25th January 1982 Coming into force: 15th February 1982 Protected area: 75 metres within 50 03.40 N 05 17.10 W

Designation Order: (No 7), No 2535, 2006 Made: 20th September 2006 Laid before Parliament: 21st September 2006 Coming into force: 22nd September 2006 Protected area: 150 metres within 50 03.335826 N 005 16.911581 W

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

Documentary History: The St Anthony was a Portuguese merchant carrack, armed with bronze and iron cannon. She was the property of King John (Joao) III of Portugal. Sailing under Master Vaal Diego, she was lost in January 1527, while on a voyage between Lisbon and Antwerp carrying a cargo of copper, jewels, silver, cloth and artillery.. The vessel came ashore due to bad weather with a loss of nearly half her crew. The survivors accused some prominent local gentry of robbery with violence. Subsequently two Commissions enquired into the wreck, and the case went to the Court of the Star Chamber.

Named as the San Antonio (St. Anthony), of 300 tons; wrecked en route from Lisbon to Antwerp, when her anchors snapped and her master, Antonio Pacheco, deliberately made for towards the lee shore at the eastern end of Loe Bar, with the intention of beaching the vessel, but he struck the same hidden reef which the ANSON was to do centuries later, causing his ship to broach to and be pounded to pieces. (14) Forty-five men of the crew survived, some of whom came ashore at Gunwalloe. At the time much salvage work was undertaken but no ingots were recorded as recovered.

Archaeological History: The loss of the St. Anthony is recorded historically, but her whereabouts remained a mystery until 1981 when, by chance, a holiday-maker discovered a copper ingot on the beach. The site was subsequently located and identified by the discovery of hemispherical-shaped solid silver ingots. Eighteen such ingots were recorded in the cargo list for the vessel. The site was designated in 1982 and excavated; all the recovered artefacts were reportedly severely abraded and no undisturbed deposits were ever recorded. The site has largely been buried since 1988.

The wreckage is sited amongst rocky outcrops with kelp and mobile sand between 30 and 180 metres offshore from Loe Bar, near Gunwalloe Cove. The topography is relatively flat with deeper gullies between bedrock outcrops and ridges, and coarse sand crests with smaller ripples of finer material have been observed at regular intervals. The general depth is 10 to 15 metres but around the wreck this is generally around 7 to 10 metres, depending on prevailing sand levels. The site is dynamic, subject to Atlantic swells and substantial movements of material which can alter the seabed topography.

Following re-designation, a 'new' area searched in 2007 comprises one of scattered artefacts rather than a coherent wreck site. The small metal finds located in this area are consistent with inorganic items of high density which are most likely to survive the prevailing variable environmental conditions.

Parts of the early sixteenth century rood screen are preserved in the Church of St. Winwaloe, Gunwalloe, and the screen is said to have been made from wreckage from the St Anthony.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
AMIE - Wrecks


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.

Statutory Instrument

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.

Statutory Instruments: 1982/47

End of official listing

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