Heritage Category:
Maritime Wreck
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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 64594 23336


The remains of a seventeenth-century armed cargo vessel, thought to be identifiable with the English East Indiaman President, which stranded near Loe Bar in 1684. Homeward bound from India to London, she was carrying spices, indigo, drugs, Indian piece goods [i.e. textiles], pepper, and jewellery.


The site is potentially the wreckage of the President, a 500-ton English East Indiaman built in 1671, lost in 1684 on a homeward voyage. Cannon found on the site suggest the wreck is of a seventeenth-century date. Records show that she carried an extremely valuable cargo of spices, indigo, drugs, Indian piece goods and 100 tons of pepper. Also listed were a small amount of diamonds and much 'Jewish Treasure of Pearl"' though the latter may be polished nacre. Historical evidence indicates that salvage took place soon after the wrecking.


Designation History: Designation Order: (No 1), No 1438, 1999 Made: 23rd May 1999 Laid before Parliament: 24th May 1999 Coming into force: 14th June 1999 Protected area: 250 metres within 50 03.778 N 005 17.374 W

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

Documentary History: Date of loss of the President is cited as being the 11th February 1683. However, at this period the Julian Calendar was still in use in England, with the New Year additionally beginning on 25th March. Thus all dates between 1st January and 24th March inclusive are reckoned as one year "behind" the modern Gregorian or "New Style" calendar, in which 1683 would be 1684.

The President was on a homeward voyage and contemporary records show that she carried an extremely valuable cargo. Historical evidence indicates that salvage took place soon after the wrecking.

'On the Sunday immediately following, in Sermon-Time, the People of the next Town first heard of the Wreck, whereupon with one consent they ran out from their Devotion to the Spoil, leaving the Parson to Preach to the bare Walls. The Company sent down several Persons to recover what they could; which was scarce enough to pay for their Journey. The vessel nevertheless was of very rich Lading, being modestly judged of no less than a hundred thousand pound Fraight; of the Companies; beside what belong'd to private Persons, with much Jewish Treasure of Pearl and Diamonds. The said Smith and Harshfield having receiv'd Commendation of His Majesty, are now preferr'd by the Company, and sent out again to sea.'

The wreck was designated as probably being the wreck of the President, a rare example of a seventeenth-century ship and an East Indiaman, of which only one other, the Trial, has been investigated archaeologically.

Archaeological History: The finders of the site contacted the ADU in 1998 in the belief that they had located the President, an English East Indiaman lost in 1684.  A number of iron guns, an anchor and another large, unidentified iron object were recorded scattered across the site parallel to the shore.  Most of the guns were in very poor condition with little or no detail visible on them, although at least one had a wooden tampion still in its muzzle.  Although it is a rocky site with variable sand cover, there is a possibility that smaller items may be preserved in pockets of sand in the uneven rock.  Areas between the guns were covered in an intrusive material that appears to have flowed over bare rock.  A sample was taken of this material by the ADU and analysis indicated its main constituent is manganese oxide.  It is likely to be derived from material carried on the vessel but more research needs to be carried out to ascertain whether this represents a cargo of any kind.

The remains lie in 10-11 metres. The area is rocky with variable sand cover, lying a few metres from the low water mark. Iron objects are scattered over the site, but smaller items may be covered by pockets of sand in the uneven rock. The surge from offshore swell makes the site very dynamic, and loose material is easily moved or covered in as much as 3 to 4 metres of shingle overburden.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 15/01/2018


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
AMIE - Wrecks


Loe Bar Site Designation,
Receiver of Wreck Droit,


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: 1999/1438

End of official listing

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