Heritage Category:
Maritime Wreck
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Seaton Sands, Seaton Carew, Hartlepool


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above chart is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale chart, please see the attached PDF - 1000077.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 24-Feb-2021 at 20:41:58.


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

Location Description:
Seaton Sands, Seaton Carew, Hartlepool
Marine Location Name:
Not applicable to this List entry.
Competent Authority:
Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority Ltd
National Grid Reference:
NZ 52990 29572


Remains of an eighteenth-century oak English collier brig, believed to have been beached at Seaton Carew during a storm.


The site was first located in August 1996 on the beach at Seaton Carew by a local resident. The beach profile had changed to expose the complete outline of a wooden ship that was not known to even the oldest locals with knowledge of the shoreline. A substantial portion (c.33 per cent) of the original hull survives, which was probably constructed in the middle of the nineteenth-century, or perhaps earlier. The wreck is a rare example of a once common type of trading vessel.


Designation History: Designation Order: (No 2), No 1717, 1997 Made: 16th July 1997 Laid before Parliament: 18th July 1997 Coming into force: 8th August 1997 Protected area: 100 metres within 54 39.50 N 001 10.71 W

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

Documentary History: A search of the Tees Archaeology Maritime Sites and Monuments Record revealed 51 vessels known to have been lost in the vicinity of Seaton Carew, 29 of which were noted as having been stranded or lost on the 11th October 1824 following a particularly violent storm. A possible photograph of the wreck was taken by the Rev. Patterson 1888 - 1890.

It is thought the vessel was wrecked after failing to make Hartlepool or the Tees during a storm, or was deliberately beached to save life in similar conditions, and the possibility of a collision is mooted as a possible explanation for the lower number of extant port frames than starboard frames. Alternatively, breaching the hull on the beach would have made it easier to salvage any coal on board.

There is a lack of evidence about the vessel. Newspaper records make no reference to a wrecked collier off Hartlepool, though the ship's position - pointing up the beach - suggests she was deliberately run ashore when her crew was in danger. Damage to the hull suggests it was battered by storms.

Archaeological History: The site was first located in August 1996 on the beach at Seaton Carew by a local resident. The shifting levels in the foreshore sands had exposed the complete outline of a wooden ship seen for the first time in living memory, which the Archaeological Service for Teesside recognised as being of some antiquity. The vessel is most probably the remains of an east coast collier brig, a ubiquitous trading vessel, the type of which has not previously been identified in the archaeological record in Britain. These types of vessels would have been prolific in nineteenth-century coastal traffic. Dendrochronology may provide an accurate date for its construction but the mid 19th century seems probable. The Archaeological Service for Teesside, in conjunction with volunteers from the Nautical Archaeology Society recorded the substantial exposed remains of the lower third of the hull.

The designated area, as exposed at low water, comprises flat beach sand, and the site is only revealed when sediment levels drop. Remains appear to comprise the lower third of the hull uncovered by the tides in August 1996 and December 2002.

The remains comprise 91 starboard and 71 port frames, and are uniformly truncated at 1.5 metres above sand level, possibly indicating a former beach level. The planks, frames, and ceiling are in good condition and the keelson has steps for two masts, suggesting that the vessel was a brig.

The surviving remains as surveyed in 1996 measured 25.10 metres long x 7.07 metres broad at the widest point, carvel-built and fastened with treenails, with later debris also located at the site. The timbers sampled largely proved to be of oak, although a sprung plank at the bow was elm and a larch ceiling plank were also noted. The hull appears to have had wooden, as opposed to copper, sheathing.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
AMIE - Wrecks


Books and journals
'Independent' in Independent, (2002)


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: 1997/1717

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].