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.

FILEY BAY WRECK

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.

Name: FILEY BAY WRECK

List Entry Number: 1000080

Location

Named Location:

Location Description:

Filey Bay, off Filey, North Yorkshire

Competent Authority:

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

Latitude: 54.19170000

Longitude: -0.22468302

National Grid Reference: TA 15931 78781

Date first designated: 17-Jul-2002

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: AMIE - Wrecks

UID: 1366264

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

Possible, though unconfirmed, remains of 1779 wreck of an American privateer which foundered off Flamborough Head after a gun battle with HMS Serapis, during which she was also burnt. Commanded by John Paul Jones, the Bonhomme Richard (formerly the French East Indiaman Duc De Duras) operated out of Lorient, and on this occasion had attacked a convoy of British vessels from the Baltic.

Reason for Designation

Statutory Instruments

2002/1858

History

The wreck was originally discovered in 1974 by a local diver recovering a fouled trawl net. Over the years, survey and research has been carried out into the site and in 2001, a detailed report concluded that there was a strong possibility of the wreck indeed being the Bonhomme Richard, although this has not yet been confirmed.


Two recent efforts to locate the Bonhomme Richard further offshore have been unsuccessful.

Details

Designation History: Designation Order: No 1858, 2002 Made: 17th July 2002 Laid before Parliament: 17th July 2002 Coming into force: 18th July 2002 Protected area: 300 metres within 54 11.502 N 000 13. 481 W

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

Documentary History: The Bonhomme Richard, a former French East Indiaman, was commanded by the man regarded as the founder of the American Navy, John Paul Jones. The ship was abandoned while on fire during the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1779.

Archaeological History: Although the site was discovered in 1974, it was not until a detailed reported concluded that there is a strong possibility that the remains comprise those of the Bonhomme Richard that the site was assessed for designation.

The site lies in a depth of 23 to 28 metres with the seabed in the vicinity being generally featureless in general. Between 2002 and 2003 there was a change in sand levels which indicating the mobility of the surrounding seabed.

Substantial structural remains are present on the seabed but only minimal artefacts and no guns have been identified indicating moderate importance. The fragmented nature of the site also suggests the remains are of moderate importance although the good condition of many of the timbers indicates high importance and this is the best surviving example of a late eighteenth-century French/American ship. The wreck is important within a local dimension, as a shipwreck in Filey Bay, and an international dimension with regard to the survival of a French/American vessel in UK waters. In August 2007 American scientists mounted a £175,000 expedition off Flamborough Head in search of USS Bonhomme Richard.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753)
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753)
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753)
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753)
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753), 56-57
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753), 102-109
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753)
'Newcastle Courant' in Newcastle Courant, (1753)

Chart

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. 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 - 1000080 .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-May-2017 at 06:41:54.

End of official listing