SS Faith


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
The SS Faith lies 18.43 km south-east of St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, 20m around position 50.45877, -1.11323.


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

Location Description:
The SS Faith lies 18.43 km south-east of St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, 20m around position 50.45877, -1.11323.
National Grid Reference:


Remains of 1855 wreck of Turkish cargo vessel, located approximately 18km south-east of St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight, which foundered after springing a leak in heavy weather. She had just been purchased by the Turkish Government, having up until that voyage been in British ownership and was en route from London to Istanbul to be delivered to her new Turkish owners, at the same time carrying a general cargo. Constructed of iron in 1852, she was propelled by both steam and sail, and had served as a Crimean War troopship.

Reasons for Designation

The SS Faith, located off the Isle of Wight, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Archaeological Potential: The wreck retains unique information regarding early experimentation in the propulsion systems of screw-driven steamships;

* Rarity: The Faith is one of only five early iron steamships known within English waters from the two decades following 1840, built during a time of significant technological change as shipping graduated from sail fully into the steam age, and;

* Survival / Condition: The Faith is the deepest of the known early iron-hulled vessels and lies within a seabed sediment more conducive to preservation; it is more than likely that it is the most complete surviving example of such a vessel from this period.


The Faith was launched in November 1852 as a general cargo vessel working for the African Steamship Company but was requisitioned by the British government for the Commissariat Service as a troopship during the Crimean War in 1854. Following its return from the Crimea in 1855, the vessel’s owners were forced to sell her as the company faced financial difficulty. The vessel was bought by the Turkish Government but foundered in heavy weather on her way to Constantinople, carrying a general cargo, with the loss of one life, on 23 December 1855.

Commissioned in 1852, the Faith was an innovative single-decked iron-built steam ship but utilised a full sail plan. Rigged as a polacca brig with the lower masts being of iron, sails were used during conducive prevailing winds to reduce passage time as well as for reducing fuel consumption and in the instance of engine failure. The engines were driven by a two-cylinder simple engine with an ability to disconnect the propeller screw when under sail. It should be noted that as late as November 1848 the Royal Navy was still launching all-wooden ships, despite paddle steamers beginning to appear from the early 1840s.


The wreck is known to have been dived and salvaged in the 1980s; the ship’s bell, portholes and bottles of wine and spirits have been recovered from the site and the Shipwreck Museum on the Isle of Wight holds the Faith’s signal guns and bell. However, investigation by the British Sub-Aqua Club has revealed that some small finds, including wine bottles, are still present on the wreck site. In addition, the engines are visible along with two further bronze cannons in the forepart. The hull plating has rusted away in areas to reveal more of the interior of the vessel and within the bow area lie the ship’s two anchors and chain. Close by is a spare two bladed iron propeller. The masts of the vessel are off the port side.


NRHE Record, accessed 19/12/2018 from
Solent Archaeological Divers SAC - Solent Wreck Project Report 2012, accessed 19/12/2018 from
SS Faith 1852-1855, accessed 19/12/2018 from


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing