Xanthe

Overview

Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
1464597
Date first listed:
08-Nov-2019
Location Description:
5km off Horsey Gap, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Map

Ordnance survey map of Xanthe
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Location

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

Location Description:
5km off Horsey Gap, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
National Grid Reference:
TG4929828452

Summary

The Xanthe comprises a nineteenth-century steam ship lying off Horsey Gap, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Built in Hull in 1862, the Xanthe is a rare example of a sail-assisted iron steam ship; a type of vessel that became obsolete in the mid-C19 with the development of full screw propeller driven vessels.

Reasons for Designation

The Xanthe, located off Horsey Gap, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Period: The hybrid technology of the Xanthe screw steam ship, using both sail and steam power, is highly representative of the mid-C19 period, which saw a rapid development in steam technology; the Xanthe demonstrating adaptation of steam to a sailing cargo vessel;

* Survival: Geophysical survey indicates that archaeologically significant features, such as the early compound engine, appear to survive within the wreck;

* Rarity: The Xanthe is a rare early example of a sail assisted screw steam ship, a type of vessel that became obsolete in the mid-C19 with the development of full screw propeller driven ships;

* Potential: In the absence of primary documentary sources regarding construction, the Xanthe offers the opportunity to study the hull form and machinery of an early steamship, and;

* Group value: With another early steam ship, The Seagull (National Heritage List 1464587) also wrecked off Horsey Gap. Both the Xanthe and the Seagull were wrecked in collisions with other steam ships; the Xanthe in 1869 and the Seagull in 1868.

History

Xanthe was built in Hull in 1862 by Martin Samuelson and Co. as an iron steam screw ship. Powered by a new compound engine, the Xanthe was sail-assisted and rigged as barque (that is, a three-masted ship in which the foremast and mainmast are square-rigged and the mizzenmast is rigged fore and aft). The ship was a cargo vessel and was used to trade coal and ore between the Tyne and Spain and sank in a collision in 1869, with no loss of life. It was identified by the discovery, and recovery, of its bell in 1996. The Xanthe is a rare example of a sail-assisted iron steam ship; a type of vessel that became obsolete in the mid-C19 with the development of full screw propeller driven vessels. There is an extensive range of papers related to the loss of the Xanthe, including those from the High Court of Admiralty, held at the National Archives.

The C19 was an extremely important period in UK maritime history for the advancement of ship design and technological development. The century saw the revolutionary transition from sail to steam, from paddle to screw propeller, wood to iron and then steel, an enormous increase in the size of ships and the development of many specialist types of merchant vessel. The mid-C19 century was a particularly critical period in the adoption of new technologies.

Details

The UK Hydrographic Office records that the Xanthe was first located in 1982. When last examined in 1983, side-scan sonar showed that the wreck stood some 7m proud of the seabed.

In 1991 divers recorded that the Xanthe was lying upright with collapsed superstructure but that its hull was intact, standing 4m clear of the seabed. In 1996 the absence of decking was reported allowing for the observation of an abundance of coal inside the vessel. Recent geophysical surveys conducted for the Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm show that whilst partially collapsed on the starboard quarter, the vessel remains upright and remarkably intact; still rising a significant height above the sea floor.

Sources

Books and journals
Tikus, A (author), The Ship-Wrecks of North East Norfolk, (2004)
Other
Wessex Archaeology (2018) Xanthe; Undesignated Site Desk Based Assessment Report, ref 108281.16

Legal

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

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