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St Anthony

Location: Gunwalloe Cove, St Michaels Bay, Cornwall
Age / period: medieval (early 16th century)
List entry number: 1000067
Reason for designation: rarity/archaeological significance
Depth: 10-15m

Wreck history and loss

The 'St Anthony' was an armed merchant carrack belonging to King John III of Portugal. She was on route from Lisbon to Antwerp in 1527 with a mixed cargo including copper and silver ingots and brass candlesticks when she was lost in bad weather.

The loss of the St Anthony and much contemporary salvage is recorded historically. Much of the salvaged cargo was taken forcibly from the Portuguese survivors leading to appeals from the Portuguese king. However, her whereabouts was unknown until 1981.

Discovery and investigation

The wreck was discovered in 1981 when a local man found a copper ingot on the nearby beach. His colleague Anthony Randall who was a diver found more ingots swimming off the shore and a metal detector search revealed many more. The site was designated in 1982 and both survey and excavation have been carried out on the wreck.


The ingots carried were in the form of segments or hemispheres, most were recovered immediately after the vessel sank. Some of the artefacts raised during excavation of the site are on public display by appointment at Pengersick Castle in Cornwall. Others are located in the Charlestown shipwreck and Heritage Centre, Longstones Heritage centre and the British Museum. These include ingots, candlesticks, stink pots, sounding lead and pieces of cast bronze.

Further work

The site is regularly monitored; this is particularly important in this area as it is subject to Atlantic swells and substantial movement of material.

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