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Tyne and Wear HER(14029): Tynemouth, Bee - Details

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N Tyneside

Tynemouth, Bee



Maritime Craft

Sailing Vessel


Post Medieval



The NORTHUMBERLAND lifeboat put out to the rescue of the crew. (1)(2) `The next month [November 1803] brought another drama. The collier BEE, of North Shields, under the command of Captain John Houston, left her home port with a cargo of coals, but was driven back by a strong south-easterly gale. As she attempted to re-enter the Tyne she tried to ride over the Bar but struck the sand among the breakers. The BEE was then swept onto the rocks at the Spanish Battery. The vessel was now in danger of being smashed to pieces by the huge waves which pounded her. The NORTHUMBERLAND lifeboat was launched, manned by a crew of South Shields pilots, who managed to manoeuvre their craft with great skill among the rocks and awesome waves. The crew of six, including the master who was injured, were all rescued. "Of all the daring attempts made with this boat, this was certainly the most hazardous", commented the Newcastle Courant. "Hundreds of spectators witnessed the scene and were greatly surprised by the boat scarcely shipping any water." (3) `Newcastle, Saturday, November 26, 1803...On Monday the brig BEE, Captain Houston, sailed from Shields, but on Tuesday was drove back, and on attempting to take the harbour, was dashed among the rocks near the Spanish Battery, the sea, at the same time, making a fair passage over her. The crew, consisting of the master and six seamen, with boys, took refuge in the shrouds. No sooner was their eminent [sic] danger discovered, than the pilots and others immediately repaired to the NORTHUMBERLAND life-boat. From the great apparent danger of the boat reaching the vessel, being surrounded with rocks, and the sea running mountains high, Mr Greathead, the inventor and builder of it, volunteered his service to go in it, which inspired the men with confidence, when they bravely pushed from the shore, amongst the acclamations and prayers of a surrounding multitude, which covered the beach; and in less than an hour, the invaluable boat returned with the ship's crew in perfect safety.' (4) `Newcastle, November 26...Monday the brigantine BEE, John Housten, master, coming from sea, in a gale of wind at SE, coal-loaded, in taking Tynemouth Bar at the last quarter ebb, struck among the breakers, and was driven upon the rocks near the Spanish Battery. The sea being tremendously high, and dashing over the vessel, which was in danger of going to pieces, the NORTHUMBERLAND life-boat was launched and manned with South Shields pilots, who, managing skilfully among the dangerous rocks and broken waters, reached the vessel, and brought the crew, six in number, safe to land; the master much lamed, and almost perished. Of all the daring attempts made with this boat, this was certainly the most hazardous...The BEE had not sailed from Shields many hours before she was driven back.' (5) Master: J Houston (1)(2); John Houston (3); Houston (4); John Housten (5) Crew: 6 (3)(5); 7 + boys (4)




United Kingdom shipwreck index [pre publication typescript], Richard and Bridget Larn 1997 Shipwreck index of the British Isles, volume 3. The east coast of England : Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, County Durham, Northumberland Section 6, County Durham (CF), Dick Keys and Ken Smith 1998 Black Diamonds by Sea: North-East Sailing Colliers 1780-1880 Page(s)24, Newcastle Advertiser 26-NOV-1803, No.789 Page(s)4, Newcastle Courant 26-NOV-1803, No.6633 Page(s)4, National Monuments Record (1031968)

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