Tamar barge

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Shamrock berthed at Cotehele Quay, on the Cotehele Estate in Cornwall

A Tamar barge is a masted sailing vessel, designed for carrying cargo along the River Tamar[1] and the south coast of Cornwall.

The Tamar barge can be either a single or double masted vessel. It can carry up to 32 tonnes. Tamar barges were manufactured in the 19th century in the Tamar Valley by boatbuilders such as James Goss of Calstock, Frederick Hawke of Stonehouse, Plymouth and David Banks of Queen Anne’s Battery in Sutton Harbour, Plymouth.[citation needed]

There are only two surviving Tamar barges, both have been almost completely restored. Normally one, Shamrock, is open to visitors at Cotehele Quay[2] and the other, Lynher, is privately owned and moored at Cremyll.

Shamrock is currently undergoing extensive repairs due to lack of maintenance which had led to mould and rot spreading throughout the timbers. The National Trust has launched a fundraising campaign to pay for the repairs to the historic vessel.[3]

List of known Tamar Barges[edit]

Vessel Image Length Sail Plan Builder Date Place Fate Ref
Bertie 46.2 ft Sloop David Banks and Co. 1883 Queen Annes Battery,
Abandoned in 1928 at Hooe Lake [4]
Commerce Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [5]
Edith Tamar Barge Edith.png Unknown Cutter Unknown c1890 Unknown Unknown [5]
Edwin 55.1 ft Unknown Richard Hill & Sons 1880 Cattedown,
Abandoned in 1924, partly broken up, at Pomphlett Creek [6]
Elizabeth Jane Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Abandoned at Antony Passage [7]
Flora May Tamar Barge Flora May.jpg 51.2 ft Cutter James Goss 1897 Calstock,
Operated between Danescombe Quay and Plymouth
Later abandoned
Gwendoline Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [9]
Kathleen Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [10]
Lillie Unknown Sloop Unknown 1899 Unknown Unknown [11]
Little Industry 40 ft Sloop Unknown c1880 Falmouth Unknown [12]
Lynher Lynher at Danescombe Quay.jpg 51.2 ft Cutter James Goss 1896 Calstock,
Abandoned in the 1950’s at Poldrissick Quay
Restored in 1999 by Charlie Force
Currently Operational
Martin Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [5]
Mayblossom Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [9]
Myrtle Myrtle at Danescombe Quay.jpg 50 ft Sloop Robert May 1896 Danescombe Quay,
Bomded by the Luftwaffe during the Plymouth Blitz, sank in the Hamoaze, next to Devonport Naval Base. [14][9]
Pearl Unknown Unknown Unknown 1840 Unknown Abandoned at Hooe Lake [15]
Phoenix 51.9 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1900 Stonehouse,
Unknown [16]
Reaper Unknown Unknown Frederick Hawke c1900 Stonehouse,
Unknown [17]
Shamrock Cotehele Quay - geograph.org.uk - 978374.jpg 57.5 ft Ketch Frederick Hawke 1899 Stonehouse,
Abandoned in the 1960’s at Hooe Lake
Restored in 1975 by the National Trust
Currently a Floating Museum
Secret Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [9]
Sirdar Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [5]
Triumph 56.5 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1898 Stonehouse,
Used in WWII, later abandoned at Poldrissick Quay [19]

Surviving Tamar barges[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Calstock Online Parish Clerk River Tamar Travel
  2. ^ Shamrock at Cotehele
  3. ^ "Saving Shamrock". National Trust. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  4. ^ Tamar Barge Bertie
  5. ^ a b c d The Upper Tamar Valley a Century Ago (1982) R.T.Paige, page 40
  6. ^ Tamar Barge Edwin
  7. ^ Tamar Barge Elizabeth Jane
  8. ^ Tamar Barge Flora May
  9. ^ a b c d The Upper Tamar Valley a Century Ago (1982) R.T.Paige, page 44
  10. ^ Calstock Parish Archives
  11. ^ Tamar Barge Lillie
  12. ^ Tamar Barge Little Industry
  13. ^ Tamar Barge Lynher
  14. ^ Cotehele Quay Heritage Centre
  15. ^ Tamar Barge Pearl
  16. ^ Tamar Barge Phoenix
  17. ^ Tamar Barge Reaper
  18. ^ Tamar Barge Shamrock
  19. ^ Tamar Barge Triumph
  20. ^ National Historic Ships UK

Further reading[edit]

  • "Meet Shaune Blight" National Trust Magazine; summer 2019, p. 82 ("Shamrock, the last working ketch-rigged Tamar sailing barge to be built ... [he] is responsible for keeping the 120-year-old boat afloat")
  • "Lord John Roberts; Site Report" Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War (2018)

External links[edit]