Dryad 1891



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The wreck of the Dryad lays close to the northern face of Start point in South Devon. She was a fully rigged iron barque of 1069 tons and had been built in 1874 by T.Royden & Sons (1818 - 1893) in Liverpool and given the number 164. This was a fairly large ship at over 203 ft long by 35 ft wide. Her first voyage in December 1874 was a short run from Liverpool to Newport in order to correct any faults and from there she went on to Talcahuano in Chile. Many voyages were made from U.K. ports to San Francisco, Calcutta, Sydney and New York. She was on her way to Valparaiso from the Tyne with a cargo of coal when she encountered a blizzard in 1891. Captain William Thomas and the other twenty people on board were all drowned of frozen. The lighthouse keepers at Stat Point initially saw ships lights but when the went of to the cliffs edge at Nestley Point they could not see anything due to the blizzard. By morning all had perished (frozen) except for one of the crew clinging to the rocks and he did not survive long. A inquest was held in the "London Inn" Hallsands but only two of the eight bodies recovered could be identified. The captain had been warned by the Tyne pilot, who disembarked at Beachy Head, that the compass was not reading accurately and this may well have contributed to the wrecking.

The body of one of the crew , William Irvine , who was a sailmaker was buried in Stokenham church near the site of the wrecking. His grave is shown below. The captain's body was never recovered and his wife is buried in her home Parish of Llanrhian, Pembrokeshire, west Wales. The Captain is remembered on her tombstone.

Detailed  information about her life can be found in Henry Alexander's book. Contributers to the book include his great grandson Alun Thomas.