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HER Number:MDV46048
Name:HMS Montagu grounded on rocks off Shutter Point, Lundy

Summary

HMS Montagu, a naval vessel grounded on rocks off Shutter Point, Lundy in 1906.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 131 434
Map Sheet:SS14SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishLundy
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishLUNDY

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument 1440450: HMS Montagu

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SS14SW114
  • National Monuments Record: SS14SW151
  • National Monuments Record: SS14SW40
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS14SW/152
  • Pastscape: 1033924
  • Tide Project: 28/09/2020

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WRECK (Wrecked, Edwardian - 1906 AD to 1906 AD)

Full description

Navy-built trawlers, drifters, tugs and requisitioned ships from the fifteenth century to the present, 368 (Unknown). SDV764.

McBride, K., Queen Victoria's Battlecruises: The Canopus and Duncan Class Battleships, 440, 446 (Article in Serial). SDV748.

Laid down 23/11/1899, launched 5/3/1901, completed October 1903, wrecked 30/5/1906. Built by Devonport Dockyard with sister-ship Albemarle. These 2 were heavier than other ships of this class. B. VIII gun mounting. First to use stockless anchors.

NMR, SS14SW114 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV336712.

Salvage workers built path and steps down from island plateau.

NMR, SS14SW151 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV336713.

Wreck resulted in building of coastguard lookout and cottages.

NMR, citing 'The Loss of the Montagu' with no further reference, Untitled Source (Un-published). SDV750.

HMS Montagu was a steel British Duncan class battleship built 1901 at Devonport with a crew of 750 (Captain Adder) and armed with 4 x 12in guns, 12 x 6in guns, 6 x 3 pounders, 12 x 12 pounders, 2 x maxim machine guns, and 4 x 18in submerged torpedo tubes. Propelled by 2 x 4 cyl vert inverted trip expansion steam engines, 18,000 horepower, 24 boilers. She was patrolling the entrance of the Bristol Channel on the open side of Lundy and carrying out wireless trials with the Scilly Isles. Visibility was poor and the dense fog and a strong prevailing current drove her off course. Soundings were taken at frequent intervals but she grounded by her bows before any evasive action could be taken. The ship had struck rocks off Shutter Point on the flood and the swell had carried the stern onto the rocks with both propellers being carried away. She lay across the rocks' edge 15' from the cliffs and parallel to the island with a large hole in her starboard bottom, listing to starboard with water above her torpedo nets, in her engine room, boiler room and stokehold. Distress flares and the minute gun were fired, 2 officers rowed ashore and scaled the cliffs to the North Light. An exchange occurred between the keeper and themselves with the officers eventually believing they were on Lundy Island rather than at Hartland Point as at first thought. When news reached the mainland tugs and salvage vessels were sent to the scene along with the battleships Exmouth, Duncan, Dido and Alblemarle. The paymaster, sick men, ledgers and money were taken ashore to Millcombe House. The next day the crew of the Montagu were employed salving ships stores and transferring them to the Duncan and Dido with lifesaving equipment being rigged to the cliffs. It was hoped to flat her in July using a floating crane from Bermuda on the highest tides of the year but it soon became obvious this would not happen.

NMR, Untitled Source (National Monuments Record Database). SDV762.

June 1 1906 a lighter which had 4 x 6" guns and starboard nets aboard her passed over the Shutter Rocks but sank. The salvage steamers Ranger and Lnnet arrived on the scene.
June 3 1906 two main 6" guns were salvaged.
July 27 1906 the ship had shifted, bows 13' to starboard during the night with a further list to port. HMS Vengance arrived with a cargo of cork which was put on the main deck and in the holds that could not be pumped out.
August 4 1906 ship's stern sunk further.
August 5 1906 Admiralty abandoned plans to refloat her.
August 10 1906 all hands sent aboard to save the gear then abandoned.
August 13 1906 Court of Enquiry held on the loss of gear.
August 15 1906 Court Marshal (sic?) found Commanding Officer + Navigating Officer guilty of losing their ship through negligence.
August 20 1906 salvage operations taken over by Captain Young of the Liverpool Salvage Operation with the primary task of salvaging the 4 x 12" breech guns (Mark X Pattern costing 9044 pounds sterling each, length 40' and weighing 48 tons each).
September 1906 the 12" guns were recovered along with the foremost gun cradles and remains of starboard propeller (10 tons) and a quantity of small guns.
November 18 1906 hole blown in port side to remove machinery but this was only partially successful.
December 1906 severe gales did a lot of damage to the vessel.
January 28 1907 Montagu auctioned. The new owners "a syndicate of South Wales adventurers" constructed what is now known as Montagu Steps. Vast sections of armour plating, copper and brass were salved.
October 1907 heavy ground seas battered the wreck. Further salvage abandoned.
June 1908 the salvage steamer Zephyr fouled something on the seabed; divers reported it to be the second propeller. Dynamite was used to dislodge it and 13 tons were raised. It was landed at Ilfracombe and sent to Devonport for re-smelting.
April 18 1968 parts of the hull partially intact with evidence of previous salvage work; the top superstructure dries at low water. Ownership of the wreck could not be traced but Bristol Channel Divers have raised some interesting items.
May 2 1968 application to purchase the wreck but as rightful ownership cannot be established no purchase can be considered.
April 16 1992 dived on; she is well broken up but wreckage includes plates and shells in 9m. In parts, stands 3-4m high.

Untitled Source, 3526 (Article in Serial). SDV773.

Bouquet, M., 1967, Lundy Shipwrecks, 22-23 (Article in Monograph). SDV740.

HMR Montagu wrecked on shutter, 30/05/1906.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1973, 1156 (Cartographic). SDV767.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1974, 1164a (Cartographic). SDV768.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1974, 1164b (Cartographic). SDV769.

Larn, R., 1974, Devon Shipwrecks, 232-6 (Monograph). SDV741.

HMS Montagu, wrecked 29/05/1906. Duncan class battleship, launched at Devonport, 1901. 14,000 tons, 750 crew, 418ft by 75.5ft by 27.25ft. Armed with four 12 inch, twelve 6 inch, twelve 12-pounder, six 3-pounder guns, two machine guns and four torpedo tubes. Twin screws. Went ashore on Shutter Reef in fog. Had anchored off Lundy during fleet exercises. Six months of salvaging raised the ship's guns, condensers, pumps, some armour plating and much non-ferrous metal. Reduced by first winter gales to a heap of rusting plates, having been weakened by salvage work.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1978, Admiralty Chart, 2675 (Cartographic). SDV772.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1979, 1178 (Cartographic). SDV770.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1979, 1179 (Cartographic). SDV771.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1980, Admiralty Chart, 1121 (Cartographic). SDV765.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, 1980, Admiralty Chart, 1123 (Cartographic). SDV766.

Heath, J., 1991, Diving around Lundy, 4 (Article in Serial). SDV742.

In a small cove at Shutter Rock lies the wreck of HMS Montagu. Mostly flattened and covered in kelp. In c 12m of water and much dived. Under the armour plating ammunition can be seen, including shell heads for the 12 inch guns. The forward magazine must have been flooded soon after going aground as there are still boxes of small arms ammunition stacked in their original position.

Mcdonald, K., 1994, The Key to North Devon, 64-70 (Article in Serial). SDV757.

Robertson, P., 1994, Untitled Source, 66 (Article in Monograph). SDV745.

Lies N-S, close inshore at 51.09.71N, 04.40.61W on an undulating gully system of granite boulders overlying bedrock at 10-14m. Wreckage lies above + below kelp line and has approx 50-60% algal cover.

Robertson, P., 1995, Marine Archaeology and Lundy Marine Nature Reserve: An Assessment for English Nature and the Landmark Trust, 5, 11 (Report - non-specific). SDV349969.

Heavily salvaged over 6 month period resulting in removal of guns, condensers, pumps, armour plating amd much non-ferrous metal. Wreck has swiftly deteriorated to artefact scatter consisting mainly of metal frames + riveted armour plating with some gun mountings + 12" shells. Video footage + photos available.

Larn, R. + Larn, B., 1995, Shipwreck Index of the British Isles. Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset (Monograph). SDV763.

Heath, J., 1996, Blinded and Confused, 20-22 (Article in Serial). SDV747.

Heath details events leading to wrecking. Most of her double bottoms remain, embedded in the granite bottom along with some unsalvaged krupps steel armoured plates. Other details: photos.

Allen, R., 2011, The Wreck of the H.M.S. Montagu on Lundy, 11 (Article in Serial). SDV352274.

An account with photos of the wreck of the 1901 battleship H.M.S. Montagu close to Great Shutter Rock off Lundy on 30th May 1906. The wreck was later salvaged, including a number of 12 inch guns.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

HMS Montagu (ex-Montague) was a five-year old 14,000 ton battleship that stranded in shallow water off Shutter Point, Lundy Island, without loss of life, on 30 May 1906.

The Montagu is the only survivor of six Duncan class pre-Dreadnought battleships of the Royal Navy within north European waters.

The Montagu was launched in May 1901 and was built in direct response to large French, Russian and German ship-building programmes prior to the First World War. The six ships in the heavily-armed class proved to be superior in their balance of speed, firepower, and armour; they were the fastest battleships in the Royal Navy when completed.

In 2018 the Montagu was subject to an archaeological assessment which noted the presence of armour plate on the seabed. This confirmed that the recovery of the ship’s armour was incomplete when the salvage was abandoned. The main area of wreckage identified during the assessment covers an extensive area of about 3,330 square meters and consists of the wrecked remains of the ship, including double bottom steel sections, side armour and other loose plating, casemate sections (derived from the armoured room in the side of the ship, through which secondary armament would fire), a possible 12-inch shell hoist well (which is significantly larger than the hoists shown in the plans for the Duncan class) as well as a small number of machinery and pipe parts and other loose debris. Further survey is necessary but it can be stated that the current condition of the wreck is consistent with the salvage of the ship that took place in the early twentieth century coupled with the shallow and very high energy environment.

The strength of the battleship’s is enhanced by its direct functional relationship with the contemporary Montagu Steps; a terrestrial archaeological feature comprising the remains of a remarkable aerial ropewalk which once connected the cliff top to the Montagu’s foretop for easy access to the wreck coupled with a series of steps cut into the granite cliff during the salvage operations.

National Monument Record, 2014, Pastscape (Website). SDV355682.

HMS Montagu was a British Duncan class battleship patrolling the entrance of the Bristol Channel on the open side of Lundy and carrying out wireless trials with the Scilly Isles. Visibility was poor and the dense fog and a strong prevailing current drove the Montagu off course. Soundings were taken at frequent intervals but Lundy loomed with startling suddenness and she grounded by her bows before any evasive action could be taken. The ship had struck rocks off Shutter Point on the flood and the swell had carried the stern onto the rocks, with both propellers being carried away. She lay across the rock's edge, 15 feet from the cliffs and parallel to the island with a large hole in her starboard bottom, listing to starboard with water above her torpedo nets, in her engine room, boiler room and stokehold. Distress flares and the minute gun were fired, two officers, Lieutenant S P B Russel together with a junior officer, rowed ashore and scaled the cliffs to the North Light. An exchange occurred between the keeper and themselves with the officers eventually believing they were on Lundy Island rather than at Hartland Point as at first thought.

Unattributed, 2018, HMS Montagu Survey, 5 (Article in Serial). SDV361794.

HMS Montagu, launched in March 1901, was grounded on rocks in thick fog off Shutter Point, Lundy on 30th May 1906. She could not be saved and was broken up and salvaged from where she lay. An underwater survey was carried out in July 2018 in order to investigate the wreck for future protection.

Historic England, 2018, Wounded Veterans Dive the Wreck of HMS Montagu (Website). SDV363857.

HMS Montagu was launched in March 1901. On 30 May 1906 the battleship grounded on rocks around the Isle of Lundy at Shutter Point in thick fog, due to a navigational error while undertaking secret radio communication trials. She could not be saved and had to be broken up and salvaged where she lay.

The dives have been led by Wessex Archaeology in collaboration with Help for Heroes, a charity which helps British service personnel and veterans wounded in the line of duty, and their families. The underwater survey work will provide the archaeological and historical data that Historic England will use to decide whether this site should be recommended for protection by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The dives form part of Operation Nightingale, a ground-breaking military initiative, controlled by the Ministry of Defence to aid the recovery of wounded, injured and sick servicemen by getting them involved in archaeological investigations

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336712National Monuments Record Database: NMR. SS14SW114. NMR Index. Digital.
SDV336713National Monuments Record Database: NMR. SS14SW151. NMR Index. Digital.
SDV349969Report - non-specific: Robertson, P.. 1995. Marine Archaeology and Lundy Marine Nature Reserve: An Assessment for English Nature and the Landmark Trust. A4 Grip Bound + Digital. 5, 11.
SDV352274Article in Serial: Allen, R.. 2011. The Wreck of the H.M.S. Montagu on Lundy. North Devon Heritage. 22. A5 Paperback. 11.
SDV355682Website: National Monument Record. 2014. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website.
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV361794Article in Serial: Unattributed. 2018. HMS Montagu Survey. Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter. 131. A4 Stapled. 5.
SDV363857Website: Historic England. 2018. Wounded Veterans Dive the Wreck of HMS Montagu. https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/wounded-veterans-dive-the-wreck-of-hms-montagu. Digital.
SDV740Article in Monograph: Bouquet, M.. 1967. Lundy Shipwrecks. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 18. Unknown. 22-23.
SDV741Monograph: Larn, R.. 1974. Devon Shipwrecks. Devon Shipwrecks. Digital + hardback. 232-6.
SDV742Article in Serial: Heath, J.. 1991. Diving around Lundy. Lundy Field Society Newsletter. 21. 4.
SDV745Article in Monograph: Robertson, P.. 1994. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 45. 66.
SDV747Article in Serial: Heath, J.. 1996. Blinded and Confused. Sport Diver. 20-22.
SDV748Article in Serial: McBride, K.. Queen Victoria's Battlecruises: The Canopus and Duncan Class Battleships. Mariner's Mirror. 80.4. 440, 446.
SDV750Un-published: NMR, citing 'The Loss of the Montagu' with no further reference.
SDV757Article in Serial: Mcdonald, K.. 1994. The Key to North Devon. Diver. Unknown. 64-70.
SDV762National Monuments Record Database: NMR. SS14SW40. Digital.
SDV763Monograph: Larn, R. + Larn, B.. 1995. Shipwreck Index of the British Isles. Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset. Shipwreck Index of the British Isles. Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset. Hardback Volume.
SDV764Unknown: Navy-built trawlers, drifters, tugs and requisitioned ships from the fifteenth century to the present. Ships of the Royal Navy. 2. 368.
SDV765Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1980. Admiralty Chart, 1121. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV766Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1980. Admiralty Chart, 1123. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV767Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1973. 1156. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV768Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1974. 1164a. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV769Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1974. 1164b. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV770Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1979. 1178. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV771Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1979. 1179. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV772Cartographic: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 1978. Admiralty Chart, 2675. Admiralty Chart. Unknown.
SDV773Article in Serial: Country Life. 136. 3526.

Associated Monuments

MDV45998Parent of: Montagu Steps, Lundy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Sep 29 2020 10:38AM