HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


HER Number:MDV67981
Name:SS Kingswear Castle, Hulk, in Fleet Mill Creek, Berry Pomeroy

Summary

Hulk of the SS Kingswear Castle is visible as a structure on aerial photographs of 1946 onwards and digital images derived from aerial photographs collected during 1999 and 2006 at Fleet Mill Creek. She was built in 1904 and retired in 1924.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 828 582
Map Sheet:SX85NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBerry Pomeroy
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishBERRY POMEROY

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85NW/146
  • Tide Project: 11/09/2020

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HULK (XX - 1901 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FP 1165-66 10-DEC-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351061.

The SS Kingswear Castle remains largely complete and intact.

Meridian Airmaps Limited, 1976, MAL/76019 V, MAL/76019 V 179-80 19-APR-1976 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351209.

The wheelhouse structure of the vessel has been removed, although the internal structures remain sound.

Ordnance Survey, 1986, OS/86246, OS/86246 V 976-77 15-OCT-1986 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352106.

The hulk remains intact, although partly infilled with mud.

Ashton, A., et al, 2000, River Dart Case Study Area Survey - University of Plymouth Archaeology Module, 10-11 (Un-published). SDV337705.

SS Kingswear Castle. Hulk on the muddy banks of Fleet Mill Creek. She was built by Cox and Co. of Falmouth in June 1904 and run by the River Dart Steamboat company for twenty years, being finally retired in 1924.

Risdon, J, 2004, The River Dart: An Illustrated Exploration of the Dart Estuary (Article in Monograph). SDV363826.

Extract from book with information on SS Kingswear Castle. Taken out of service during the First Word War and converted into a quarantine hospital ship based at Dartmouth. Her final work done she was towed up to Fleet Mill and there burnt out as a safety precaution and now provides accommodation for wildlife.

Next Perspectives, 2006, Pan Government Agreement, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX8258 01-JUN-2006 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351459.

The hulk remains largely complete, although infilled with mud.

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2013-2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV351146.

The hulk of the SS Kingswear Castle of early 20th century date is visible as a structure on aerial photographs of 1946 onwards and digital images derived from aerial photographs collected during 1999 and 2006 at Fleet Mill Creek. The hulk measures approximately 33m in length and 5.8m in width and remains in a stationary position positioned on the southeastern side of the weir at Fleet Mill Quay. The hulk of the vessel is largely complete on aerial photographs of 1946 and still remains largely intact by 1976, although only the hulk of the vessel remains visible on digital images derived from aerial photographs of 2006.

Maritime Archaeology Trust, 2018, Maritime Archaeology Trust: Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War (Website). SDV363802.

Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War is a Heritage Lottery Funded project dedicated to raising the profile of a currently under -represented aspect of the First World War. While attention is often focused on the Western Front and major naval battles like Jutland, historic remains from the war lie, largely forgotten, in and around our seas, rivers and estuaries.

Kingswear Castle (Figure 41) was chosen as one of the Forgotten Wrecks case study sites because it was a steam powered paddle ship, its use for a short period as a hospital isolation venue, the re-use of its engine and as the archaeological remains are present on the River Dart where it was used for all its career.

Launched on 23 June 1904, trialled on 2 August, registered at Dartmouth on 8 August, and delivered to Dartmouth on a 7.5-hour voyage from Falmouth on 14 August 1904, the Kingswear Castle (Official Number: 117405) was built by Cox & Co of Falmouth. The ship was a steel passenger paddle steamer.

The ship had two large saloons, the main one fitted with mahogany and richly upholstered. The forward saloon was equipped with a spacious refreshment bar including hot water appliances. Aft, there was a ladies’ cabin, and the after-well had a shelter deck. The vessel reportedly had accommodation for about 400 people.

During the First World War, the Kingswear Castle was not requisitioned and continued its commercial voyages up and down the River Dart, although the frequency reduced.

Fter the way voyages up and down the Dart continued. However, the end of its service was nearing as the replacement Kingswear Castle was reported in January 1924 to be well in hand and expected to be in service from Spring. This was at a time when prospects in the Dartmouth shipbuilding industry had much improved with the anticipated arrival in April 1914 of a floating dock capable of taking vessels of 2,500 tons.

The original Kingswear Castle was taken out of service, and after its engine had been removed for re-use in the slightly longer successor (also calledKingswear Castle), it was moored in Dartmouth harbour as a hospital isolation ship. By May 1927, this use had terminated, arrangements having been made for treating patients on shore – cases of infectious disease would be sent to Paignton Isolation Hospital and smallpox cases would be dealt with at Upton Pines. This was against a background of the medical officer for the port of Dartmouth, Dr J.H. Harris, having reported that in the foregoing year, 557 steamships and sailing vessels from around the world calling at Dartmouth had been visited, without finding any cases of infectious diseases.

The original Kingswear Castle was towed to its final resting place and left to rot as a hulk, to be seen on the East bank of the Dart and pointed out by commentators on the passing pleasure vessels.

The Kingswear Castle is a rare survival of a paddle steamer used in shallow rivers from this period. This type of propulsion was not common and very few examples of paddle steamers survive in the UK. Within the Forgotten Wrecks project area there are only four other vessels recorded as paddle steamers which were lost during the war. Three of these were Admiralty mine sweepers (HMS Kempton, HMS Redcar and HMS Ludlow), the other was the Empress Queen which had been requisitioned as a troop ship. All of these vessels were much larger than Kingswear Castle being at least twice its length.

The Kingswear Castle also has particular significance to the local area of the River Dart as it spent its entire career working on the river and its successor with the original engines transferred from the hulkis still a popular attraction there.

Bettinson, G., 2020, Fever Hulks Present on the Dart Estuary: Citizan Blog, South Devon Rivers Discovery Project (Website). SDV363822.

Kingswear Castle is a vessel largely famous for its time in the River Dart Steamboat Company ferrying people around the Dart estuary and beyond from 1904 – 1923. Its time as a fever hulk, once stripped of its engines is not as widely known.

The Kingswear Castle was purchased in December 1923 to replace the Mayfly after being stripped of its engines for its laters succesor of the same name (currently afloat).

Its time as the replacement for the Mayfly was short lived. In June 1926 an inspector for the Ministry of Health reiterated that the Ministry thought the use of hospital ships and isolation hospitals to be out of date and unnecessary. Following a series of back and forth over financial issues between the Ministry and the Port Sanitary Authority the Kingswear Castle was put up for sale in January 1927.

It was towed to its current position on the east bank of the Dart where it has lain ever since now overgrown but still obvious as a paddle steamer.

South Devon AONB Unit, 2020, Ground shot of SS Kingswear Castle Hulk, Fleet Mill Creek, Berry Pomeroy (Ground Photograph). SDV363824.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV337705Un-published: Ashton, A., et al. 2000. River Dart Case Study Area Survey - University of Plymouth Archaeology Module. University of Plymouth: Nautical Archaeology. A4 Stapled + Digital. 10-11.
SDV351061Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1890 FP 1165-66 10-DEC-1946.
SDV351146Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2013-2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV351209Aerial Photograph: Meridian Airmaps Limited. 1976. MAL/76019 V. Meridian Airmaps Limited Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). MAL/76019 V 179-80 19-APR-1976.
SDV351459Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2006. Pan Government Agreement. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX8258 01-JUN-2006. [Mapped feature: #98762 ]
SDV352106Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1986. OS/86246. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/86246 V 976-77 15-OCT-1986.
SDV363802Website: Maritime Archaeology Trust. 2018. Maritime Archaeology Trust: Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War. https://forgottenwrecks.maritimearchaeologytrust.org/. Website.
SDV363826Article in Monograph: Risdon, J. 2004. The River Dart: An Illustrated Exploration of the Dart Estuary. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6127 - Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme (NMP) for South-West England - South Coast Devon (Ref: ACD618)

Date Last Edited:Sep 17 2020 11:18AM