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Title:Teignmouth Museum Book
Originator:Teignmouth Museum and Historical Society
Summary:Evidence of a 16th century wreck was found 183m off Church Rocks, East Teignmouth, in 1975. Possibly Venetian. No part of the structure of the wrecked vessel has been found; nor, so far, has any documentary evidence of the wreck come to light in the records. However it is known that the wrecked vessel was not a part of the Spanish Armada. The water over the wreck site varies with the tide from 3.0-7.34 metres, in depth. In such shallow and consequently turbulent conditions nothing of the structure of the ship will remain except, possibly parts of the keel and bottom strakes should these have sunk into the sand soon after the foundering of the ship. All that can be expected is the survival of heavy objects, and this has been the case. Two anchors have been located and remain on the site, one with a fluke still embedded in the reef. Anchors changed little from the 16th to the 18th century and the ones now found are unlikely to help in identifying the vessel. There have been other objects located which have been reburied by moving sand. However some artefacts have been salvaged and deductions made from them give rise to speculation which support an interesting theory but which, as yet has little substantiation in fact and may be invalidated by fresh finds. The theory is that the wreck is of a Genoese or Florentine trading galley of about 1600. The evidence is that the wreck occurred sometime between 1550 and 1620 and was a medium draught vessel of Mediterranean origin, carrying few but very expensive guns of the lighter ship-smashing kind with additional armament of boarder repellers. The most likely class of vessel to be involved is a trading galley. At this time there were two types of merchant galley frequenting the channel the Venetian, Florentine and Genoese galleys and the Spanish galleys. But the coat of arms on the salvaged guns are not the Royal Arms of Spain, nor the Arms of the Republic of Venice which equipped its own merchant fleet and hired the vessels to the merchants, so the likeliest supposition at the moment is that the wreck is a Genoese or Florentine trading vessel.

Associated Monuments (1)

MDV9871Church Rocks Wreck (Monument)