Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jersey – Ship Building

During the second half of the 12th century the Channel Islands grew in importance as a stopping off point for travellers between the Plantagenet possessions in England and Aquitaine. As trade increased the islands would have been used by all sorts of merchant shipping. It was during this time that ships in northern waters began to adopt the stern hung rudder, and the old fashioned steering board gradually disappeared. Ships continued to be clinker-built, that is with overlapping planks, as opposed to the more Mediterranean influenced carvel-built tradition of end-on-end planking. It is also about the end of the 12th century that the compass made its appearance although most mariners still followed the old practices of observation. The ships still tended to stay within sight of land which meant that most shipping between England and Gascony would have passed within sight of the Channel Islands and many would have stopped off especially in St Peter Port with its sheltered, deepwater anchorage.
The miniature sheet shows a few of the important ships that were constructed in Jersey. Merja sent me this MS.

Percy Douglas, a three-masted ship named after Major General Sir Robert Percy Douglas, then Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. Although the Percy Douglas was built in Beaumont, Jersey by Edward Allen, it was registered in Liverpool to Thomas Hayley to whom the ship was awarded when Edward Allen went bankrupt. Registered as 781 tons and launched on 8 August 1861, the Percy Douglas worked the China routes until 14 December 1871 when it was finally wrecked after running aground off Rangoon, India.
Gemini, a three-masted barque built by Daniel Le Vesconte of First Tower for Messrs. Deslandes and Pallot. The Gemini was registered as 430 tons and launched on 7 May 1864, making voyages to China, South America, the West Indies and New York. Records indicate that the crew was paid 2.5 pounds per month and the mate received no less than 5 pounds. She was eventually broken up in Singapore in 1880 after being declared unseaworthy. However, some experts believe that after a name change, it sailed for many more years.
Tickler. This two masted schooner was built in Jersey in 1858 for the Le Boutilier Company. The Tickler with a weight of 93 tons, measured 93 feet long, had a beam of 19 feet and drew some 10 feet of water. She plied the trade routes of northern Europe and the Mediterranean, with occasional voyages to Newfoundland. After ten years in service, the Tickler was mortgaged with the Jersey Joint Stock Bank and was subsequently sold to Charles Robin and Company. Some three years later Robin and Company, a principal ship owning company on the island took control of the Tickler. Because of financial difficulties the schooner, along with other vessels, was sold to France in 1888. She was last mentioned in the Lloyd’s List in 1864.
The Hebe was built by Daniel Le Vesconte of First Tower and owned by the Le Boutilier Company. This brig, launched in January 1861, weighed 236 tons, measured 119 feet long with a beam of 24 feet and had a draft of 13 feet. She plied her trade on the North Sea and the North Atlantic. She was also used to ferry emigrant workers from Europe to Canada. She was wrecked in October 1887 on Bryon Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. And by the way, Hebe was the daughter of Hera and Zeus and the sister of Ares and Eleithyia. She is the goddess of youthful beauty and the cupbearer of the Olympus, later to be replaced by Ganymedes. She married Herakles after he won immortality.