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Shamrock berthed at Cotehele Quay, on the Cotehele Estate in Cornwall

A Tamar barge is a masted sailing vessel, designed for carrying cargo along the River Tamar[1] and the south coast of Cornwall.

The Tamar barge can be either a single or double masted vessel. It can carry up to 32 tonnes. Tamar barges were manufactured in the 19th century in the Tamar Valley by boatbuilders such as James Goss of Calstock, Frederick Hawke of Stonehouse, Plymouth and David Banks of Queen Anne’s Battery in Sutton Harbour, Plymouth.[citation needed]

There are only two surviving Tamar barges, both have been almost completely restored. Normally one, Shamrock, is open to visitors at Cotehele Quay[2] and the other, Lynher, is privately owned and moored at Cremyll.

Shamrock is currently undergoing extensive repairs due to lack of maintenance which had led to mould and rot spreading throughout the timbers. The National Trust has launched a fundraising campaign to pay for the repairs to the historic vessel.[3]

List of known Tamar Barges

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (October 2021)
Vessel Image Length Sail Plan Builder Date Place Fate Ref
Annie 55.7 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1899 Stonehouse,
Abandoned at Hooe Lake [4]
Bertie 46.2 ft Sloop David Banks and Co. 1883 Queen Annes Battery,
Abandoned in 1928 at Hooe Lake [5]
Commerce Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [6]
Edith 54.9 ft Cutter Unknown c1890 Unknown Unknown [6]
Edward & Sarah Unknown Cutter Edward Brooming Unknown Calstock,
Unknown [7][8]
Edwin 55.1 ft Unknown Richard Hill & Sons 1880 Cattedown,
Abandoned in 1924, partly broken up, at Pomphlett Creek [9]
Elizabeth Jane Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Abandoned at Antony Passage [10]
Flora May 50.5 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1897 Stonehouse,
Operated between Danescombe Quay and Plymouth
Later abandoned at Saltash
Gwendoline Unknown Unknown David Banks and Co. 1894 Queen Annes Battery,
Unknown [12]
Kate 54 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1885 Stonehouse,
Unknown [13]
Lillie 55 ft Sloop James Goss 1899 Calstock,
Unknown [14][8]
Industry 40 ft Sloop Edward Brooming 1880 Calstock,
Unknown [15]
Lynher 51.2 ft Cutter James Goss 1896 Calstock,
Abandoned in the 1950’s at Poldrissick Quay
Restored in 1999 by Charlie Force
Currently Operational
Martin Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [6]
Mayblossom Unknown Unknown Unknown 1894 Plymouth Unknown [12]
Myrtle 50 ft Sloop Robert May 1896 Danescombe Quay,
Bomded by the Luftwaffe during the Plymouth Blitz, sank in the Hamoaze, next to Devonport Naval Base. [17][12]
Pearl 52 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1896 Stonehouse,
Abandoned at Hooe Lake [18]
Phoenix 51.9 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1900 Stonehouse,
Unknown [19]
Reaper Unknown Unknown Frederick Hawke c1900 Stonehouse,
Unknown [20]
Shamrock 57.5 ft Ketch Frederick Hawke 1899 Stonehouse,
Abandoned in the 1960’s at Hooe Lake
Restored in 1975 by the National Trust
Currently a Floating Museum
Secret Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [12]
Sirdar Unknown Cutter Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown [6]
Triumph 56.5 ft Cutter Frederick Hawke 1898 Stonehouse,
Used in WWII, later abandoned at Poldrissick Quay [22]
Yealm Unknown Unknown Moore 1878 Sutton Pool,
Unknown [13]

Surviving Tamar barges

See also


  1. ^ Calstock Online Parish Clerk River Tamar Travel
  2. ^ Shamrock at Cotehele
  3. ^ "Saving Shamrock". National Trust. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  4. ^ Hooe Mystery Ships
  5. ^ Tamar Barge Bertie
  6. ^ a b c d The Upper Tamar Valley a Century Ago (1982) R.T.Paige, page 40
  7. ^ The Tamar Valley and Its People (1984) R.T.Paige
  8. ^ a b The Industrial Archaeology of the Tamar Valley (1967) F. Brooker, pages 42-44
  9. ^ Tamar Barge Edwin
  10. ^ Tamar Barge Elizabeth Jane
  11. ^ Tamar Barge Flora May
  12. ^ a b c d The Upper Tamar Valley a Century Ago (1982) R.T.Paige, page 44
  13. ^ a b Barges (1984) J.Leather, chapter 13 pages 167-176
  14. ^ Tamar Barge Lillie
  15. ^ Tamar Barge Little Industry
  16. ^ Tamar Barge Lynher
  17. ^ Cotehele Quay Heritage Centre
  18. ^ Tamar Barge Pearl
  19. ^ Tamar Barge Phoenix
  20. ^ Tamar Barge Reaper
  21. ^ Tamar Barge Shamrock
  22. ^ Tamar Barge Triumph
  23. ^ National Historic Ships UK

Further reading