Product images of Friar Tuck'
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White and gilded three-quarter length figurehead from the Liverpool tea clipper 'Friar Tuck' ,1856. It represents the fictitious friar from the English legend of Robin Hood, with a crucifix on a staff in his half-extended right hand. The homeward bound ship was one of over 500 sailing vessels sheltering from strong winds in St Mary's Roads, Scilly, at the end of November 1863. Six did not survive the hurricane that followed, 'Friar Tuck' among them. On 2 December she parted her cables and as she went onto Newford Island, in St Mary's Pool, Captain Fordyce ordered her masts to be cut away. A rocket line from the shore saved her crew of 22. Three small shiploads of tea, sails, spars and some stores were taken to London but the Islanders also managed to 'acquire' large quantities of tea, despite the efforts of coastguards and preventive men. A lasting monument to the 'Friar Tuck', apart from her figurehead, are the Chinese geese on Tresco which are descendants of those which came ashore from the wreck. The ship had been a good investment for her owners with profits of â”œÃ²â”œâ•‘12,389 over six years. It was the prospect of such returns which induced owners to spend money on fine figureheads and other decoration for their vessels.
'Friar Tuck' details at time of wreck. Wooden ship of 662 tons, registered in Liverpool. Built by A. Hall & Co, Aberdeen, 1856. Dimensions (in feet and tenths): 193.2 x 31.0 x 17.0.
Owner: J. Beazley, Liverpool. Registered voyage: Foochow to London. Cargo: tea.
Master at loss: Fordyce. Wrecked: 2 December 1863.
- Image reference: D1231-14
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Valhalla Collection