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Map ReferenceSS48NW
Grid ReferenceSS4109588699
Unitary (Local) AuthoritySwansea
Old CountyGlamorgan
Type Of SiteWRECK
PeriodPost Medieval
The remaining timbers of the barque have become buried in the sand of Rhossili Beach, close to the Warren, and can be seen at low tide. This may be the unknown vessel reported in other sources (see NPRN 240848).

Event and Historical Information:
The wooden barque HELVETIA was built in 1855 and registered at the port of Bremerhaven. The barque was owned at time of loss by L Jacobsen, Horten, Norway, and was under the command of captain E Svendsen. The HELVETIA was returning from Campbeltown, New Brunswick, with a cargo of timber, when it was caught in a gale off the Mumbles Head on 1 November 1887. Before the ship's request for a Swansea pilot to come onboard to assist the crew navigate the barque into Swansea harbour, the southeasterly gale grew worse. The HELVETIA was blown down channel to run aground on the Helwick Sandbank. The barque was then lifted across the sandbank by the heavy seas and to come to rest in Rhossili Bay where an anchor was dropped. The Rhossili lifesaving company fired a rocket onboard, which enabled her Master to get ashore and explain his position. He refused to abandon ship, since he did not wish local fishermen to claim the HELVETIA as a derelict. However, the wind then swung into the west, and the HELVETIA commenced to drag its anchor. The remainder of the crew were all forced to come ashore. The next morning the HELVETIA was found on the beach, with the cargo of timber scattered over the sands. The timber was gathered and auctioned over the following weeks, with local timber merchants employing local boats and ships to remove the timber deals. A stranded wreck was reported at this location in December 1951 and has since become a local, much photographed landmark.

Sources include:
Larn and Larn shipwreck database 2002
Rees, P H, 1978, Gower Shipwrecks, p69-71
Report of RCAHMW fieldwork, December 2006
UK Hydrographic Office Wrecks and Obstructions Database. ? Crown Copyright and database rights. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office and the UK Hydrographic Office (

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, March 2011.