Lady Agnes

Lady Agnes
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This Cornish built schooner (later converted to a ketch) was owned by Captain John Williams of Ralph Street, Borth y Gest, from 1904 to 1917. The article below was submitted by his grandaughter, Carole Spencer. She is unsure of the name of the publication and the date but it appears to be from the late 1940's. Carole is also interested in two other vessels owned or commanded by her family, the "IDEA" and the "KITTY". R.D.C

She was the last remaining locally owned sailing vessel. The LADY AGNES, rotted away near the terminal during the second war and was condemned. Her entry in the Caernarfon ship register for 31st December 1945 baldly states "closed". In June of 1946 the final load of slate, delivered by rail, left by sea from Porthmadog. Two months later the Ffestiniog Railway ceased commercial operations ( In his book "Porthmadog Ships" the late Aled Eames has statistics for export by sea up to 1948. Possibly these last loads were slates stored on the quayside or at Minffordd and brought by lorry)


Portmadoc Schooner's Last Voyage

Passes down the line of Ghost Ships of the past

One of the best and strongest of her class, the schooner "Lady Agnes", after sailing the Seven Seas for nearly 60 years, was towed by Capt. Jenkin Davies by motor boat from her resting place for 10 years at the Cei Newydd Wharf to her last resting place at "Station Bach" beach prior to being broken up.

The old ship seemed to reluctantly disengage herself from her moorings where she had silently gazed upon the creeping decay of the harbour itself, and although bedraggled and battered, she passed down the lines of the ghost ships that crowded the wharves of the once busy port with a dignity born of a tradition, the first class craftmanship ant the iron seamanship of the little ships.

Built in a little cove known as Saint Agnes in Cornwall in 1877, in her younger days, she operated on the Newfoundland run. When quite a new ship and bound for Liverpool with a cargo of codfish, she was caught in a north-easterly gale and crashed on the Puffin Island rocks. But her back was not broken and Captain Richard Hughes, of Amlwch, pinned his faith in her will to live.

After sailing for a few years in her, he went "into steam" and "Lady Agnes" passed into the possession of Capt. Richard Jones, of Aberystwyth. About 1904 she was bought by Captain John Williams, of Borth-y Gest, and remained in his possession until he disposed of her to Mr Couch, ship broker, of Saint Austell, Cornwall, in 1917. She retraced her course to Portmadoc in 1933, bought by the late Capt. Albert Bernson.

The final transaction in her history left her in possession of Mr White, of London, in 1940. He has since died and his widow is the owner of the little ship that flew ragged banners on her last little voyage to the ship-breaking yard.

The following is from "Porthmadog Ships". The information is included in Emrys Hughes's list which was compilled during the 1940s

Sr, later a K., 9ltr. Built 1877. She is the only vessel left in the Harbour at P.M. where she is moored at Rotten Tare, condemned (1944). She was later broken up at Station Bach.
L.R. 1884/5: Sr, 94t, 79.1/21.5/I0.1. Built St. Agnes, 1877,Hitchins.
C.R.S.: K, 90tg, 70tr, 79.1 / 21.5 / 10.1. Built St. Agnes, Cornwall, 1877. Owners: Joseph Williams, Idea House, Borth-y-gest, M.M., 36/64ths; John Williams of Borth-y-gest, M.M., 28/64ths. Sold 1917 to Channel Shipping Co., Cardiff.

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