Fleet of R.Thomas & Co of Criccieth and Liverpool

Information from Aled Eames's book "Ventures in Sail" (and other publications), A.Villiers, Basil Lubbock, C.Woolard, J.I.Davies Public Record Office, NMM, University of St Johns Nfld, Gwynedd Archives etc.

Robert Thomas was a schoolteacher from Nefyn.He made his first investments in the local ships in the 1870s. Soon afterwards, he moved to Criccieth. The next mention of him is as "commercial traveller" of 1, Marine Terrace.The registered office was at 5, Bryntirion Terraceand later at 49, High Street, Criccieth (in 1899 he moved his office to 26, Chapel Street, Liverpool).

The shares in the ships were taken up by people from all over NW Wales. The late Aled Eames has studied the North Wales ships and owners in depth and lists several of these shareholders. He comments on the number of schoolmasters and school inspectors who invested in R.Thomas's ships. There were also a few from Criccieth amongst them the family of David Lloyd George, the future prime minister.

The company paperwork for these one ship companies were often drawn up by the young solicitor/MP. No historian seems to have noticed the contradiction that DLG had money in several of the big square riggers; the very ones that made good money for their shareholders, carrying government goods to the Cape during the Boer War - the very war he vehemently condemmed!

R. Thomas, who lived at "Cardigan House", and his family owned several shares in all the ships and bought any more as they came up for sale. After his death his son carried on for a short while but they had failed to change over to steam and so faded away with the big square riggers.



W.S. = Wooden Ship W.Bk= Wooden Barque, I.Bk= Iron Barque, St Bk = Steel Barque, I.S. Iron Ship, St S = SteelShip

Name: Tons Type Built Where O.N. Bought Lost or Sold Notes
Acorn 374 W.Bk 1868 Sunderland 58133 1878   Lost off Cape Horn
Eastern Queen 454 W.Bk 1864 Southwick 49620 1879 1888 Lost 1888 Hull - Natal
Elizabeths 373 W.Bk 1870 Sunderland 62571 1881 1881 Abandoned March 1881
Gwrtheyrn Castle 778 I.Bk 1876 Sunderland 70315 1881 1907 Sold 1907. 1922 Hulk at Sydney
Nenuphar 392 W.Bk 1870 Sunderland 62607 1881 1891 Sold to Norway 1891
Ednyfed 1081 I.Bk 1882 Sunderland 87026 1882 1908 Sold Norway 1908
Queen 383 W.Bk 1868 Sunderland 62471 1882 1891 Sunk in collision 1891
Maelgwyn 1235 I.Bk 1884 Sunderland 89625 1884 1907 Abandoned 1907.Lord Howe Is
Cadwgan 1264 St.Bk 1885 Sunderland 91866 1885 1911 Sold 1911 
Western Monarch 1315 I.S 1875 Barrow 73584 1888 1899 Sold 1899
Criccieth Castle 1877 I.S 1887 Workington 79127 1889 1912 Last Cape Horn, July 1912
Penrhyn Castle 1349 St.Bk 1890 Bristol 98072 1890 1915 Missing 1915
Bianca 1396 I.S 1862 Liverpool 45395 1892 1899 Abandoned Staten Is 1899
Powys Castle 1591 St.Bk 1892 Bristol 99045 1892 1903 Wrecked on Staten Is
Conway Castle 1591 St.Bk 1893 Sunderland 101959 1893 1915 Sunk by the DRESDEN 1915
Eivion 1133 I.Bk 1879 Sunderland 80229 1894 1904 Lost by fire 1904
Gwynedd 1053 I.Bk 1877 Sunderland 74873 1894 1899 Sold Norway 1899
Queen of Cambria 1865 I.Bk 1876 Sunderland 74867 1896 1906 Wrecked 1906
Deudraeth Castle 1824 I.Bk 1886 Belfast 93692 1898 1905 Lost Cape Horn 1905
Gwydr Castle 1512 St.Bk 1892 Dundee 102113 1898 1918 Ex Newfield
Harlech Castle 1802 St.S 1895 Port Glasgow 102568 1900 1905 Total loss Chile 1905
Rhud(d)lan Castle 2048 I.S. 1883 Port Glasgow 87834 1900 1908 Abandoned 1908
Neotsfield 1820 I.S 188? 93623 1902 1917 Torpedoed off Taragona. Newport to BA. 28/6/17
Dolbadarn Castle 1989 St.Bk 1897 Port Glasgow   1905 1917 Sold 1917
Marathon 1998 St.S 1893 Greenock 102088 1903 1910 Renamed Denbigh Castle
Islamount 1620 St.Bk 1896 Greenock   1905 1919 Sold 1919...Still afloat**
Milverton 2215 I.S. 1886 Southampton 93673 1908 1916 Sold 1916
Belford 1905 St.S 1894 Dumbarton 104589 1909 1917 Sunk by U Boat 1917
Wray Castle 1937 St.S 1889 Workington 93850 1915 1917 Sold 1917
Glenpark 1799 St.Bk 1897 Port Glasgow   ? 1901 Wrecked Spencer Gulf. All saved
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