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Maritime History

Tops'l Schooner My main interest in maritime history is with the small port of Charlestown in Cornwall where my ancestors built and sailed schooners and other small sailing vessels for the china clay trade based at nearby St.Austell. The middle years of the 19th century saw a great increase in bureaucracy associated with all aspects of merchant shipping and much of the resulting paper mountain still exists. By researching this material I have been able to discover some fascinating details about the career of my gg-grandfather Henry Doidge Rundle who was master of several Charlestown trading vessels during that period.

At the same time, the Luke family had a shipbuilding yard and other businesses at Charlestown. I am researching the history of their ships, which you can read in the Luke of Charlestown page.

While researching my Charlestown ancestors I have built up a database of some 70 ships , cross referenced with some 600 surnames of people associated with them.

You can get a good idea of conditions aboard ship in the 1840's if you read the Emigrant Ship page.

The book "Smuggling Days and Smuggling Ways" published in 1892 has copious references to people, places and ships connected with smuggling in the 18th and 19th centuries, but has no index. I have compiled an index which is in my Smugglers Index pages. If you find any references that are of interest, I would be happy to look up the details.

If you are looking for details of a shipwreck but do not know the exact date, this Storm List may indicate which newspapers or copies of Lloyd's List could be worth searching.

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