The Schooner ‘Florence Muspratt’

Written by S. Ablott
First Published
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The schooner Florence Muspratt was launched at Burton Stather in July of 1872. The original owner was Alfred Dyson of Flint in Wales who registered the ship at Chester. Dyson was an Alderman of Flint and became the Mayor six times.

Who Was Florence?

We believe that the ship was named after Florence Fincham Nicholas (nee Muspratt). Apparently a pillar of the community in Flint. She was the only daughter of Richard Muspratt, Alderman and seventeen times Mayor of Flint, he was also founder of the Alkali trade in Flint and his name was given to the Muspratt Memorial School. Florence's two brothers, James Liebig and Sydney Knowles Muspratt were also Alderman and became Mayors of Flint.

Mr Richard Muspratt is the senior partner of the firm of Messrs Muspratt Brothers and Huntley, and a Justice of the Peace for the County. Mr Richard Muspratt's residence, Trelawny House, is situate in the very centre of the town. He has taken for many years the utmost interest in the Municipal Government of the Borough, and he is ably assisted in his efforts for the welfare of the Town by Mrs Muspratt, their sons and daughter; the latter, Miss Florence Muspratt, is always willing to promote any object having for its end the welfare of the town.

Historic Notices of the Borough
and County Town of Flint

On Wednesday the 10th of June 1896 Florence married Rev W L L Nicholas, the Rector of Flint. She was given away by eldest brother James, father Richard having died in August 1885. The wedding was a huge event for the town of Flint, involving the whole community.

She has lived in Flint nearly all her life, and of late years has taken a lively interest, and an active part in dispensing her charity and benevolence to those in need of sympathy or help. The name Muspratt seems to have a charm in it to the people of Flint, and Miss Muspratt has done nothing to break the spell, but, on the contrary, has always been a joy to her parents and an adornment to her home.

Rhyl Journal - 13th June 1896
The Marriage of The Rector of Flint
and Miss Florence Muspratt

The Schooner

The schooner that took Florence's name had less good fortune, she actually sank twice. The first time was on the 16th of May 1877. While on route from Runcorn to Scarborough with a cargo of salt, she struck rocks in the Sound of Islay. The ship went over and filled with water, but was later raised and taken to safety.

In November 1908 she was damaged again in collision with the 4300 ton steamer Drumlanrig. The Drumlanrig was having a bad day. She hit both Florence Muspratt and the Plymouth ketch Britannia while making a run for Dover after sustaining serious damage in collision with the New Zealand steam liner Tongariro in thick fog.

World War One

Type UC-II Submarines
A pair of Type UC-II Submarines

The Florence Muspratt was the second of two Stather ships to become the victim of German submarines in 1917 during World War One. The other was the Harriet Williams in February of that year.

In 1917 the schooner was travelling from St Malo to Newport in ballast. On the 5th of September, she was captured by UC-50 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Rudolf Seuffer, and sunk with gunfire, 10nm North of Sept Iles, in the English Channel.

There was just one fatality, 29 year old Swedish sailor August Leonard Johansson who drowned as a result of the attack. The Mate, born in Teda Parish in Sweden was the son of farm labourer Karl Johan Johansson and Kristina Johansson (nee Nilsson). He is commemorated at the Tower Hill Memorial in London.


Map showing the approximate location where the vessel was thought to have been lost, or the last known position.

Vessel Details for Florence Muspratt

Official Number:67961
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Vessel Name:Florence Muspratt
  • Alfred Dyson of Flint 1890
  • Harry Manley of Chester 1900 1917
  • J Coppack
  • John W Redd 1915
  • Chester
Notes:Named after Florence Fincham Nicholas nee Muspratt of Flint.
Trade:Hull coaster.
Incidents:16th of May 1877, struck rocks in the Sound of Islay and sank. Was later raised and recovered. November 1908, damaged in collision with the 4300 ton steamer Drumlanrig near Dover.
Fate:Capured by submarine and sunk by gunfire on the 5th of September 1917 off Sept Iles, one life lost.


  1. Lloyd's Register of Ships. - 1869 to 1899.
  2. Flint Town Council
  3. Historic Notices of the Borough and County Town of Flint
  4. Rhyl Journal - 13th June 1896
  5. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
  6. The Marlborough Express - 16th January 1909, National Library of New Zealand.
  7. - Ships hit during WWI.
  8. Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Last updated

© 2017 Burton upon Stather Heritage Group

Creative Commons. Background Photograph by Bruno Girin. Used with modifications under license.