Written by S. Ablott
First Published


The Equity was a ketch rigged cargo vessel launched at Burton Stather in January 1871 for John Oliver of Stainforth, Yorkshire. From 1886 he is recorded at 7 Norwood Street, Hull. She was 69 foot long and 64 tons. Registered in the port of Hull she worked in the coastal trade. The skipper was J Oliver, possibly the owner or his son.

The Wreck

On the 18th of November 1893 there was a great storm in the North Sea. Shortly before 2pm that Saturday afternoon the Equity was spotted off the Holderness Coast about ¾ mile south of Withernsea. She was clearly in trouble, her sails hanging in tatters from the masts and driving helplessly southward just outside the line of breakers.

The Coastguard attended and fired a rocket line to assist. There were cheers from the crowd as the line fell across the ship. But as soon as an exhausted crewman picked it up a huge wave crashed over the vessel washing the line away.

Breeches Buoy being used in a rescue
Breeches Buoy being used in a rescue

A second rocket line was fired. This time it passed between the forestay and topmast and caught in the starboard shrouds. One of the crew climbed up to fetch the line and a hawser was hauled aboard and made fast to the main mast.

The breeches buoy was sent across and the first crewman, numbed by cold had great difficulty in securing himself in it. When he eventually got off he was hauled across to the cliff top. When landed he was too exhausted to even stand and had to be carried by those who were watching on the cliff.

The rest of the crew were safely hauled ashore and taken to the Alexandra Hotel where they were treated to dry clothes and warm food. The Equity however was a total wreck.


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

Vessel Details for Equity

Official Number:65213
Vessel Name:Equity
  • John Oliver of Stainforth
  • J Oliver
  • Hull
Notes:Register closed 1893.
Construction:Iron bolts. Damage repairs 76 and 79.
Trade:Hull Coastal trade.
Fate:Wrecked on the 18th of Nov 1893 on the Holderness coast in a great storm. The crew were save by rocket line.


  1. Lloyd's Register of Ships.
  2. The Mercantile Navy Lists.
  3. Hull Daily Mail - 20th November 1893

Last updated

© 2017 Burton upon Stather Heritage Group

© Background Photograph by Steve Smith.