The Brigantine ‘Sarah King’

Written by S. Ablott
First Published
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Sarah King was a brigantine of 123 tons built for Rawling & King in 1850. John Rawling, a master mariner from Burton, was John Wray's brother in law, having married his sister Alice. His partner Daniel King, another master mariner, in 1850 teamed up with Samuel Bullard to form Bullard, King & Co, owners of the Burton Stather, Silvery Wave and Verulam.

The Final Voyage

On the 25th of January 1873 she was on route from Cardiff to Kings Lynn with a cargo of coal. She had a new skipper, William Robert Smith of Kings Lynn, who was on his first night in command of the Sarah King, having previously captained the schooner Johns for Rawling & King.

It was a foggy night in the Bristol Channel with a fresh southerly breeze. At about 8:25pm off Morte Point, Devon (51°11'15"N. 4°13'54"W), she collided with the Hayle steam packet Bride which was heading for Bristol. As the vessel founderd Captain Smith apparently leaped across onto the Bride's rigging and demanded she launch her boat and save his crew. The ships boat was launched, but in their haste they forgot to insert the spiel (drain plug) and needed to bail it out before rescuing the crew. The Sarah King sank within five munutes, but fortunately the crew of four were taken on board by the steamer.

In 1871 I left the Ocean Wave (O.N. 975) and took command of the John (O.N. 171 - Bullard, King & Co.), followed by the Sarah King - a brigantine of 300 tons owned by Messers Bullard, King & Co. which was run down on my first night in command by a steamer off Morte Point in the Bristol Channel. All the crew were saved but their possessions and the ship were lost.

Captain William Robert Smith
Ships Master for Bullard, King & Co.

When the Bride arrived in Bristol, the crew were cared for by Captain Hutchins of the Sailors' Home and agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society. After being supplied with a good breakfast and dinner they were sent home by train.

Vessel Details for Sarah King

Official Number:107
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Vessel Name:Sarah King
  • Rawling and King
  • G B Wadsworth of Goole
  • Daniel King
  • W Carr 1859
  • William Robert Smith 1873
  • Wisbeach
  • London 1858
Construction:Iron Bolts. In 1858 was sheathed with zinc.
Trade:Hull coaster. London.
Fate:Lost on the 25th of Jan 1873, run down by steam packet Bride in the Bristol Chanel, all crew saved.

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Creative Commons. Background Photograph by anoldent. Used with modifications under license.