The Schooner ‘William Maskill’

Written by S. Ablott
First Published
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The William Maskill was a 76 foot schooner built at Burton Stather and launched early in 1858. She belonged to William Holdsworth and William Maskill and was registered in the port of Goole. William Maskill was a ships carpenter, the son of a shoemaker from howden. William Holdsworth would captain the ship.

The Trade

She was described in the Lloyds Register as a Goole Coaster. Records show she visited ports mainly on the east and south of England. She carried various cargos such as coal, bricks, stone, oilcake and flour. From Goole she sailed north to Sunderland and Shields; and south to London and Portsmouth and Plymouth. She also crossed over to the continent, visiting ports such as Dunkirk and Ghent.


After 26 years of service the schooner was rebuilt in 1884 at Goole, after being retained as unseaworthy. After that she belonged to and was captained by John Fowler of Goole. In 1887 she was sold to John T Chester of New Field, Goole, owner until 1889.

Old Harry Rocks

In the March of 1889 the schooner was on a voyage from Jersey bound for Southampton. She had a cargo of 75 tons of gravel and 200 barrels of tar. On the 7th she was driven ashore by a gale, going aground on the shelf of Old Harry Rocks at Studland, near Swanage. The crew of four were all saved by the lifeboat Charlotte Mary in the last service launch of the first Swanage lifeboat. The vessel was feared to be a total wreck, however she was later refloated. The wreck was bought by Messrs Burt and Burt of Swanage. On Saturday the 16th they removed all of the cargo; on Sunday afternoon she was refloated and brought to Poole Quay.

The Hulk

The William Maskill then disappears from the MNL for a few years, reappearing in 1899, registered as a hulk at Cowes in the Isle of Wight. The owner is Marther Read of Town Quay, Cowes. Here she remains until 1916, when the register for the William Maskill is closed.

Vessel Details for William Maskill

Official Number:20470
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Vessel Name:William Maskill
  • William Holdsworth
  • Joseph Jackson of Goole 1867
  • Benjamin Hewitt of Goole 1875
  • Mather Read of Cowes 1884 1910
  • Holdsworth 1860
  • J Jackson 1870
  • John Fowler 1881
  • Torr
  • Brown 1886
  • Goole
  • Cowes
Notes:1873, retained as unseaworthy. Rebuilt 1884. In 1890 onward, converted to a hulk in Cowes. Register closed 1916.
Construction:Iron bolts, Carvel built, round stern.
Trade:Goole coaster.
Incidents:7th of March 1889, was stranded on Old Harry Ledge, Swanage in SSE gale. In her last service launch the lifeboat Charlotte Mary came alongside and rescued 4 men.

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