Written by S. Ablott
First Published
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Squire was a brig of 168 tons and 104 feet in length which was launched at Burton Stather on the 25th of April 1864. She was the third of eight ships Wray built for James Fisher of Barrow in Furness.1 She is known to have traded between the UK and Portugal.2

Just four months after her launch, she was on voyage from Pomaron (Pomarão), on the South Spain/Portugal border, under Captain Griffiths when she had to come into Porto in a leaky condition on the 24th of August. She had to discharge her cargo and undergo repairs before continuing the voyage.2

Fisher's Ships

James Fisher house flag

James Fisher & Sons of Barrow in Furness once owned the largest fleet of coasters in Great Britain. Founded in 1847 for transporting haematite from the Cumbrian hills. The company still exists to this day.3 Eight of the ships were built by John Wray & Son at Burton Stather,1 they are as follows:-

James Fisher
James Fisher, Mayor of Barrow
  1. Emma - Schooner, August 1863
  2. Morecambe Belle - Schooner, March 1864
  3. Squire - Brig, April 1864
  4. Doctor - Brig, May 1864
  5. Agnes Porter - Schooner, November 1864
  6. Eleventh Lancashire - Brig, February 1865
  7. Sea King - Barque, September 1866
  8. Lizzy - Barque, January 1868

The Damaged Doctor

On the 4th of October 1869, in the Atlantic, during a voyage to Gibraltar, the crew of the squire came upon another Stather built brig belonging to Fisher, in a rather desperate state. The Doctor, on voyage from Philadelphia, bound for Plymouth, had been badly storm damaged, de-masted, the wheel, bulwarks and boat smashed away by the sea and she was making water. Her crew had been reduced to just four men, three being washed overboard by a wave and the captain being drowned in his cabin by water coming down a companion. Only the mate, the cook and two Portuguese sailors remained.

The Squire agreed to take the Doctor in tow to Plymouth. The next day they were in sight of the Scilly Light and met the brigantine Scottish Maid. The wind changed, meaning there was no prospect of reaching Plymouth. The tow was handed to the Scottish Maid, bound for Milford Haven and the Squire was able to continue to Gibraltar.4

Hurricane off Milford Haven

One year later in the October of 1870 the squire herself suffered storm damage in a hurricane off Milford Haven. On Monday the 24th she was laden with pig iron for Swansea, under Captain John Morgan, riding out the storm with two anchors down. The barque Jessie of New Brunswick was lying astern of her in ballast.

In spite of the two anchors, the storm was too strong and the anchors dragged. The Squire fouled the Jessie and both vessels drifted together, not getting clear of each other until some distance up the haven and having sustained considerable damage. The Jessie began to founder, but did not sink all the way down. Her decks must have been well sealed, trapping air inside. Her crew climbed the rigging and were rescued by boats from the shore; the Jessie left to drive onto the Pwllcrochan Flats. Meanwhile the Squire got some sail up and managed to get on the pontoon at Nayland. She had damage to her fore top mast, top gallant mast, stanchions, rails, bulwarks and covering boards.5

Loss of the Squire

On the 20th of October 1873, she was sailing from Santander to Newport under the command of Richard Vaughan of Llanrhystud. The ship was carrying seven crew, two passengers and 260 tons of pig iron. After crossing the Bay of Biscay and reaching the entrance to The English Channel, the vessel was found to be leaking. Ten miles North East of Ushant, the small island off the North West tip of France, she foundered and the captain abandoned the ship. All crew were saved and landed in Ushant.6

Vessel Details for Squire

Official Number:47797
Code Flags:VQDKCode flag - VictorCode flag - QuebecCode flag - DeltaCode flag - Kilo
Vessel Name:Squire
  • James Fisher of Barrow
  • J Griffiths
  • John Morgan 1864
  • J Adair 1870
  • Richard Vaughan 1873
  • Lancaster 1866
  • Barrow
Construction:Iron bolts. Damage repairs 1870.
Trade:Coaster, UK and Portugal.
Incidents:24th Aug 1864, put into Porto leaking. 24th Oct 1970, damaged at Milford after dragging anchor in a hurricane.
Fate:Foundered 10 miles NE of Ushant 20th Oct 1873, from Santander to Newport.


  1. Lloyd's Register of Ships.
  2. Hull Packet - 23rd September 1864
  3. James Fisher & Sons Plc.
  4. Western Daily Press - 26th October 1869
  5. Western Mail - 27th October 1870
  6. Shields Daily Gazette - 24th October 1873

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