The Brig ‘Eleventh Lancashire’

Written by S. Ablott
First Published
Code flag - KiloCode flag - MikeCode flag - CharlieCode flag - November


The Eleventh Lancahire was the sixth ship built by the yard for James Fisher of Barrow. She was 106 feet long and 202 tons. Launched on the 15th of February 1865, she was first registered in Lancaster, and later in Barrow. Her first skipper in 1865 was Captain Williams.1

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. 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

A Globe Trotter

The hull was sheathed with felt and yellow metal for tropical, deep waters,1 and this brig certainly saw a lot of the world. As wall as many UK ports, she also visited others around the world including New York, USA; Durban, South Africa; Porto, Portugal; Demerara (Guyana), South America; Barbados; Madeira; Balboa, Spain; Nantes, France; Venice, Italy; Agrigento, Sicily; Athens, Greece; Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov, Russia; Galati, Romania.2

The Final Voyage

In February 1880 the Eleventh Lancashire was travelling from Swansea to Belfast with a cargo of coal, under Captain J Kirkby and a crew of five. On Monday the 2nd, the brig was exiting the Bristol Channel, passing Carmarthen Bay. Kirkby had left the mate, John Flynn in charge of the ship, in spite of bad weather. There were breakers ahead, reported to Flynn by the man on look-out. But Flynn carried on without reporting the breakers to the captain.3

The ship was found bottom-up half a mile to the east of St Govan's Head, Pembrokeshire. There was no sign of the crew and the ship was identified by her log book.4

As it turned out the crew had all survived, but they were not out of trouble yet. At the Board of Trade inquiry into the ships' loss, Captain Kirkby had his certificate suspended for six months for leaving the mate in charge in such a dangerous place, in bad weather. Mate, Flynn was also fined for not reporting the breakers to the captain.3

Vessel Details for Eleventh Lancashire

Official Number:51077
Code Flags:KMCNCode flag - KiloCode flag - MikeCode flag - CharlieCode flag - November
Vessel Name:Eleventh Lancashire
  • James Fisher of Barrow
  • Williams 1865
  • J Griffiths 1870
  • Richards 1878
  • J Kirby 1880
  • Barrow
Construction:Sheathed with felt and Yellow metal.
Trade:Trans Atlantic.
Fate:Lost 2nd Feb 1880 at St Govans Head Pembrokeshire. Crew saved.


  1. Lloyd's Register of Ships.
  2. Western Daily Press.
  3. Shields Daily Gazette 44th February 1880.
  4. Dundee Courier 5th February 1880.

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