The wreck of the Tynwald.

By on Jan 26, 2018 in Clyde River and Firth, Tynwald | 0 comments

This article comes from a brief snippet from the Greenock Advertiser in September 1866 regarding the Campbeltown paddle steamer Herald.

“The Steamer Herald.—It was rumoured in town yesterday that the charterer of the steamer Tynwald, which we noticed on Thursday as having gone ashore at Skye, has offered terms for chartering the steamer Herald, employed on the Campbelton route. It is said if the offer is accepted, she will likely proceed to Iceland at once for the purpose of bringing cattle thence. The Herald was off her usual station yesterday.”—Greenock Advertiser, Sept 22, 1866.

Although the report was shown to inaccurate, it did highlight an interesting story.

“Steamer Herald.—The report that this favourite steamer was about to be dispatched to Iceland is incorrect. Today she was laid up in the East Harbour for the season.”—Greenock Telegraph, September 22, 1866.

In 1866, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Ltd. had a replacement for their aging steamer Tynwald built at Greenock by Messrs Caird & Co.

“Launch of the Tynwald.—On Saturday, Messrs. Caird & Co. launched from their east yard a handsome paddle-steamer, named the Tynwald, for the Liverpool and Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. The Tynwald is intended to trade betwixt Liverpool and the Isle of Man.”—Glasgow Herald, March 19, 1866

“Launch. —On Saturday there was launched from Messrs Caird & Co.’s east yard, a handsome paddle steamer, which was gracefully named the Tynwald, by Miss Lydia T. Caird. The dimensions of the Tynwald are; length, 250 feet; breadth of beam, 26 feet; depth of hold, 14½ feet. The vessel is to be fitted with deckhouse, and will be supplied by the builders with oscillating engines of 280 horse-power, 58 inches diameter, and 6 feet of stroke of piston. The Tynwald is fitted with all the modern improvements, Caird’s expanding valve gearing, feathering paddle wheels, tubular boilers, &c. She is 800 tons o.m., and is the property of the Liverpool and Isle of Man Steam-packet Co., for whom Messrs Caird & Co. had already built the Snaefell and Douglas for the trade between Liverpool and Douglas. The company’s steamers are the fastest out of the port of Liverpool, and carry passengers in great numbers from Manchester, Sheffield, &c., to the Isle of Man during the summer season.”—Greenock Advertiser, March 20, 1866.

The new Tynwald of 1866

The new steamer ran trials in May and entered service shortly thereafter to positive press.

“The new Isle of Man steamship Tynwald.—We are certainly advancing in the art of making ourselves comfortable. Only so far back as a dozen years ago, a trip by a channel steamer was a rather unpleasant undertaking, not so much because of the nature of the journey, as of the convenience, or, rather, inconvenience afforded by the cramped, uncomfortable accommodation for passengers. But we have changed all that. Many of our channel steamers are now as cozy as our own drawing rooms, and a trip of a hundred or two hundred miles in one of these floating palaces is almost an unalloyed pleasure. Spacious promenade decks, sumptuous saloons, and snug cabins have gone a long way towards making our existence—that is to say, a brief portion of our existence—on the ocean wave the reverse of disagreeable; and as shipbuilders, encouraged by the liberality and spirit of some of our steamship companies, are every year turning out better and more comfortable vessels, it is not exactly irrational to suppose that by and by a channel voyage will be about the most pleasant thing in the world.

“The Isle of Man Steamship Company have just added to their fine fleet a splendid new iron paddle-wheel steamer, the Tynwald. This vessel has been constructed by Messrs. Caird and Co. of Greenock, who have displayed a noteworthy punctuality in performing their contract to the very day stipulated. The Tynwald was launched on the 10th of March last, the ceremony of christening being performed by Miss Lydia T. Caird, daughter of the builder. The Tynwald has a particularly graceful appearance, her lines being as fine as those of a yacht. Her length is 240 feet, depth 14 feet 6 inches, breadth 26 feet, builders’ measurement 800 tons, and registered tonnage 696. She is schooner rigged, and has two funnels. Her engines, also constructed by Messrs. Caird and Co., are of 280-horse power. They are oscillating, with 58 inch cylinder and 6 feet stroke, and are fitted with Caird’s patent expansion gear. The paddle wheels are on the feathering principle.

The ample space obtained for passenger accommodation in a steamer 240 feet long and 26 feet broad has been made the most of in the case of the Tynwald. Her internal arrangements are very complete, and she can accommodate at least 1000 passengers. The dining saloon is 48 feet long and 24 feet broad, the deck saloon 60 feet long and 16 feet broad, the ladies’ saloon about 25 feet long and 12 feet broad, while the steerage accommodation is most ample. The upper or hurricane deck forms a clear promenade of 188 feet.

“The dining saloon is a really handsome apartment. The panels are of maple and walnut, alternated with paintings of Douglas town, Douglas Bay, Castletown, Peel Castle, Ramsey, King William’s College (Castletown), Tytnwald Hill, Greenock Custom-house and quay, view of the Clyde from Dumbarton to Bowling, Loch Lomond, Goatfell, and a Welsh scene. The divisions between the panels are carved and touched-up with gold—an arrangement which is well in keeping with the general decoration of the saloon. The ceiling is very chaste, being panelled in white, with gilt mouldings. The seats are upholstered in crimson velvet, and neither money nor labour appears to have been spared to make this apartment elegant as well as comfortable. Adjoining this saloon are completely fitted up lavatories, &c.; and next to these the ladies’ saloon, which, as we have said, is about 25 feet long, and 12 feet broad. It has a semi-division—an arrangement which gives more seat-room, while it imparts a more snug appearance to the room. The general decorations are similar to those of the dining saloon, except that the upholstery is in green velvet, and that below the panels there is fretwork backed with green silk. Leading from the space between the dining and the ladies’ saloon is a broad staircase, giving ascent to the extensive deck saloon, which is almost a counterpart of the dining saloon, save that pier glass here take the place of the paintings which have been tastefully introduced below, and that there are none of the accessories requisite for dining purposes. Amidships are the capacious engine house, the galley, officers’ quarters, the deck bar, &c.; and right forward are large and cheerful-looking cabins for steerage passengers. On the hurricane deck, between the paddle wheels, are the captain’s cabin and the wheelhouse; and down each side of the deck is a single row of seats, from which passengers can obtain a commanding and uninterrupted view of surrounding objects.

Such is a general description of one of the most complete steamships in the channel service. We feel sure that the Tynwald will justify the anticipations, high as they are, which have been formed of her; and that, under the direction of her able and respected commander, Captain Alexander M‘Queen, she will be a favourite ship with travellers to and from Mona’s Isle.

“The Tynwald had her trial trip yesterday on the Clyde, when she ran the distance from the Cloch Lights to the Cumbraes in 55 minutes, or at the rate of 15½ knots per hour. The weather was fine, and the engines worked satisfactorily.”—Liverpool Mercury May 31, 1866

“Steamer Tynwald.—We are glad to learn that the splendid new paddle steamers, recently built by Messrs Caird & Co. for the Isle of Man and Liverpool Steam Packet Company, is proving a remarkably fast sailer. On her first trip, on Monday, she steamed the distance (70 miles) betwixt the Isle of Man and Liverpool in 4 hours and 20 minutes.”—Glasgow Herald, June 16, 1866.

Liverpool Mercury, December 13, 1866

However, the story does not concern the new Tynwald, but the older vessel that was sold to Messrs Carid & Co. in part payment for the new steamer. In September of 1866, the old Tynwald was chartered to sail on the first of a number of journeys to bring cattle from Iceland to Scotland. In days before international banking, payment was in the form of silver and gold. The ship foundered on the shores of Skye on her way to Iceland and the story is detailed here in the form of reports in the local press.

Tynwald of 1846, built by Robert Napier at Govan

“Specie Shipment.—On Thursday a shipment of specie for Iceland was made here on board the steamer Tynwald. The specie, brought from Glasgow in the steamer Lochlong, consisted of four kegs of silver and other coins. It is stated that the specie is for the purchase of cattle bought at Iceland, for the conveyance of which the Tynwald has been chartered to make three trips. The Tynwald sailed on Thursday for Iceland.”—Greenock Advertiser, September 15, 1866.

“The steamer Tynwald ashore.—The steamer Clansman, which arrived here yesterday, from the North Highlands, had on board the charterer the old steamer Tynwald and four kegs of specie from that steamer, she having gone ashore the Isle of Ornsay, near the entrance to the Sound of Skye. The captain and crew landed in safety, and got the specie and stores ashore. The steamer had evidently broken her back, and was full of water aft. The captain and crew continue by her. The Tynwald, which was laid up here for some time, was chartered for the conveyance of cattle from Iceland to this country, and, it is said, was to make three trips. We learn by telegram that the Tynwald has become total wreck. Crew saved.”—Greenock Telegraph, September 20, 1866

“The Tynwald, on shore on the Island of Oronsay on the east coast of Skye, has become a total wreck.”—Greenock Advertiser, Sept 22, 1866

Steamer Tynwald.—Last night, several of the crew of the steamer Tynwald, which went ashore on Isle Ornsay, arrived here. The steamer was resting on rock, which was through her bottom, and the stern was in three fathoms water. She was expected break up.”—Greenock Telegraph, September 22, 1866

“Loss of the Tynwald.—The following is the report of Captain M‘Kinnell of the steamer Tynwald: Left Greenock 13th September; proceeded, and on the 14th, at 8:25 p.m., weather thick, with rain, wind N.N.W., strong with squalls, on passing Isle Ormsay Light, Sound of Skye, I ordered engines to go dead slow, also to be stopped and reversed; but owing to the darkness and thick weather, the land could with difficulty be observed. Lead kept going on all the time, sounding very deep; no ground at ten fathoms. Next cast gave four fathoms; then ordered engines to be reversed full speed, but before she could get sternway she caught the rocks with her forefoot, and remained fast; and though the tide was falling, and though the engines were kept reversing a full hour, she continued fast. The same night trimmed the coals aft, as there were four fathoms water at the stern; and about 11 a.m. on the 15th commenced to throw overboard 70 tons coal in order to float the vessel. Next tide carried out a stern hawser and anchor to assist the steam, but, owing to the tide receding, all was found of no avail. Every exertion has been made by myself and my crew to get the ship off. The keel and kelson in the engine-room are broken, and the engine-room and after-hold full of water. I consider the present position of Isle Ormsay Lighthouse caused the casualty, and I consider it ought to be on the north point of the isle.”—Glasgow Evening Citizen, September 27, 1866

“Oban, Oct. 12.—The steamer Tynwald, which went ashore on Isle Ornsay, has been floated off, and now safe alongside the Quay at Ornsay.”—Greenock Advertiser, October 16, 1866

The steamer Tynwald lifted off the rocks.—In our issue of Saturday it was reported in our shipping intelligence that the Tynwald, which ran ashore on the rocks outside of Isle Ornsay (Sound of Skye) on a passage from Clyde to Iceland, had been floated and taken into Ornsay Harbour. This intelligence, which was received by telegraph from Oban, has now been supplemented by full particulars in regard to the position and state of the vessel while on the rocks, and the means adopted to save her. The reports at first received were vague and contradictory. It was then stated that the vessel’s “back was broken,” said would be a total wreck; and afterwards it was positively asserted that she had gone to pieces. On receipt of the intelligence that the steamer was stranded, the underwriters interested resolved on sending Mr John Weild, surveyor for the Association of Underwriters, Glasgow, to the spot for the purpose of ascertaining the state of matters, and whether it would be possible to save her. On his return to Glasgow he reported that the vessel was in a very critical position; that the tide ebbed and flowed inside, the rocks having penetrated the bottom at several places, especially under the boilers; that the after part of the vessel was overhanging the rocks, and not supported for about forty feet; and that the fore part was also clear of the rocks at low water for a considerable distance, and the whole weight of hull and machinery was resting on the middle and part of the after compartments. Although the vessel was in this dangerous position, he was of opinion that if prompt and decided measures were at once taken she could be saved. The Underwriters then authorised Mr. Weild to undertake the salvage, and he, with Mr James Anderson and nine carpenters, proceeded to the wreck, followed by the Albert screw lighter, with two of the powerful steam pumps belonging to the London and Glasgow Steam Pump Company, and other necessary materials. As the work could only be carried on over the spring tides, there were only about four or five days to complete it, and as a considerable portion of the coals remained on board, which must be discharged before the ship would float, it appeared to be rather a hopeless undertaking. The only cheering feature of the case was that the weather was fine. The carpenters were set to work so make the vessel as tight as possible by bulkheads, platforms, &c.; but although everything possible was done the leakage was so great that it would have been impossible to keep the compartment dry for the necessary length of time with pumps wrought by men, but the steam pumps had entire command of the leak, and kept the necessary compartments clear without any difficulty. The Albert’s steam winch was used to discharge the coals, and in three tides (with the assistance of about ten men) discharged about 70 tons. All preparations having been made the vessel was hove off the rocks a little before high water on Wednesday afternoon, and towed into Ornsay harbour, where she can be temporarily repaired and made fit to be towed to Clyde.

“This is another notable instance where steam power properly applied has been the means of saving, in a remarkably short time and at a very moderate cost, property which would without it have been lost. In this case it has been combined with other means which required to be carefully prepared; but in many, perhaps a majority of instances, the simple application of such steam pumps as those used in this case would float the vessel. The vessel was, as per register, 526 gross tonnage, with engines of 249 horsepower, and insured in London and Glasgow.”—Glasgow Herald, October 16, 1866

“Steam Tug Ashore.—Under date Isle Ornsay, Nov. 13, the following appears steam tug Terrible, which arrived here last night from Greenock, fur the purpose of towing the steamer Tynwald to the Clyde, reports that when rounding the lighthouse she went on the rocks, causing two holes in her fore compartment, which filled with water, but in less than half hour was got up to the harbour, and with the exertions of men and pumps the engine compartment was kept clear until the tide left her. The holes have been stopped from the inside until she can got further up on the beach to get the plates on. A letter from the captain, received here yesterday morning, states that on Tuesday the tug would able, weather permitting, to proceed to Clyde with the Tynwald.”—Greenock Advertiser, November 17, 1866.

“The Tynwald.—This steamer, which went ashore at Isle Ornsay, Sound of Skye, was brought here on Saturday in tow of the tug Terrible, which was also on the rocks at the same place. The Tynwald will go into dock for repairs.”—Greenock Advertiser, November 20, 1866

“Steamboat Sale.—The old steamer Tynwald, which has been in Messrs Caird & Co.’s graving dock for some time, has been sold to Mr R. W. M‘Kinlay, metal merchant, Glasgow, who intend to take her to Glasgow and break her up.”—Greenock Telegraph, January 21, 1867

It would appear that transit to the breakers was delayed.

“Shipping accidents.—On Saturday while the ship Spartan was being taken out of the West Harbour she fouled the ship Demerara, and had her taffrail started. During the afternoon, the barque William Clowes, after being overhauled and recoppered, was taken out of the Old Graving Dock to the entrance of the harbour to proceed to Glasgow, when, in consequence of the gale, her hawser was broken. She was thereupon driven violently back against the wall at the entrance to the graving dock, a great part of which she carried away, her bow smashed part of the stern of the steamer Tynwald, and ultimately she was brought up after having lost her jib-boom and some copper. Her departure for Glasgow will be postponed.”—Greenock Advertiser, March 26, 1867

“The Centenary of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Ltd.,”, Douglas, Isle of Man, 1930.

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