Ingot recovered from wreck that killed William Wordsworth’s brother to be sold

·2-min read

A rare ingot of Cornish tin salvaged from the shipwreck that killed the brother of poet William Wordsworth will be put up for auction this week.

The 56lb ingot was recovered from the wreck of the HMS Abergavenny, which sank of the coast of Portland, Dorset, in February 1805 with the loss of 260 lives.

Among them was Captain John Wordsworth.

The ship had been part of a convoy of vessels belonging to the East India Company bound for China, but became stranded on the Shambles sandbank in bad weather shortly after setting off.

The loss of his brother prompted William Wordsworth to write three elegies between May and July of 1805 titled “To the Daisy”, “I only look’d for pain and grief” and “Distressful gift! this Book receives”.

The second poem includes the line: “Sea, Ship, drown’d, shipwreck—so it came, the meek, the brave, the good was gone; he who had been our living John was nothing but a name.”

The ingot is one of a number of similar items salvaged from wrecks due to be sold by David Lay Auctions in Penzance on Thursday, and has an estimate of between £2,500 and £3,000.

Wordsworth ingot
The ingot recovered from the wreck of the HMS Abergavenny (David Lay Auctions/PA)

Also up for sale are two tin ingots from the SS Liverpool, which went down off the coast of Anglesey in January 1863 after setting sail from Cornwall.

She collided with another vessel, La Plata, that was bound for Lima in Peru.

A further 10 ingots up for sale were recovered from the SS Cheerful, which sank after colliding with the HMS Hecla in July 1885.

The collision occurred about 15 miles off Land’s End and saw the loss of 10 passengers and three crew.

Between the 1700s and the 1800s Cornwall’s rich seams of tin and copper made it one of the wealthiest mining areas in the world.

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