Alderney Shipwreck

Alderney-chart-3109Merlindown was requested by Mensun Bound to carry out identification of the wreck of an Elizabethan ship that sank off the north west coast of Alderney in the Channel Islands in 1592. This chart shows the location of the wreck which is indicated by a red circle.

The wreck is sitting in soft sand in 30 metres of water in what we call the Swinge, the strait between the islands of Alderney and Burhou and possibly the most notorious stretch of water in the entire English Channel.


This image portrays the wreck site in which the warship, together with a nearby unrelated fishing boat, are clearly evident. Various features of the wreck, from which Mensun successfully recovered many historically important items, are indicated. This image is self-explanatory.

In May 2008, archaeologists began work on the recovery from the wreck not just of cannon but a wealth of other associated items such as grenades, armour and helmets, swords and rapiers and muskets.

The Alderney guns are all cast-iron, smooth-bore muzzle-loaders of identical calibre and as a unit represent our first proper, coordinated, naval weapons system. The Alderney ship represents the beginning of broadside warfare, these being the guns that carried England, and later Britain, to centuries of maritime greatness.