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Newport Branch Meeting: 2024 May 28


The Newport Medieval Ship by Jeff Grosvenor

Our speaker this month gave a fascinating talk on the Discovery, History and Potential Future of the Newport Medieval Ship.

In 2002 work began on the construction of the Riverside Theatre in Newport. Soon ancient remains were uncovered from the mud on the banks of the River Usk. It was soon realised that this was a find of international importance- the remains, in good condition, of a 15th Century Great Ship. The public were enthusiastic and in the first week when the dig could be overlooked same 24,000 were thought to have attended. The Welsh Government sponsored the work to the extent of £3.5 million.

Since then all the remains have been excavated and removed for the very long process of cleaning and conservation.

It is now known that the ship was built in the Basque country in 1458 and used to transport wine from Portugal to the Bristol Channel and goods- often woollen cloth- back on the return trip. In 1468 the ship entered Newport for repairs but unfortunately the cradle holding it in dry dock collapsed and the ship was lost. The remains however have been very well preserved due to the anoxic conditions underneath its mud covering. The ship was about 35 metres in length and is even older than the more famous Mary Rose of King Henry VIII.

The ultimate goal of the project is to reassemble all of the conserved ship timbers and create a world class museum display.

It will be possible to visit and view the current situation every Friday and Saturday 10.30 -16.00 from March 22nd to November 2nd at the Queensway Meadows Industrial Estate, Estuary Road, Newport, NP19 4SP.

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