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The Earl of Abergavenny
The Earl of Abergavenny
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HMS Formidable
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The Earl of Abergavenny

The Earl of Abergavenny was one of the East India Company's largest merchant ships. The captain was John Wordsworth, brother of the poet, William Wordsworth. On board were 164 crew, 12 passengers, 180 soldiers, 32 Chinese people returning home and several unknown people.

The ship was carrying a general cargo valued at 270,000 and was outward bound for Bengal and China. Most of the cargo was owned by the United East India Company, but some of it belonged to the captain and officers who were allowed to trade privately.

Early in the voyage the ship encountered terrible weather. On 5th February, 1805, it ran aground on the Shambles, an underwater shingle bank off Portland, and was badly holed. The ship was unable to reach Weymouth sands and sank in shallow water, within sight of Weymouth. About 1/3 of the people on board were rescued, the remainder drowned or died in the freezing temperatures.


Which object do you think came from this ship?

The Photograph
The Lead Seal
The Silver Button
The Shoe
The Stained Glass


Click on the objects below to find out more

Thumbnail image of photograph linking to larger image and more information which will open in a pop-up window