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
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.