Earl of Shaftsbury (1893)

The Earl of Shaftsbury was wrecked in year 1893, two miles away from Akurala, Ambalangoda. When the accident occurred it was sailing from Bombay to Diamond Island, Rangoon. She had collided on a reef by rough waves. Six from the crew was drowned and 14 were survived.
The ship was laid on a 50 feet depth. The incident was reported in the News papers. We found the articles of the Examiner Newspapers dated 8th to 11th May 1893 from the department of the National Archives Colombo. The value of the vessel is estimated as Rs. 300,000. In a one article it is taken light that there is another steamer ship which was wrecked close by few years ago. The sheet below are included the detail which is available from the paper reports.    

















Wreck details


Earl of Shaftsbury








Date wrecked:

08th May 1893


Examiner Newspaper 1893/5/10


Broken in to pieces. Four masts ship,

Arriving from



Diamond Island, Rangoon


06 Deaths (The Captain,3 Europeans,2 Asians)


Where wrecked:

Two miles off Akurala, Ambalangoda





Maximum depth

 14 meters




24 Feet











Gross tonnage:


Net tonnage:



1896 Feet


421 Feet


Loith by Ramage and Ferguson

Port built:

 Port of London

Country built:


Date built:


Port registered:

 Port of London

Home port:

Port of London

Home country:



No (ballast only)

Industry type:


Crew - passengers


 Captain TB Mayyard



D. Browns & Sons and Managers








Crew deaths:




Examiner Newspaper 1893/5/10



The Examiner Newspaper
08th May 1893 (page no. 04)



We regret to have to record the loss of another vessel off our shores time along the treacherous   Southern Coast. The vessel in question is the Earl of Shaftsbury an iron build, four mast sailing vessel, bound from Bombay to Diamond Island, Rangoon in ballast. The following telegrams regarding the wreck and other details were received from Mr. R.W.Levers the Collector of Custom and Receiver of Wrecks, Galle by the principal Collector This morning, the first at about 8 o'clock and the second late in the forenoon.

Wreck off Akurala, 2 miles South of Ambalangoda Loss of life is believed. A sending off boats and arranging for about eleven out of the twenty-eight who have come ashore. Ship from Bombay to Diamond Island, Rangoon, in ballast. Please inform Bombay.

Have visited wreck captain and three Europeans drowned, and 2 coloured men Total loss, Sunk in about 50 feet of water. Only part of masts appears Chief Officer Carpenter and 8 apprentices, Europeans saved. Shall I hold inquiry or wait for inquest inquiry? No bodies recovered yet. From what we can gather it would appear that the ship was taken out of hear course by treacherous currents.

We learn that the rescued crew, with the surviving chief officer, are destitute of all clothing attended to as well as possible under the circumstances, by Mr. Levers, From instructions received by him Messrs Cargill and Co were ordered to get ready twenty suits of clothes, unequal number of hats and twenty pair o shoes, which were dispatched this evening to Ambalangoda for the use of the unfortunate men who were unable to save anything from the week. They were given native cloths to wear all during to-day, and will be brought down hear to morrow.

The Earl of Shaftsbury was here last in April.1891 our commercial correspondent writes: - The Earl of Shaftsbury came to grief at Amblangada were the rumors. This rumors this morning in the fort and the report proved early too true. This vessel which is an iron four massed sailing ship is well known in Colombo having called here several times with coal. Her tonnage is 2079   tons register gross and 1988 tone not and she was built 1883 at Loith by Ramage and Fergusen. Her dimension is 2869 feet in length 421 feet in breadth and a shipping company of the name of D Brown & Sons are her managers. She is of the highest class in Lloyds.

Our Wharf correspondent writes: - This forenoon the principal collectors of Customs received a telegram from the Collector of Customs at Galle from Ambalangoda, informing him of the loss of this vessel in about 50 feet of water off Akuralla two miles south of Ambalangoda. It is not known yet when and under what circumstances the vessel foundered, but as the telegram was dispatched early this morning the probability Is that who was lost everything having encountered heavy seas such as it is supposed prevailed their during the rain storm of last sight. Apart from the loss of the vessel it is deplorable to have to recode the death by drawing of the captain .Europeans and 2 coloured men. Those saved include the chief officer, Carpenter and 3 Europeans apprentices-: The total crew numbering 28. Only part of the masts appears. The survivor’s must have had a terrible time of it before reaching shore as they have saved nothing and were almost naked-some native cloths being afterwards supplied to them. On the further telegram being received for clothing for the ship wrecked, Messer Cargill and Co was instructed to send down to Ambalangoda. a supply including hats. The ill fated vessel was from Bombay to diamond in Ballast and was ballast some time year with a cargo of coals. Her local agents are Messrs Aitkin Spence and Co.


The Examiner Newspaper
09th May 1893 (page no. 04)


An account of the Wreck & which we had expected not having come to haul, we are indebted to the Observer for an advance proof of the following details:-
Writing at 10 o'clock last night our contemporary's representative says:-
The four masted sailing vessel "Earl of Shaftsbury” was wrecked about three miles -from Amblangoda. The vessel was on she had arrived at the latter part with a cargo of paraffin oil form. New York about the middle of April and having discharged then Bounds on the second instant, the weather was their till Saturday when it become very rough and two or three squalls of the very dangerous character were encountered that day. Thy vessel how ever believed well and was working 8 Knots an honor o her voyage. This morning at 3 o'clock the vessel was running to the east, the Beruwela that having as it after works transpired been mistaking for the one at Galle.

Come from the man on the look out. That  cry struck consternation in to the hearts of those on board and before anything could be done to avert the danger the vessel had run on the change of reefs or rocks which is  about a mile from the shore and on which it may be numbered the steamer "Norse"   was wrecked a few years ago. The ship struck 2 or 3 times and an Endeavour was made to tern her head to the sun. But the attempt was useless for the vessel had been so damaged by the violence with which she sunk on the reef that in a few seconds.

And sunk leaving only the top part of the two masts visible. Immediately before this an order had been given for the boats to be forward but their was barely time to done when under and the ship officers and crew along deck climbed the rigging fourth which unfortunately they were washed off and drowned. One of the life boat had been lowered (the other having been washed way and smashed to pieces) and about 14 of the turn got once and rowed toward the ashore. The surf was running height and when the boat was about 100 or 150 yards away from the beach it was.


The carpenter and two other were thrown under the boat but they managed to extricate themselves and along with the other it was a terrible struggle to same movement such a sea and shrills to enable them to swim the more easily .Even usually they reached the shore. It was a terrible struggle with such a sea and the strength of the men soon began to give away. A number of them divested themselves their coats and shirts to enable them to swim the more easily. Eventually they reach the shore in a terrible exhausted condition. Some lay senseless, those were powerless for a time and unable to rise to their feet and several especially a young apprentice lad required all the attention that the carpenter and those who had withstood the buffering of the waves higher than their mates could bestow upon them. Some native boatmen were asked to go out to the week and bring ashore men who had been left changing to the rigging but the

by declining unless under promise of receiving an enormous sum as remuneration was then sent by Mr. Cburch near whose house the wreak was, to the Government Agent Mr. Levers who happened to be at  Ambalangoda  Rest house with Mrs. Levers and children. Mr. Levers promptly proceeded to the spot and at once ordered the native boatmen to proceed to the rescue of those on the wreck. Ultimately all those who had succeeded in retaining their position in the rigging were brought ashore and Mr. Lever a made the best arrangement he possibly could in the circumstances for the comfort of the unfortunate seamen.

Their were 28 hands on the vessel all told and of that number we regret to say the captain, second mate and four others were drowned

Mr. Lever arranged for the Europeans members of the crew being accommodated in the rest house and the others in the Dutcb bungalow at the rest house premises Mr. Lever was to have gone in Elpitiya this morning, but in consequence of this disaster he has postponed his visit

The Medical officer   Dr. Aldons was called to the Rest house as soon as the men arrived there in carts sent for them under Mr. Levers orders, and he has been in constant attendance on some of the men who were much prostrated, several of them were buried about the body by having been dashed on the shores.

at Ambalangoda  at the time was providential for the shipwrecked and he deserves much credit for all that be has done for their comfort

For the officers and the crew have been provided by him this evening a man come down form mesars  uargill and go with about 40 suits of clothes in accordance with a request to do so by Mr. leveras  conveyed through the customs authorities in Colombo .The crew are expected to leave this tomorrow morning . The vessel as it lies now is a total wreck everything being under water except parts of the masts

Are the chief officer, carpenter and three apprentices (Europeans) and 17 coloured men
The cargo landed at Bombay was paraffin oil and the Agents there were Measure Royal Brothers 
Of the vessel is estimated at Rs 300,000. It is believed that the Captain had a large sum of money received as freight and reserved for expenses; this with all the clothing &e of the officers and crew and all papers is lost. The Chief Mate and the carpenters are going to the scene of   the wreck early tomorrow morning.

Captain TB Mayyard, aged about 56 years, who leaves a wife and child who are now in London.
Second Mate. WK Loyle, aged about 20 years.
Steward, E. Morentz, aged about 21 years.
Sail Maker. W Perry, aged about 50 years.
Two coloured seamen, natives of St Helena and Fiji Island.

THE SURVIVORS. Chief Mate, JL Jones.
Carpenter, W Guest.
Apprentices, G.O. Trofaint, O.E. Pokely, and G.S. Thomson 14 coloured able seamen, 2 boatswains and the cook. Altogether 22.