Coastal heritage


Join divers as they explore the wreck of a wooden cargo ship that sank in 1881 and read its story below.

The Fenna was a two masted schooner of 172 tons, constructed of timber in the Netherlands in 1863.

On 11 March 1881, Fenna was in the vicinity of the Isle of Wight on route to Italy, having experienced bad weather since leaving Holland. The Fenna’s situation became much worse when the 18 year old ship began to leak. As it grew dark, a decision was made to abandon the ship and the crew stood by the Fenna until, 30 minutes later she sank beneath the waves.

A century later divers discovered a wreck where most of the structure of the ship was gone, but a distinctive cargo remained. In the centre of the wreck stands a pile of neatly stacked bar iron. Nearby, numerous stacks of sheet glass were evident. Also present were concreted barrel shapes. A small quantity of wrought iron nails were recovered, still in remarkably good condition.

The type and description of cargo, together with the location of the wreck, was sufficient to identify the wreck as that of the Fenna. She lies on a flat sand and shingle seabed, and her cargo of bar iron stands about 2.5 metres high. The once common schooners have now disappeared into history, and it is rare to be able to dive on the remains of one of these vessels.

  1. Coastal heritage
  2. Diving in the New Forest
  3. Fenna (you are here)
  4. Serrana
  5. Margaret Smith
  6. The War Knight


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