From Historical Hastings

The “Amsterdam,” was a Dutch ship of some value, which foundered on the shoreline adjacent to Bulverhythe Road on the 26th January, 1749 at approximately 3 p.m. The time is able to be fixed, due to the crew's firing of the ship's guns to signal distress disturbing a service at St. Clements Church. The first on the scene at was reportedly Sir Charles Eversfield[1].

Originally destined for Batavia and other Dutch settlements, the vessel carried a varied cargo. Losing her rudder on a rock off Beachy Head and slipping her anchor the Amsterdam drifted for some time; the crew eventually becoming sickly and reportedly mutinous. A cutter was launched off Hastings with the intention to tow her to a safe harbour, but failed in their efforts - the ship being abandoned off Bulverhythe on what was described at the time as a marshy beach which only took four tides to completely bury the vessel leaving only her masts visible. The masts were later cut off.[2]

In March 1827, some forty Bexhill inhabitants succeeded in raising many valuables from her including boxes of drinking glasses, tobacco pipes and assorted cutlery , however, the Revenue services intervened and prevented the complete plunder of the wreck. This investigation did reveal a number of skeletons of the crew[3].

A further investigation took place in 1970; a coffer-dam was constructed around the vessel and much of the sand which had filled the wreck was removed leading to a number of finds. Following this, the wreck was re-covered with sand to ensure its preservation.

At low tides her ribs and large masses of timber may be seen.[4]

Wreck of The Amsterdam. Photographer:- [ Ricky Nye


References & Notes

  1. The Wreck Walker's Guide (Kendall McDonald 1982) ISBN: 0906798167
  2. British Newspaper Archive London Evening Standard 13 September 1827 Pg. 0001
  3. Montreal Gazette - 10th Dec. 1827
  4. Osborne's Visitor's Guide to Hastings and St Leonards c1854 3rd ed. Pg. 67 Google Books