schooner rig, with large fore-and-aft gaff sails set on booms and
usually with square topsails on the fore-mast, became increasingly
popular during the nineteenth century. This rig was more efficient
when sailing to windward and required less crew than the earlier
square-rigged brigs, and two-masted schooners were also chosen by
many owners to replace small brigantines. From the 1870s, larger
three-masted schooners became preferred by some owners operating
in the coasting trades and by those with medium sized vessels in
the foreign trades.
Schooners in Gloucester
the twentieth century, schooners called at Gloucester primarily
to load Worcestershire salt to take to the bacon factories in Ireland.
Sometimes they arrived with cargoes such as sand, gravel, road stone
or coal, but often they came up the canal empty. Regular visitors
included such well-known names as Camborne (Capt H Shaw),
Dispatch (Capt H Watkins), M A James (Capt G Slade)
and Excelsior (Capt W Williams). Kathleen & May
delivered a cargo of road stone from Cornwall in the early 1930s
and made another visit in 1945. She also called many times at Lydney
to load coal for ports in the Bristol Channel and Ireland.
Kathleen & May Remembered
late Capt Ken Shaw of Arlingham had happy memories of the days when
"Dad and I were trading to the same places as the Kathleen
& May, and I struck up a good friendship with Capt Jewell
who owned the ship from 1931 onwards. Tommy Jewell was a good fellow
- you always had a welcome there. He'd try to keep you on board
and fry you up bacon and egg - a good old chap. When the auxiliary
motor was put in, two of the top-sails were done away with, but
they kept one yard with the big square sail for fair winds - you
could set that from the deck. Tommy Jewell's last stronghold was
down as far as Pembroke with animal feeding stuff from Avonmouth,
but he gave up (in 1960) when there was no more work for such a
small ship with small hatches. By then the coal trade was being
carried by larger ships to ports like Cork and Dublin, and lorries
took it round the coast to the small harbours where the schooners
used to go."
Kathleen & May
to carry cargoes, Kathleen & May was for many years looked
after by the Maritime Trust and on show to the public in St Catherine's
Dock, London, but lack of money for maintenance meant that her condition
deteriorated. In 1998, she was purchased by Steve Clarke from Bideford,
and he arranged for her to be restored to sailing condition. She
is currently based at Bideford and is a welcome visitor at local
maritime festivals, including the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival
in October 2007 (picture right). In 2009, she became actively involved in the shipment of wine from France to Dublin and Bristol
under sail, making her the last remaining cargo ship trading under sail in the UK. For
other recent news, see the crew's website.
Sources: Glos Arch D2460 Arrivals at Sharpness; Memories of Harry
Allison & Ken Shaw. Top photo: K&M Trust.