By Capt. Dan Berg
Photo: Denise Berg on the Lartington wreck. Photos by Dan Berg
This wreck has intrigued us for many years. When John Stephenson
first took us to this site, he told of how the name Lartington
could be read on the bottom port side of her bow. We thought
this would be an easy wreck to research but soon found that there
was no reference to a ship with this name in our usual sources of
information. Fortunately, our friend, the noted ship historian, Bill
Schell, found the following information in his files.
The Lartington was launched in June of 1875, by Short
Brothers., Sunderland, England. She was owned by J.S. Barwick, was
245.1 feet in length, had a 32 foot beam and displaced 878 net tons.
According to the Liverpool Underwriters Register, she was, "wrecked
on the Bermudas " in 1879.
After further research, Mike Davis, a local marine historian, was
kind enough to give us his file on the wreck. Mike reports that the
Lartington departed from Savannah on December 8th, with a full
cargo of 4,000 bales of cotton. She was under the command of Captain
George Dixon and bound for the port of Revel in Russia. A strong
south easterly gale hit and washed away everything that wasn't tied
down. At 8:00 AM on the 10th, the wind veered to the west. A huge
sea struck the Lartington's stern causing a loud crack. Sea
water started to pour in and although her pumps ran for ten hours,
they could not keep up with the flooding water. On the 12th, Captain
Dixon, fearing that his ship would founder, headed for Bermuda. On
the morning of the14th, 1878, the Lartington went aground
near Western Blue Cut. The crew abandoned ship in lifeboats and was
soon spotted and towed into Hamilton by a pilot boat.
The Marine Board of Inquiry attributed the stranding to gross
negligence and carelessness. The Captain should have taken soundings
for depth and should never have altered his course to the southeast.
For many years, before divers located the name Lartington on
the bow of this wreck, there had been much confusion as to her
identity. Many incorrectly referred to this wreck as the Nola.
The Nola is one of the names used by the blockade runner,
Montana, which sunk in 1863. Mike Davis was the first to suspect
that something was wrong. His research brought him to believe that
this wreck was the Lartington. This speculation was, of
course, confirmed when her bow letters were found.
This wreck is broken down and scattered in 15 to 30 feet of water.
She still lies in a straight line. Her bow is intact and lies on its
port side. Amidships are her boilers, and in the stern section,
divers will see her broken propeller. This wreck is excellent for
The information listed
above was taken with permission from the Book:
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS, ISBN # 0-9616167-4-1
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks,
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9 softcover,73 pages.
Now also Available as
an instant download printable PDF eBook
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS ebook
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks
4.5 MB instant download, printable PDF file
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9, 73 page
From the first quarter of the 16th century,
Bermuda became a landmark for
Spanish ships sailing back to Spain from the New World. The desire to sight
Bermuda to confirm their position often ended their voyage as they wrecked
on Bermuda's outer reefs. To this day Bermuda's treacherous reefs have taken
their toll on shipping. The reefs have claimed vessels ranging from ocean
lines to small fishing boats. Bermuda Shipwrecks is the most comprehensive,
accurate, illustrated collection of information, photographs, sketches and
stories ever written about the legendary wrecks around Bermuda. Bermuda
Shipwrecks includes over 100 illustrations comprised of 61 sensational color
photos, 17 rare b&w historical images, 19 stamps, 4 sketches plus one
map. Bermuda Shipwrecks contains a wealth of enlightening information that
gives the readers a nostalgic glimpse into the history and present condition
of over 55 of Bermuda's most popular Shipwrecks.
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