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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       LATER BUILDERS  
                     
Defoe, in " Tour through Britain " 1724, refers to Shoreham's chief trade of ship-building, "especially West Indiamen."   in 1758, " Valeur " (24 guns), in 1759, and " St. Joseph " (12: guns), in 1761. She was present at Boscawen's action with De la Clue, 18th August, 1759, and was sold in 1784.
In 1728, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, referring to the town as eminent for building ships, state that " they are great builders because of the vast quantity of large timber which this part of England produces more plentifully than elsewhere." A writer in the " Universal Magazine," 1760, says  
  " Matthew " (sloop, 18 guns), built 1764. An Indian ink drawing of this vessel, inscribed " The Matthew, Captain Charles Payne, built at Shoreham, Sussex, September 2nd, 1763 (Signed) T. Hood, 1764," formerly in the possession of the late Mr. John Ellman Brown, of Shoreham, is now the property of Messrs. Barclay & Co., Bankers, of North Street, Brighton.
" Most of the town of New Shoreham has been washed away by the sea, and yet is still a populous place and has a collector and other officers to take charge of the customs, here being a very good harbour for vessels of considerable burden. Many ships are built both for the Navy and merchants. The ship's. carpenters and ship's chandlers, who are pretty numerous, with all the tradesmen depending on that business, seem to have settled here chiefly because of the great quantity and cheapness of the timber in the country behind them, and the river, though not navigable for large vessels, serves to bring down the floats. of it from Bramber, Steyning and the adjacent country, which is, in a measure, covered with timber."  
  "Conflagration " and " Vulcan " (fireships, 425 tons, 10 guns), built 1783, and both burnt at Toulon,18th December, 1793. " Scorpion " (sloop, 340 tons, 16 guns), built 1785. She was in the West Indies, 1793-6, and her commanders during that time were Thomas Western and Stair Douglas.   She was remarkably active during the year 1795, when she captured " Victoire " (18 guns), 19th April, " L'Egalite " (16 guns), 8th August, " Sanspareil " (16 guns), 22nd July,   " Republicain " (16 guns), 3rd August, and "L'Hirondelle" (16 guns), 17th August.   Captured "Courier" (6 guns) while on service in the North Sea, 26th April, 1798. Sold 1802.
  " Pheasant " (sloop, 365 tons, 18 guns), built 1798. Captured " Tropard " (6 guns), 8th May, 1808, " Comte de Hunebourg " (14 guns), 3rd February, 1810, and " Heros " (6 guns), 17th June„ 1811. She was sold 1827.
And again, in later years, the town was described as noted for shipbuilding, " in which art the inhabitants are allowed to excell."            
                     
The Shoreham builders do not appear to have built much for the Navy between the end of the seventeenth and middle of the eighteenth century, at which time the Admiralty Contractors were Stone & Bartlett, followed later, during the Napoleonic period, by Carver & Co., Hamilton & Co., and Edwardes. The following ships were built by these firms :            
  " Spy " (sloop, 227 tons, 16 guns), built 1804. Sold 1813.. It may be of interest to record the fact that three iron cannonballs were discovered in digging out for the erection of a telephone pole, at the rear of the Star Picture Palace in Church Street. They measured from 6 to 72 inches in diameter, the weight of the largest being 411bs.
" Seaford " (6th rate, 432 tons, 24 guns), built 1741. Broken up in 1754.  
" Dispatch " (sloop, 269 tons, 14 guns), built 1745. In action 7th October, 1756, with a French sloop of greater force, and her captain, James Holbourne, was killed. In 1762 she took " Duc de Broglie " (14 guns), and was sold 1st March, 1763.   Bailey's British Directory of 1784, gives the names of three firms of shipbuilders in Shoreham, Ashman & Turner, John Edwards, and Ernest Pelham, and the Universal British Directory of 1793, gives John Edwards, and Thomas Tilstone, shipbuilders, and the names of numerous shipwrights, caulkers, blockmakers: and carpenters. In the earlier directory, we find the name of Hugh Roberts, sailmaker, and Joseph Tilstone, ropemaker ;. the last-named being mentioned again in 1793.
"Hound" (sloop, 267 tons, 14 guns), built 1745. Sold September 20th, 1773.  
" Stork " (sloop, 233 tons, 14 guns), built 1756. Captured 16th August, 1758, by a French 74-gun ship.  
"Favourite" (sloop, 313 tons, 16 guns), built 1757. In the Mediterranean from 1757 to 1762, and commanded by Tim Edwards and Philemon Pownall. Took " Grouzard " (26 guns),   The " Ropewalk " still perpetuates the memory of the industry formerly carried on by Tilstone,and later by English,and Hayman. It ceased about forty years ago with the decline of shipbuilding.
                     
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002