Major success with Swash Channel Wreck coverage

The rudder from the Swash Channel Wreck was finally recovered from the sea bed after residing in Poole Harbour for four hundred years, provoking a wide range of media coverage.

What the ship was and how it came to be on the seabed in Poole Harbour remains a mystery and the 27 foot rudder that was uncovered yesterday could uncover the mysteries of the Swash Channel Wreck. Some say the ship was part of the Spanish Armada, but on closer inspection, the timber frame, found by a dredger in 1990, dates back to the 1600’s; after the Spanish Armada. The ship is most likely of Dutch or German origin.

Bournemouth University received sixty one pieces of coverage, ranging all across print and broadcast media. The list included:

  • South Today
  • BBC TV South
  • BBC Somerset, Solent, Stoke, Surry, Ulster, Shropshire, Scotland, Nottingham, Newcastle, Merseyside, Manchester, Leicester, Leeds, Kent, Humberside, Gloucestershire, Devon, Cumbria, Cambridgeshire, Bristol, Oxford, Lincolnshire and Jersey
  • BBC Radio 5 Live
  • The Times
  • This is Dorset
  • Daily Express
  • Scottish Daily Express
  • The Independent
  • The Independent Online
  • The Guardian
  • The Daily Echo
  • Bournemouth Daily Echo

Senior Lecturer at Bournemouth University and Project Leader of the Swash Channel Wreck Project, Dave Parham, featured in a number of the papers, giving quotes and information with the on-going project.

“The wreck is important because so much of it survives. It is the ship itself that is significant – there are only a few wrecks like this in the world, and it tells is more about the beginnings of large scale international trade”, Parham said to The Independent.

“It would have been a very big vessel for its day and the whole vessel would have been a spectacular work if art. It was making a statement, showing how great and wonderful the owners were. They would have needed a large Dutch conglomerate, similar to the East India Company”, he said in The Times.

“To see it in daylight in all its glory is quite spectacular, it is very large and impressive so you can imagine how spectacular this merchant vessel would have looked. It is an extremely find and has led to one of the largest ship wreck investigations in Britain. We this it was a Dutch trading ship and would have taken high quality European goods such as tweed to the Far East and traded them for things like exotic spices” explained Parham in the Daily Express.

“What would be nice would be to have a historical reference papers saying it was sailing from here to there. You don’t need that; from an archaeological perspective the really interesting thing is the study of the whole…” Dave added in the Bournemouth Daily Echo.

By Dean Eastmond

Dean is a student at Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. He joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from his college with essential work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Swash Channel Wreck Rudder raised from seabed after 400 years


An elaborately carved rudder which has sat on the seabed near Poole for more than 400 years has been raised by marine archaeologists from Bournemouth University.

The rudder – which features a man’s face carved into the wood – is part of the Swash Channel Wreck, thought to have been a Dutch trading ship which sank in the early 17th century.

Very little is known about the ship, which was discovered on the bed of the English Channel near Poole Harbour, and a project has been led by marine archaeologists from Bournemouth University to protect, excavate and find out more about the wreck.

Project leader Dave Parham, a senior lecturer in marine archaeology at BU, said: “This is the first time this rudder has been seen above the surface in more than 400 years

“It’s a spectacular object, with a human head carved in one end.

“There are no others of this type that have been found in the UK, and it is unusual for one like this to be recovered in its entirety – it is eight and a half metres long and weighs around three and a half tonnes.”

The Swash Channel Wreck project has been running for the past seven years, and artefacts recovered from the wreck so far include cannons, leather shoes and wooden barrels.

Other parts of the ship – including wooden carvings and a canister of cannon shot – have already been raised.

The rudder is the last major part of the ship due to be raised, and the remaining parts of the wreck have been covered with sand to protect it from seawater.

The rudder will now go to York for two years for conservation before going on display in Poole Museum.

“We’ve only recovered around 4 per cent of the wreck and the rudder is the single largest object that we’ve raised,” said Dave.

“It’s the culmination of seven years of hard work and it was a very moving experience. It’s a pleasant relief that it has all gone well.”

“It is the ship itself that is significant – there are only a few wrecks like this in the world, and it tells us more about the beginnings of the large scale international trade.”

The Swash Channel Wreck project is a partnership between Bournemouth University and the Borough of Poole Museum Service and has been funded by a £141,200 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.