The remains (left hand vessel)


Jonadab at dock in Bristol 1934



LPB identification number 11










Newport 12/48
Bristol 12/50
Bristol 1/95
Bristol 17/36
Bristol 5/53
Bristol 81/54
Bristol 81/64

Wd, Tw open,dk
Wd, Tw open,dk
Wd K

1848 – 1959
Rebuilt 1895

Official number 26731

Code PMJB (NQWD 1936)

Builders: - Newport, John Jones jr.
Rebuilt: - Saul, Fredrick Evans (1895)


Length 71ft

Breadth 15.5ft

Depth 5.3ft

Tonnage – (1848) Gross 61ton Net 59.651 B.D

Engines None
Engines (a) fitted 1952

By Elwe at D. Davis, Saul Junction

H.P. N/A

Beached date

Beached at Lydney Aug 1959

Beached by



Npt 12/29.8.47, open, 2m, Tw, stg (standing bow sprit),sq stn,cvl
Btl 12/18.5.50, 1 dk, 2m, Tw, (swivel bow sprit),sq stn,cvl
Btl 1/28.2.95, 1 dk, 2m, Dk K, sq stn,cvl
S & SMIII.16 mentioned in own article.
Dawsons notes Regd Newport 29.8.48 2m, Tw, standing bow sprit (Stg),sq stn,cvl

First Owners

29.8.48 John Davies (James Facey, master)


28.2.95 (32) John Miles Redcliffe, Bristol (65 68 73 78 81 85 87 92 96), (32) William & Laura James, Sau, Mrs Laura Davies Saul (96)
5.6.00 (32) William James, Saul (97 08 13) & Laura James, Saul
2.1.17 (32) William James, Saul (97 08 13) & William Charles James, Saul
18.11.13 (64) Enos Fredrick Beard & William Butt, Saul, Daniel Gower, Cardiff (33 36)
17/26.11 1936 Reg anew
Fred A Ashmeads Bristol (Nov 35 47)
Silvey Brothers (1949 LPB)

To say the Jonadab had a history, is of course and understatement. But as the below letter from 2005 states, the author has tried for many years to unravel her complex trials and tribulations passing as she did from owner to owner, this hardy little trow has had many manifestations from sailing to motor to barge. Traveling far and wide as recorded, to Ireland and Greece, Jonadab was over 112 years old when she eventually sprung her fatal leak which saw her turn back to Lydney with her fully laden hold of St Annes Board Mill consignment of coal. This was sadly to be her last manned voyage as further to a structural survey her forelorn remains where beached high and dry to protect the harbours vulnerable southern shore and magnificent block built pier. Once there, children were known to clamber aboard and ride out flooding waters as the vessel raised from the shore only to return with the receding tide. That being the case Jonadabs back was soon to be broken – defeated but not out, as the little ship was to prove she was far from beaten, as she made one last dash for the high seas in 1975, after breaking from her Lydney bonds and sailing to Sharpness unmanned only to founder in the entrance of the busy Severnside Port. Once recaptured her remains were close hauled to a nearby sandbar – only to wash ashore at Purton in 2004 – home at last perhaps!

Notice to Mariners
Notice to Mariners
Mr V Rogers. 31st October 2005

Dear Mr Rogers

I recently came across your letter in the June 1975 edition of Sea Breezes, in which you requested information relating to the remains of the Severn trow Jonadab as situated on the banks of the River Severn adjacent to Lydney harbour.

As a result and in light of my own research, could I request any information that you may have, relating to this or any of the other abandoned vessels, that have sadly succumbed to the ravages of time are now no longer present.

This would be immensely helpful, as I am currently involved in a programme of research for the Sites & Monuments Record, in which I intend to draft a paper that identifies, charts and records a potted history of all vessels within the River Severn and which will include the remains at both the Lydney and Purton sites.

Furthermore, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my finding with you in person and as such, would you please contact me as your time allows or failing that, feel completely at ease to issue my contact details to any other interested parties who may be able to assist.

Yours sincerely and with thanks

Paul Barnett

Eric Aldridge Skipper of Dredger No 4Aged 84 River 1929 - 1960 Canal 1960 - 1984 Date of Interview 01.07.03

EA also recalls that the following masters were in command of the wooden trows Hannah Capt. S. White and Jonadab Capt. W. James which are now both on the Lydney foreshore

(*LPB Hannah is known to have wrecked on Lundy)

Mr Andrews Photos 01.04.72

Lydney Harbour remains of Trows (5 pictures)

Mr Andrews Archive dated 1970-2

5857 Lydney Harbour & foreshore vessels

X5 Lydney Harbour & foreshore vessels

Name Jonadab wood ketch,
Official No 26731
Built 1848 Newport
Rebuilt 1894
Signal letters M.Q.W.D
Port of Reg Bristol
Net Reg tons 68
Still registered 1945

Dean Heritage Centre (01594 824024)
Acc1986.146.888        Trow Jonadab of Bristol as a motor trow post WWII

Gloucester Records Office

Vessel Name & No.

First registered


First mention

Last mention


Jonadab 26731



1866 (1s)

1894 (2s) laid up

Now @ Lydney

Colin Green
Lydney (CH 1961) (CG 1963)
Not in 1996 plan
Jim Hewitt

Jonadab once beached broke back whilst on bank Nov 1966 as result of spring tides (new bridge had to close for the first time ever)

Graham Farr Index Card

Name                          P.O.R                          Description                             Dates
Johadab                       Newport 12/48            Wd, Tw open,dk                     1848 -1959
Bristol 12/50               Wd, Tw open,dk                     Rebuilt 1895
Bristol 1/95                 Wd K
Bristol 17/36
Bristol 5/53
Bristol 81/54
Bristol 81/64

Dimensions     (1848) L. 71    B. 15.5 D.5.3 Tonnage – (1848) G 61 dr 59 651       B.D
(1850) L. 71    B. 15.5 D.5.3 Tonnage – (1850) G           69.23       B.D 17
(1877) L. 71    B. 15.5 D.5.3 Tonnage – (1877) G           69.23       B.D 17
(1895) L. 85.4 B. 18.5 D.-     Tonnage – (1895) G 84.05 68.13       B.D 17
(1953) L. 85.4 B. 18   D.8     Tonnage – (1953) G          N 59 651     B.D 17
Builders          Newport, John Jones jr.
Rebuilt            Saul, Fredrick Evans (1895)

Engines (a) fitted 1952          By Elwe at D. Davis, Saul Junction
O.N. 26731                             Code PMJB (NQWD 1936)

First Owners 29.8.48 John Davies (James Facey, master)
Changes      28.2.95 (32) John Miles Redcliffe, Bristol (65 68 73 78 81 85 87 92 96), (32) William & Laura James, Saul
Mrs Laura Davies Saul (96)
5.6.00 (32) William James, Saul (97 08 13) & Laura James, Saul
2.1.17 (32) William James, Saul (97 08 13) & William Charles James, Saul
18.11.13 (64) Enos Fredrick Beard & William Butt, Saul
Daniel Gower, Cardiff (33 36)
17/26.11 1936 Reg anew
Fred A Ashmeads Bristol (Nov 35 47)
Silvey Brothers (1949 LPB)
Florence M Ray (1951)

March 1934 had Emily Jane of Dover anchor
Hulked No-Dec 1935
Code signal cancelled Ll list 25.8.52
Arrived Bristol with motor 26.9.52 (not good conversation 3 knots only)
Beached at Lydney Aug 1959
Broken up R.C. Aug 1962 MNL Supp
Heard Arthur Hazzard (water guard) state that she was finally beached at Lydney

Npt 12/29.8.47, open, 2m, Tw, stg (standing bow sprit),sq stn,cvl
Btl 12/18.5.50, 1 dk, 2m, Tw, (swivel bow sprit),sq stn,cvl
Btl 1/28.2.95, 1 dk, 2m, Dk K, sq stn,cvl
S & SMIII.16 mentioned in own article.
Dawsons notes Regd Newport 29.8.48 2m, Tw, standing bow sprit (Stg),sq stn,cvl

Graham Farr via Robin Craig Archive
Photo at Lydney Docks includes Jonadab and Ytham
Extant in 1953

Jonadab         Wd K                          1848 (1895) –                          Newport 1848 (1895)
1. on tow in harbour off Western DD                                               18.7.33 (214/33)
2. Bow viw at Welsh Back                                                             22.6.34 (95/34)
3. Stern view from above at Welsh Back                                          22.7.34 (112/34
4 Stern view with only one mast Welsh Back                                    17.9.34 (164/34
5 do. Another view                                                                        23.9.34 (168/34)
6 As motor vessel, passing Redcliff Parade                                       24.4.53 (sm)

Richard James

Telephone call received from Richard to advise that his great grandmother Laura James of Saul owned the Jonadab (died 1914/5 buried in Saul Church Yard).  Following this his Grandfather sailed in her until her sale in 1920, he also advised that he has a painting of the Jonadab in 1856 off Falmouth

Dear Paul
Following my email I was pleased to talk with you last week regarding the Jonadab.  As mentioned, I have a particular interest and affection for her as she was at one time owned and traded by my paternal great-grandmother, Laura James of Saul and her husband William (Billie) (both subsequently buried in Saul Churchyard) and later by my grandfather, Stuart, up until she was sold in about 1920. 
Initially my interest was restricted to an oil painting of Jonadab in the family, originally commissioned by my great-grandparents in 1896, and showing her in full sail off The Lizard.  This is now in my possession having been bequeathed to me.  Subsequently I came across an old photograph of her in a book ‘West Coast Shipping’ by M. K. Stammers in 1976 and tracked it down as one of several old glass plates in the Bristol Museum archives.  This photograph subsequently appeared in Colin Green’s book ‘Severn Traders’ in 1999, with which you are obviously familiar and contains most of the documented history of Jonadab. 
From the various information available, I have put together her history for the benefit of my family (including your confirmation regarding a few timbers salvaged for use in the Lydney Sailing Club bar) as follows:
Mr Richard Langford
Richard James (Independent research)
The Severn Trow ‘JONADAB’
Built 1848 – Newport, Monmouthshire
Originally built in 1848 by John Johns at Newport, Monmouthshire for John Davies, a builder, she was an open moulded trow of some 59 tons.  First registered at Newport this changed in 1856 to Bristol when she was bought by her then Master, James Facey. 
According to the Customs Register she was then purchased ‘at twelve noon’ on the 30th August 1894 by Mrs Laura James and rebuilt in 1895 at Saul Junction on the River Severn in Gloucestershire as a flush-decked vessel (also known as ‘boxed’). This raised the freeboard which would enable her to venture further afield from the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel and handle the strong seas off Ireland and the South and South West Coasts of England.  She was also given a trow rig which may suggest that originally she might have been square rigged. 
Between 1894 and about 1920 she was worked by Laura James and her husband, Captain W.J. (Billie) James, later joined by their son, Stuart.  She traded mainly between the various Severn Estuary , Bristol Channel and West Coast ports of Devon, Cornwall and South and West Wales, but occasionally sailed around into the English Channel (Falmouth, Looe, Fowey) and across to Southern Ireland (particularly Waterford).  She would have carried general cargoes including coal (from the Forest of Dean), stone bricks, livestock and animal feedstuffs. 
Records show that she then passed into the hands of ‘Desperate’ Dan Gower of Cardiff just after the First World War, probably about 1920.  Subsequently she received a major re-fit in Carver’s Yard, Bridgwater in October 1927.  Further major repairs were carried out in February 1932 again at Bridgwater following a collision in Cardiff Docks.  In 1934 she lost her mizzen mast in a heavy squall in the Bristol Channel, also the topmast on the main so she then carried a sloop rig until unrigged and motorized in 1949 in dry dock at Saul, with her timbers also being strengthened.   In the interim she had passed into the ownership of Silveys of Bristol, a major Coal Merchants in the City and eventually came to be used as a dumb barge, again probably for coal mined in the Forest of Dean. 
She remained in work for a further ten years or so until coal production in the Forest gave out in the 1960’s but then Jonadab, like so many of the other Severn Trows, was laid up on the banks of the River Severn, although still in fair repair.  Although still in very good condition in 1973 and with several projects proposed to restore her (including interest from the Maritime Trust) her condition then gradually declined.  At some point she floated off at a spring tide where the current took her to Sharpness where she blocked the docks entrance.  She was towed back close to Lydney and beached high up on the foreshore where she gradually deteriorated.   Several of her timbers were salvaged and were incorporated in the construction of the bar in the Lydney Sailing Club.                                   
With the passage of time I am obviously now disappointed that I did not pursue my interest in her much earlier, even if only to see what remained on the banks of the Severn, but such is life.
I was particularly interested to learn that you regularly conduct guided tours of the remaining hulks at Purton and my wife and I would be keen to come along in the not too distant future and have a look.   If there is any further help I can provide please let me know. 
With kind regards
Richard James

From the west Briton & Cornwall Advertiser. Thursday evening, 1905.
Lifeboat Claim Settled.
The Admiralty proceedings instituted in the Truro County Court against the owners of the ketch JONADAB of Bristol, by the R.N.L.l., have been settled. lt will be remembered that the Padstow Lifeboat EDMUND HARVEY was lying at her moorings at Padstow, when the JoNADAB’ in entering the harbour, fouled the Lifeboat, causing damage which necessitated repairs to the extent of £13.16s.0d.. Other expenses brought the claim of the lnstitution up to £20.4s.0d.. As a result of negotiations between the solicitors concerned, the action has been settled on payment by the defendants of f16 and costs’ Richard also advised he owns Eric picture of vessel on the bank c.1973 Remains floated on high tide c1965 and can confirm parts sailed to Sharpness (eventually recovered and taken to above bridge) and above yacht club. Took photos of remains in 2000

Andy King

Our photos of Welsh Back feature the ketches Jonadab (PBA409),

Charlie Langford
Crew member of the Tugs Addie, Resolute and Primrose
Born 1925 Aged 78
Deep sea 1943 – 1962
Sharpness 1962 – 1990
Date of interview 19.06.03

The Lydney Hulks

CL recalls that the former wooden trow Jonadab was once crewed by Ben Pride and was originally beached on the Lydney foreshore. However she subsequently refloated and drifted across the estuary and foundered between the Sharpness piers.  Following her subsequent recovery, CL states that she was towed and beached at the end of the wall at Purton.  Furthermore and upon questioning CL recalls that “the stern part submerged on breaking away from Lydney”, this in turn was recovered from the basin and “ended up in sand by Teddy Lanes Bungalow”

MNL 1930
Name Jonadab
Off No 26731
Rig K
Built Newport Monmouth 1848
Signal MQWD
Reg tonnage 68ton
Reg owners Daniel Gower 69 Romilly Road, Cardiff          

MNL 1951
Name Jonadab
Off No 26731
Rig Bge
Built Newport Monmouth 1848
Signal MQWD
Reg tonnage 65ton
Reg owners Florence M Ray, Lyndale Ave, Stoke Bishop, Bristol
John Allt South Lodge Downs Parkeast Bristol 6     

Gordon Mote
Name Jonadab
Official No 26731
Built 1848 Newport
Owner J Miles, Bristol
Mrs L James, Saul, Gloucester
Signal letters P.M.J.B
Port of Reg Bristol
Net Reg tons 68
Fate A Severn Trow rebuilt and redecked, 1895, became a motor barge and later a coal hulk
Extant 1945

Delia Poulton

From: Delia Poulton
To: barnadillo <>
Sent: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 15:47
Hello Paul,

First let me thank you for your excellent talk yesterday evening about the history of Lydney and the Severn trows. 

As I told you, my great, great uncle, William Guy, was Mate on the Jonadab in 1870 and 1871.  His uncle James Guy was the Master in 1870. This is recorded on the Bristol Crew Lists, and in 1871 they were recorded on the Cardiff census on board the same vessel.  John Guy, father of William, was master of The Happy Return in 1870.  In 1886 William Guy appears as Master of the Swan, with his son, also William, as Mate.  Just out of interest, after William retired and lost his wife he went to live in the Merchant Venturers’ Almshouses in King Street, Bristol and for many years was the Chief Brother.

I was delighted to see photographs of the Jonadab, and should be most grateful for any information or photographs you are able to send me.

Thank you again for a most interesting evening.

Delia Poulton.

Mr Saunders

Recalls that various vessels were filed with stone and deliberately beached on the foreshore at Lydney to prevent erosion and recalls that they may have been sunk before the war however he also recalls that two or more were sunk upon his return from active war service which he served in the Far East.  Mr Saunders identified the vessels Nibley, Wasp. Hannah and Jonadab as being beached on the foreshore at Lydney.  S also recalls that a barge was placed on the foreshore in 1954.

(* LPB see above note ref Hannah)

The National Waterway Museum Photos

    1.             Barge Conham at Lydney showing hulks in background


Nibley Photo via paper report

???? 07717707193 (aged 55 ???) knew the site 1955/56 as a child and considers the photo taken 1960 -65
Further advised of Harbour Masters being Mr Turner & Mr Steary
Vessels identified are Johnadab, George, and Sneed
Started work 1966 and thus visited site less frequently

John Perkins aged 74
Lighterman on the Gloucester to Sharpness Canal and River Severn
1955 -1969
First interview 26.06.03

Johnadab is now beached on the foreshore at Lydney (see Colin Green Book)

Richard Langford
Son of Tyke Langford Sharpness shipwright and brother to Robert

RL recalls the Edith used to run out of Lydney with coal along with the former trows Yarra and Jonadab

Sea Breese
Vol 17 Jan – June 1954
January 1953 PP 65 Alop Chest
Jonadab purported to trade to Greece for currents Re Capt M Tadd

Len Williams
Port of Bristol Warehousing Manager
Aged 82

LW states that the former trow Jonadab was a well-known and frequent visitor to Bristol and is now beached at Lydney. 

Furthermore his MNL 1928 states that she was built in 1848 rebuilt in 1895 of 68grt and was owned at that time by Capt. William James of Saul

Brian J Goggin

I’ve been looking in to the history of trading on the River Blackwater in south-east Ireland. Schooners came from Wales to deliver coal and collect pit-props.

I came across the attached photo described as “The Jonadab (Schooner Brig) on the River Blackwater at Templemichael with Ballynatray House in the background.” A “schooner brig” seems an unlikely beast; it looks ketch-rigged to me. I note that you have found the hull of a Jonadab at Purton; could this be the same vessel?

Best wishes

Mr Watson Harbour Master coal loading notebook
Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 3rd June 1958
Time commenced 7.30 am
Time completed 8.15 am
1st P 92318
2nd P225866
3rd P105187
4th P190570
5th M6088880
6th P82487
7th P144744
8th P193147
9th M171143
10th P156499
11th M269257
Note 1 hour actual working lowering and raising sluice and repairing gears

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 26th June 1958
Time commenced 8am
Time completed 9.15 am
1st M321499                            13.2t
2nd E 234269                           11.1t
3rd P21322                               11.3t
4th P19040                               12.8t
5th E233836                             11.8t
6th M84551                              11.6t
7th M358039                            10.1t
8th P5524                                10.1t
9th E241625                             10.18t
10th P80672                             10.12t
11th P144744                           10.17
Total    123.16t

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 7th July 1958
Time commenced 8.10 am
Time completed 9am
1st P 315360                           11.8t
2nd M334434                           13.2t
3rd E 233627                           11.17t
4th E268693                            11.19t
5th P162722                            12.9t
6th E232632                            10.8t
7th P29946                              10.9t
8th P33879                              10.2t
9th M600620                            11.9t
10th P26214                             10.19t
11th P315360                           11.8t
Total    124.8t

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 17th July 1958
11 truck loads
Total 122.18t
Time commenced 7.55 am
Time completed 8.30 am

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 21st July 1958
11 trucks unloaded
Total 124.11
Time commenced
Time completed

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 21st July 1958
11 trucks unloaded
Total 124.11
Time commenced
Time completed

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 22nd 1958
10 trucks unloaded
Total 108.8t
Time commenced 8.15am
Time completed 8.45am

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 29th August 1958
10 trucks unloaded
Total 114.14
Time commenced 7.45am
Time completed 8.15am

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 4th September 1958
10 trucks unloaded
Total 114.18t
Time commenced 11.15am
Time completed 11.35am

Vessel Jonadab
Loaded 10th September 1958
10 trucks unloaded
Total 108t
Time commenced
Time completed