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Wreck of the Thorne
The Thorne's Anchors


Reports of the Thorne's anchors said that "they were bar anchors and one was a patent anchor", which does not make a lot of sense. It may be that the reporter misheard the word "bower", a vessel's principal anchor, kept at and lowered from the bows. If only one was a patent, or stockless anchor, then the other would have been a "fisherman's" type anchor. The starboard anchor was said to be the best for holding as it was the heaviest and in good condition and this might indicate that it was a patent anchor which depends on great weight to make it hold. The description of being in good condition might tend to indicate that it was a recent replacement of one of the Thorne's original fisherman's anchors, if such they were. In replacing a lost or damaged anchor, it would be sensible to upgrade to a more modern type. At Laxey Harbour a fisherman type anchor is set up on display together with an informative notice which reads -

THIS ANCHOR is believed to be from the ship "THORN" a 980 ton BARQUE which after taking shelter in Douglas bay dragged her anchor & was wrecked on rocks near Derby Castle on 24th January 1890. Cargo consisted of preserved meats, furniture, silks, cloth, linen, Guinness stout and spirits. Many cases of spirits were pilfered from the wreck, with many reports of alcohol poisoning...

This Laxey anchor measures approximately 7' 6" between the flukes and the stock, ignoring the shackle, is around 10' in length, and it was recovered from the sea-bed by Mr Michael Corlett of Laxey, whilst fishing in Douglas Bay. His boat did not carry Decca naviational equipment, but he estimates his position as about a mile and a half off the land.

Near the Douglas Sailing Club at the foot of Head Road is a very similar anchor. It is in identical style and its dimensions vary only in inches from the Laxey anchor. They give the appearance of being a matched pair. This also is said to have been recovered in Douglas Bay by a fishing boat.If they were from the same vessel, as seems likely, then neither can be from the Thorne, as it is known from the evidence given at the Board of Trade Inquiry, that her anchors were not of the same pattern.

One was stated to be a patent, or stockless anchor, and although the pattern of the other is not known with certainty, it was most likely to be of the fisherman type, the only alternative pattern then available. The port anchor and chain may well have been salvaged before the wreck broke up. The starboard anchor, the chain of which was said to have parted, is probably somewhere in the bay, but if the assumption that it was a stockless anchor is correct, it would have lain flat on the bottom and would now be buried deeply and beyond any chance of recovery.