Montrose Museum: Maritime history

Angus display shows relics of shipwrecks
Museum focuses on maritime heritage

A REMINDER of the grim side of an Angus town’s maritime past has gone on display to mark Scottish Archaeology Month.
Montrose Museum has mounted an exhibition on ships wrecked near the town over the centuries. It tells the stories of the many hundreds of ships which have foundered, run aground, or been caught by storms.
They include the Jacobite ship La Fine which had on board Lord John Drummond with 300 men from his regiment, the Royal Ecossais, during the 1745 rebellion. The display also shows the losses from both world wars.
The remains of wrecks are still sometimes uncovered at low tide, and there is also an exhibit relating to the “workhorse” wreck which is sometimes uncovered on the town’s beach.
It is the remains of a cargo barge which came to grief in the 19th century.
Curator Rachel Benvie said: “It was excavated in 2006, and these types of barges were so common shipbuilders didn’t keep records of them, so the only way to tell anything about them is to excavate.
“They were used for all kinds of purposes and cargoes, hence ‘workhorse’.”
The display will run throughout September and October at the museum in Panmure Place, which is open from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday.

6 comments on “Montrose Museum: Maritime history

  1. recusant2 says:

    The la Fine was sunk by the British Milford a day after the British Hazard was captured by Scot rebels. On Dec. 6th, la Renommée, along with cannons on shore, bombarded the grounded Hazard and that night Scottish troops boarded her in the fog and took her over. La Fine, arriving the next day, at the mouth of the Esk and unloaded her Ecossois troops and Lord Drummond, their commander, and supplies. The Milford arrived forcing la Fine to become grounded. The Milford attacked la Fine, nearly destroying her before getting grounded herself on an ebb tide. Threatened by the shore batteries, the Milford tied a cable to a rock further out behind her and pulled herself out backward to deeper water and sailed away. Réne Saint-Alouarn, the captain of the mangled la Fine, was forced to take the ship up river, empty and then scuttle her.

    • Saesnes says:

      Thank you for enlarging upon this event. This was posted so long ago (10th September 2008) that the link to the original source in The Press & Journal has been lost. Whether it was the news report or the Museum that stated that the Hazard sank the La Fine we shall now never know. Nevertheless, I have amended the post.

      Looking at several after-the-event accounts of this particular event there appears to be an inconsistency in the narratives.I would assume that the eye-witness report of The Loss of La Fine in the Journal of Lieutenant Rosmadec. (Archives Nationales, Paris; B457f.164.) is probably the most accurate.

      From what I can piece together –

      On the 26th, the HMS Milford, chased La Fine into the Montrose channel as she made for the harbour. In the shallow waters, to Captain R. N.Hanway’s annoyance, he could not risk bringing HMS Milford’s broadside to bear on La Fine. Nevertheless, a piloting miscalculation caused La Fine to run aground, as did the Milford. They managed to haul off the Milford while the tide was still high enough, but La Fine broke her back (hogged) and Drummond and his men were rescued from the stricken La Fine by the ship Prince Charles, formerly HMS Hazard.La Fine remained a broken, empty wreck, entombed in the bank.

      HMS Hazard was a 14-gun Merlin-class sloop launched in 1744. She was captured in November 1745 by Jacobite forces in Montrose harbour and was renamed, Prince Charles Edward.
      The former Royal Navy ship was used by the Jacobites to run supplies between French and Scottish ports. She was carrying supplies for the rebel army when she ran aground at the Kyle of Tongue, Sutherland, on 29 Mar 1746.

      If I discover any more details I shall post it here.

      • recusant2 says:

        I just found your post and want to thank you for writing. If you have the French or English version of René de Saint-Alouarn, Chevalier de Rosmadec’s account, I would very much like to have the orginal for my records. Please email it to me at
        if you have the time.

        As a note, I have written a historical fiction book entitled The Ship’s Carpenter, due out later this year that includes the episode on la Fine’s destruction. Unfortunately, my accounting of it in the book is in error now that I have your telling of it. I had assumed Lord Drummond and Lieutenant Rosmadec (de Saint-Alouarn) had debarked her before being shelled by the HMS Milford and she was later scuttled. Oh, well, it’s too late to make a change now, perhaps in the next edition.

        Thank you again for the information!

  2. Saesnes says:

    Thank you for your comment. ‘The Résumé du Journal de M. de Rosmadec, commandant la Fine: débarquement à Montrose en Écosse’ is in the collection of public records of the Marines Campagnes F°164. in Archives Nationales, Paris.

    I shall have to look out for your book, The Ship’s Carpenter. Who is the publisher?

    • recusant2 says:

      The publisher for The Ship’s Carpenter is FireShip Press and will be released on Sept. 12, 2019. It is currently available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for preorder as a book or ebook. Once again, thanks for correcting my info…I wish I could have put the real episode in the book!
      D. E. Stockman

  3. Saesnes says: This looks as if it will be a really interesting read. I look forward to its release.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s