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Shipbuilding in Pilton and Pottington in 18th and 19th Centuries


It is difficult to believe, given how narrow the River Yeo at Pilton is today, that there was once a thriving shipbuilding industry in Pilton dating back to the mid-18th century and lasting beyond the mid-19th century. Those who have had the privilege of hearing Peter Ferguson talk on the subject will know that he has unearthed an enormous amount of fascinating information about those involved – the Thorne, Chappell, Goss, Sommerwill and Bailment families in particular. Here Martin Haddrill has sought to summarise those exciting times in a short document which owes an enormous debt to the considerable research and writing of Peter Ferguson, particularly as recorded in The Journal of the South West Maritime History Society (No.17) of 2004 ‘The Goss Family – North Devon Shipwrights’. Peter was interviewed at length by the author in September 2019 and many thanks are due to him for his time and access to his archives.

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