The Irish steamer, SS Thames, commanded by Captain Gray, was wrecked on the Cribewidden Rock in the Isles of Scilly in the early morning of 4 January 1841, on her way from Dublin to London.

Incident * Difficulty: Ran aground * Date: 4 January 1841 * Shipping route: Dublin to London * Location: Ponds Reef

According to The Times (1841), the weather was “exceedingly boisterous, with showers of hail and snow.” She “shipped a heavy sea, which extinguished her fires.” Then, mistaking St Agnes Lighthouse for Longships Lighthouse, they ran on to the Cribewidden Rock at around 5 am.

Of the sixty-five passengers, there were only four survivors: a “young lady passenger” named Morris, two female attendants and a seaman who was rescued the following day. A boat crew from St Agnes set off as soon as the wreck was discovered by locals. They rescued three of the four women, the forth did not wish to leave her child behind. Local pilots were unable to offer any further assistance because it was low tide and the pilot boats were aground. By 11 am, the SS Thames was lost to the sea.

The only other survivor was the seaman who had made his way to Rosevear on a piece of driftwood. He survived on the exposed island for 24 hours before being discovered by boatmen. Fortunately, a porter cask had found it’s way to the rock from the wreck. The seaman took a drink before emptying it to use as an overnight shelter.

Ten bodies were found, including the lady who refused to leave her child, and were buried on St Mary’s.

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