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Keith at Tregenna
15th May 2012, 07:25 PM
Going through old mail discovered this from 11/5/08, reminds me to double check all my old mail, I may have missed much.

THE PURTON HULKS:


They’re known as `Purton Hulks` though some of them are gone,

On the river Severn, remains are stretched along,

A strip of grassy land between two waterways,

The graveyard of old vessels, beached in former days.


One hundred years ago on a dark and stormy night,

Canal and river banks were breached by the nature’s might,

A call went out to plug the gaps so boats were duly beached,

Fighting back erosion till victory was reached.


Then it was a shingle shore but with passing of the years,

Eighty more old craft were used allaying local fears,

Holes were bored in several hulls so they filled up with spoil,

Gradually the bank enlarged by richness of the soil.


Fifteen cables long this bank, with many ships held fast,

An eerie grave of dinosaurs from our shipping past,

They fell pray to scavengers that hauled the bones of wood,

Stealing phosphor bronze and decks where seamen stood.


Bleached and brittle timbers are poking from the silt,

Lighters and some barges buried to the hilt,

Many more are visible but sinking every day,

Schooners and the others rotting where they lay.


There is the`Kathrine Ellen` once a gun boat runner,

Concrete rafts from early times before the D- Day summer,

A Kennet barge named `Harriett` her name still on her bows,

And the `Severn Collier` one of the latest trows.


They are among the vessels on top or just below,

The most valuable selection of craft we used to know,

A world wide rare collection is sinking in the ground,

And similar examples now hardly ever found.


Perhaps we can’t preserve them but protection is a must,

By developing a strategy through a kind of trust,

If it stops the vandals and keeps them out at last,

It will aid our social history of ships here unsurpassed.


J.Earl Oct.2008

After this narrow strip of land between the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and the Severn estuary had threatened to give way, the canal company used old boats to strengthen the bank.

What were once abandoned hulks are now important pieces of waterway history.

K.