Where Strangers Stare


Alderney’s Elizabethan wreck was discovered when Bertie Cosheril pulled up a harquebus musket in one of his lobster pots. Ever since, local divers, marine archaeologists and island volunteers have been trying to find out who she was - and who may have sailed - and died - with her. The project leader’s diary was invented by TB, but its entries are largely factual. (The tune is loosely based on Carrickfergus).

What is this place where strangers stare
At broken shapes from ships long lost
Across the tide, their shadows fly
A flock of souls in company
Why am I here, year after year
Where strangers stare, not safe ashore,
Beside my kin, beneath my stone
To be at Tilbury, at home.

Friday 6th May. Routine dive. Sand low. Wreck exposed. New breastplate seen near stern, away from the others in hold area.

7th May: Tori and Buck dive to survey Breastplate on sea bed. Tori reports a broken pot or bone, buried in concretion, near the shoulder.

12th of May. Breastplate raised for conservation and research.

Thursday 10 June. Breastplate to island hospital for X-ray. Image not clear but Tessa, radiographer, thinks bone could be a sacrum. Query... human?

What is this place where strangers stare..

June 12: Note: Research if Elizabethan sailors wore armour at sea.

Tuesday 6th August. Archives reveal a letter, dated November 1592, from Sir John Norreys commanding English force in Brittany. Supply ship, quote “Cast away about Alderney.” Orders, armour, ammunition and probably coin lost. Note: A quantity of gold and silver would suggest an armed guard.

What is this place where strangers stare..

July 23. Alderney Museum confirms that island archives were destroyed by German forces in the war. No local record of wreck exists. No marriage or death certificates for any survivors who might have settled here.

Aug 24 More from Archives: Ship sailed from Tilbury. Name not recorded. To date no bell, name plate, or marked cannon found on wreck. Note: Can we extract DNA from bone? If ship ever identified, look for crew list, then trace descendants who might arrange a burial. If not, preserve in museum?

What is this place where strangers stare...