MHG14874 - HMS Dartmouth, Eilean Rubha an Ridire, Sound of Mull


The wreck of a fifth-rate frigate built in 1655, which was the flagship of a mission to secure the allegiance of the Jacobite clans in the Western Isles to William and Mary.

Type and Period (2)

  • WRECK (Wrecked, 17th Century - 1690 AD to 1690 AD)
  • FIFTH RATE SHIP OF THE LINE (Unknown date)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

NM74SW 8002 7238 4069
N 56 30.1917 W 5 41.95

Formerly NM74SW 8579

Horizontal Datum = OGB
Buoyage =
General water depth = 9

Circumstances of Loss Details
The Navy was wrecked in a storm, driven ashore and sunk. Source; Ships of Royal Navy, vol.1.

Surveying Details
19 November 1973. The site was located at 56 30 12N, 005 41 55W in 4.5-9.1 metres of water. Source; Bristol Undersea Archaeology Group.

17 May 1974. The site was designated as an historic wreck. Statutory instrument 458/74.

12 February 1979. The historic wreck designation protection was revoked. Statutory instrument no.6/79.

10 June 1982. An iron cannon, anchors, and some timber showing. Source; Diver magazine, 1982.

23 September 1991. Substantial surveying and salvage has taken place. The artefacts are in National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh. The site is now completely kelp-covered since work ceased. Source; Dive NW Scotland -by G Ridley, published 1985.

19 December 1991. Significant archaeological evidence remains on the site. The correct position is 56 30 11.5N, 005 41 57W and a radius of 50 metres would include all associated material. A modern wreck, part of which projects above the surface, lies nearby. Source; Archaeological Diving Unit report no. ADU 91/17. The site is to be re-designated as an Historic Wreck.

9 July 1992. An area, radius 50 metres, centred on 56 30 11.5N, 005 41 57W, was re-designated as a restricted area under the Protection of Wrecks Act, 1973. Statutory instrument no.1229 (s.123) /92.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

DARTMOUTH, built by John Tippets in 1655, driven ashore, stern first on the Eilen Rubha an Ridire.
Much of the wreckage, which included a substantial portion of the starbaord side of the hull, 19 iron guns, the ship's bell and a significant quantity of artefacts, were removed for preservation at the National Museum of Scotland.
Source: Moir and Crawford 1994.

Note (1998): visits to the site can be made, but only with permission from Historic Scotland who, together with the current licencee (Phil Robertson, Lochaline Dive Centre), operate a controlled visitor scheme to monitor and protect the site.

SOMAP undertook a resurvey of the guns and anchors of this wreck for comparison with the original site plan. Two anchors and two cannon could not be accounted for. Following excavations in 2003 by Wessex Archaeology (see information in Canmore record <1>), SOMAP volunteers in 2004 covered 1 square metre of exposed timbers with sandbags and carried out a metal detector search and some probing of buried magnetic anomalies in an attempt to locate the missing artefacts. No large anomalies were identified although 11 smaller anomalies were found, including a cluster close to where one of the missing guns had lain. It appears that recoveries had been made at some stage following the end of excavations and the cluster of smaller anomalies may be fragments of corroded iron from one of the removed guns. An anchor on display in Tobermory Museum is attributed to the "Dartmouth". <2>

The designation 'Historic Wreck' was replaced by 'Historic Marine Protection Area' on 1st November 2013 after the repeal of legislation of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NM 72380 40685 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NM74SW
Geographical Area MARITIME
Civil Parish MORVERN
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (3)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.