The Coronation was a Second Rate Ship of the Line launched in 1685, and wrecked off Penlee Point, Cornwall in 1691. There are two main areas of wreckage, (Offshore - Site 17 Designation Number 2 Order 1978/321 and Inshore - Site 33 Designation Number 1 Order 1988/2138) lying some 800 metres apart.
Documentary research on the biography of the Coronation is extensive but as yet unpublished.

Build The Coronation was a 90-gun 2nd Rate Ship of the Line, launched in 1685 by Master Shipwright Isaac Betts at Portsmouth.
Use The Coronation served under Admiral Russell and was captained by Capt Charles Skelton. The vessel took part in the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690 and was lost a year later (3 September 1691) in a gale off Penlee Point, near Plymouth, Devon. The exact reasons for her loss are unclear.
Loss Sheltering in a gale off Plymouth in September 1691, Coronation’s anchor cables parted (assumption). she was dismasted, capsized and driven aground to the west of Penlee Point (Lady Cove). All her crew less an estimated 17 - 23 personnel were lost.
Survival The Coronation sites have several cannon (86) and anchors (7) as well as further artefacts, including the potential for small and delicate items of importance still to be revealed.

Mr Peter McBride is currently in the final phase of his collation of research in readiness to publish. The following particulars, presented as a Ship Biography, draws together the main attributes of the site and provides a statement of the site’s archaeological interest.

The topography of the offshore site comprises of rugged rock formations and sand-filled gullies. It was discovered by magnetometer in July 1977 this is the site of the Diver Trail.

The site is in a general depth of 18 – 20m and has some kelp and low level vegetable turf covering the area.

A large variety of marine life inhabits the site. The site has seventeen cannon and three anchors within it.

One of the small artefacts found on this site by Mr Peter McBride was a folded pewter plate. This plate bears the crest of Captain Charles Skelton, captain of the Coronation at the time she sank. This combined with the discovery of a large ships bell dated 1686 confirmed the site as that of the Coronation.

The inshore site, originally discovered in 1967, comprises of a very rugged and difficult coast line area of rock gullies with significant kelp forests.

The current designated inshore area contains 59 guns and a further 3 anchors. Cannon number 39 was raised and re-located to the shallows of Fort Bovisand for further investigation in 1983. The gun was cleared of concretion and was found to be cast by Thomas Western.

It's location just outside the harbour allows easy access for shore divers.

The original Coronation group hold custody of artefacts raised and a small collection has been

intermittently displayed at the Charlestown Shipwreck Museum, Cornwall, over several years. Analysis of the data from the survey of the guns by Peter McBride indicates the presence of a selection of mixed calibre cannon totalling 88.

Many of the guns are concreted to the seabed, some stand proud on rock outcrops and others are partially buried in sandy gullies.

  • Starboard side view

  • Rigging view

National Maritime Museum Images

The images shown above are of the model of a typical 90 Gun, Second Rate, Ship of the Line built at the time of the Coronation. The caption reads: 'Scale: 1:48. A contemporary full hull model of a 90-gun three-decker (circa 1675), built plank on frame in the Navy Board style. The model is partially decked, equipped and rigged. The model is probably a preliminary design for the 90-gun second-rates of the 1677 'thirty ships' building programme,

and has a gun deck length of 158 feet by 42 feet in the beam and a burden tonnage of approximately 1200.It was restored and re-rigged in 1929, with the lower masts and fighting tops thought to be original. The model illustrates very well the amount of carved decoration these ships carried for this period, in particular the wreathed gunports, a feature that was discontinued in the early 18th century on the grounds of cost.'

About Us

The Coronation Wreck Project is staffed by volunteer divers.

The Team

The group is working with archaeologists, who are attempting to further the work of those who discovered the wreck and those who have looked after it, protected it and revealed many of its secrets over the years.

Our Location

The volunteer dive team are all locally based in and around the Plymouth, Devon area.

You can contact us using the email form to the right.

We endeavour to regularly update our site and would welcome your images and comments on your dive experience.

Contact Us

We would be happy to hear from you, so if you want to get in touch drop us a line!

Coronation Wreck Project

The Team
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© The Coronation Wreck Project 2016

Pictures of the Coronation Model © National Maritime Museum,
Greenwich, London and Kreigstein Collection USA

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