Divers Say They’ve Found Lost Anchor From HMS Colossus In Scilly

colossus anchor todd stevens
Two St Mary’s divers believe they’ve solved a centuries-old puzzle – the location of the lost anchor from HMS Colossus.

Todd Stevens and Robin Burrows say that last week, they located an 18ft long, 11ft wide anchor near to Nut Rock. It’s in the angle crown style that was used by the Royal Navy at the time.

But Todd says the anchor is in a location that hasn’t been searched before.

There have been two recorded attempts to find the so-called sheet anchor, lost when the warship went down in 1798.

From Radio Scilly

Todd Stevens describes how he and Robin found the anchor

The first hunt was self-funded by salvage man Roland Morris. The second was grant-funded by regional marine archaeology group CISMAS.

Both searches concentrated on the seabed to the south east of the wreck site, as when the ship was lost it was as a result of a gale blowing from that direction.

But Todd and Robin have taken a different approach. Todd says according to the record of Captain George Murray’s court martial, the Colossus arrived in a strong north-westerly wind.

They reasoned that the local pilot would have placed the ship under the lee of the northern-most islands, in St Mary’s Roads between Samson and Tresco, where many cruise ships are positioned to this day, rather than closer to the Garrison.

They also knew that the anchor cable had been reported as rotten and that the wind had suddenly veered 180 degrees just before the ship was wrecked.

As Todd and Robin were already performing sonar surveys of the area, they decided to test out their theory.

After seeing a small signal, they discovered the anchor almost completely buried in the sand. Todd says the fact that it was buried, and in an area that’s rarely of interest to divers, probably explains why it’s gone undetected for so long.

The men have also discovered evidence of the attached ‘nun buoy’ used to locate lost anchors but which appears to have been tangled around the shaft.

Todd says there are no other records of large 18th century naval vessels losing a sheet anchor in The Roads, so it can only be from Colossus.

The work of other divers has not been in vain as Todd says they helped point him and Robin in the right direction. They want to dedicate the find to them.

Todd says it’s a very important artefact but there are signs that it’s being damaged by the anchors of modern cruise ships.

He says English Heritage will now decide what to do with it.

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