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De Liefde: Mio Ness, Housay, Out Skerries, North Sea

Dutch East Indiaman (17th Century), Sailing Vessel (By Form/type)

Site Name De Liefde: Mio Ness, Housay, Out Skerries, North Sea

Classification Dutch East Indiaman (17th Century), Sailing Vessel (By Form/type)

Alternative Name(s) Der Liefde; Moness; Stoura Stack; Mioni; Dregging Geo; Finger Reef; Silver Gully; Outer Skerries; De Liefde

Canmore ID 102891

Site Number HU67SE 8011

NGR HU 66443 70239

Datum WGS84 - Lat/Long

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/102891

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Shetland Islands
  • Parish Nesting
  • Former Region Shetland Islands Area
  • Former District Shetland
  • Former County Shetland

Archaeology Notes

HU67SE 8011 6635 7014

N60 24.616 W0 47.712

NLO: Mio Ness [name: HU 664 701]

Housay [name: HU 678 713]

Out Skerries [name centred HU 68 71].

Formerly entered as Site no's 8964 and 8001 at incorrect location HU 7547 7041 [N60 24.6667 W0 37.7833].

For nearby (but not accurately located) 'Benelip site', see HU66NE 8003.

Liefde: [max. date] 31 Nov 1711

150'x 44'x 16' 500 tons. Directors of D.E.I.C. attemped salvage in 1712 but nothing was found. William Irvine salvaged the Kennemerland and De Liefde between 1729 and 1736

Archive Ref: "TH 1985 p. 187

Source: Shetland Archive Service [undated].

MS/3025, no. 90.

DER LIEFDE. In August 1965 off a south west facing promontory of the Shetlands, a small team of divers led by Commander Alan Bax, RN, discovered early silver coins under the rocks below 50 ft deep. A follow up expedition with a team of fourteen people working for ten days in September 1966 suceeded in raising nearly 100 coins and some other material, including several cannon balls in very good condition. Most of the coins are silver ducatoons minted in the Low Countries in the early 1700s or earlier. Four gold coins of the same period have also been recovered. The overlying rocks at the site and other factors suggest a rock fall from the cliff and this gives some hope that the ship's timbers and other material may lie below the position of the coins. In 1967 a Royal Navy expedition concentrated on removing large boulders from the site, while the Scientific Surveys Ltd team used a lifting pontoon for the same purpose and recovered various small artifacts and a chest containing some 3,000 new (1711) coins. The wreck from which these finds came has been positively identified from historical evidence as DER LIEFDE, a Dutch East Indiaman, aproximately 500 tons and 160 ft long, which was lost with almost al hands in a storm off the Shetlands in November 1711. She was thought to be carrying 32 guns as well as merchandise from the east and a crew of 300. She was built in the Netherlands in 1698 and wrecked on the homeward voyage (her fourth). A salvage expedition organized by the owners in the spring of 1712 proved fruitless.

A cannon raised in 1964 and now in Lerwick Museum is probably from this wreck. A preliminary report on the LIEFDE work has ben produced and a 16mm film record of the 1966 excavation has been prepared.

D G Hurst 1968.

Moness, Shetland: De Liefde. A small team of divers, led by R Price, returned to this site of a Dutch East Indiaman wrecked in 1711 which was intensively worked over [sic.] in the late 1960's, and discovered further material in a very disturbed context. Many silver coins were recovered, mainly ducatons of the United Provinces and the Spanish Netherlands, as well as two breech blocks and several cannon balls. The finds are at present in Lerwick Museum.

J Cherry 1975.

1974 expedition to the Dutch wrecks of Out Skerries: a small privately organised expedition was put together somewhat hastily and began work in late July, continuing through to late September. All the diving was carried out using a 'Hookah' surface demand compressor, enabling prolonged periods of work under water. All the material recovered in 1974 is held by Mr T Henderson in Shetland County Museum.

Dregging Geo (Liefde 1711): several new areas of concretion were discovered during a cursory inspection of the site. A very limited range of material was found. The list is as follows:

two bronze breech-blocks for breech-loading guns. Marked with the cipher of the Amsterdam chamber and '27' and '24'. Both were loaded.

part of the ship's bronze bell.

two complete pewter spoons.

brass pins.

small loop of hemp rope.

one home-made vent pricker.

about 1500 silver coins, mostly ducatons of Utrecht 1711.

seven gold ducats.

one unusual, unidentified coin of William and Mary.

R Price 1975.

Assigned to class 4 ('dispersed and unstable').

K Muckelroy 1977.

Horizontal Datum = OGB

Surveying Details

-----------------------------

Dutch coins were found washed ashore by sub aqua divers in August 1965. The coins dated from 1634 to 1711 and are believed to be from the Dutch ship DE LIEFDE which sank in 1711. This report was given by the Receiver of Wrecks, Shetlands to Lloyds. It was suggested that further information can be obtained from the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.

12 July 1967. 24 coins with dates ranging from 1648 to 1711 were recovered from the wreck of the DE LIEFDE.

Report by HMS DELIGHT, 6 July 1967.

26 Janaury 1968. The remains of the wreck of the DE LEIFDE are to be found on the southern-most tip of the Island of Housay, in the Out Skerries. They lie in a cleft, called Dregging Geos, just south of Bollomos Gea, on the peninsula called Mioness. The DE LIEFDE sank during the night of 7-8 November 1711. There was only one recorded survivor and he stayed with a local family for about 12 months before being taken off the island. The cargo included 227,000 guilders in bags (value in 1711: ?22,000 pounds. Of these some 2,000 guilders were salved by the local inhabitants during the year of the ship sank. There were also 3 chests, each containing 16 bags of silver ducats (900 coins), 8 bags of gold ducats (900 coins), and 8 bags of guilders. The vessel was also said to carry gold and silver bar.

Report by R Edmonds.

4 August 1987. The wreck of DE LIEFDE is at 60 24 40N, 000 47 37W.

Hydrographic Office, 1995.

(Classified as 40-gun East Indiaman: date of loss cited as 8 November 1711). De Liefde: this vessel was wrecked on Stoura Stack, the SE point of Housay.

Registration: Dutch. 500 tons displacement. Length: 45m. Beam: 12m.

(Location of loss cited as N60 24.67 W0 47.62).

I G Whittaker 1998.

DE LIEFDE. 500 tons, 150'x 44'x 16'. Wrecked on Out Skerries in November 1711. Directors of D.E.I.C. [VOC] attemped salvage in 1712 but nothing was found. William Irvine salvaged the KENNEMERLAND and DE LIEFDE between 1729 and 1736

Archive Ref: TH 1985 p. 187 p. 192; GD 150/2607; D. 6/292/1 p. 30; D. 6/292/10 p. 62-3; SN 13/4/1950; Kennemerland Report 1974.

Source: Shetland Archive Service [1998].

This wreck is one of four ships of the (Dutch) East India Company (de Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or VOC) identified in recent years around Scotland, the others being the Kennemerlandt (HU67SE 8001), the Lastdrager (HP50SW 8001) of 1653 and the Adelaar (NF60NE 8002) of 1728. The Hollandia (1743) and the Amsterdam (1749) have been recorded in the Isles of Scilly and on Hastings beach, Sussex, and two others, the Batavia (1629) and the Middleburg (1781) off Western Australia and near Cape Town, South Africa, respectively. De Liefde was the first of the Scottish examples to be discovered (in 1964); substantial numbers of artifacts were subsequently recovered (by A Bax) and examined in 1972 (by C Martin).

De Liefde ('The Love') was the third ship of that name to be owned by the VOC, and was laid down in the Company's Amsterdam yard in 1698. She was built to the standard dimensions of 166 (English) feet (50m) length between perpendiculars and 44ft (13m) beam. Her cargo capacity was registered as 250 lasten (about 500 tonnes). Forty guns were carried: ten iron 2-pounders, two bronze 8-pounders, eighteen iron 12-pounders and ten smaller pieces (some of them swivelling). The two bronze guns were probably mounted under the half-deck near the compass, as was common VOC practice.

The ship made three successful return voyages to the East Indies between 1701 and 1710 and left Texel on the fourth on 3 November 1711, in company with two smaller VOC ships. The crew of about 300 (including about 100 VOC soldiers) was under the command of B Muijkens. Her stranding at night on Mio Ness is recorded in the Resolution Book of the Amsterdam Chamber of the VOC, but the circumstances remain unclear; there was only one survivor. The VOC organised an immediate and unsuccessful attempt to recover the specie by diving. In the early 18th century, Jacob Row and William Irvine used primitive 'chambers' or 'engines' to the same end, with some success.

In 1964, Eric Giles, John and Peter Bannon, and divers from HMS Shoulton identified the wreck site at its traditional site of Dregging Geo, to the NE of Mio Ness and NE of Finger Reef. This name presumably reflects the local practice of dragging the seabed with a grappling hook or 'clam'. The wreck was found to be dispersed, with no hull structure surviving within a narrowing gully above a confused and kelp-covered seabed of shingle and boulders, down to a depth of about 14m.

In 1966-8, the main area of interest ('Silver Gully') was surveyed photogrammetrically by I Morrison and excavation was undertaken within this area. The artifacts were typically concreted within a thick black sulphide matrix, which formed a crust about 30mm across the gully. Pieces of concreted matrix were separated by explosives and recovered by airlift; the embedded artifacts were generally in good condition but unstable. All artifacts recovered were deposited in the (Shetland) County Museum, where they were conserved.

The artifacts recovered may be divided between five classes:

The ship and her armament were represented only by one iron gun (recovered in 1964 but since lost), quantities of round- and bar-shot in various calibres, and fragments of the ship's bell. This last apparently bore the inscription SOLI * DEO * GLORIA * 170 [presumably 1700 or 1701]. A piece of copper sheet may have formed part of the galley hotplate, and the hull itself is represented by fragments of wood, shreds of canvas, and wrought iron nails.

The ship's stores are represented only by a 5-pound sounding lead of standard form.

Equipment issued by the VOC for 'official' use on board is frequently difficult to distinguish from that intended for 'personal' use. Soldiers' and military equipment of recognisable VOC issue is represented by part of a musket stock and a brass buckle of a type associated with a musketeer's cartridge-case belt. Domestic items of VOC issue must include A-VOC inscribed table spoons and a numbered and inscribed iron and lead weight, bearing a certificate date of 1711.

Personal possessions recovered were few in number and comprised mainly small artifacts of common types: clay pipes, thimbles, pins, beads, buckles and coins. A brass shoe-buckle of typical 18th century form and a fine silver sword hilt are more noteworthy; the latter bears an Amsterdam hallmark.

The greatest interest attaches to the cargo, which is recorded as including specie to the value of between 227, 000 and 700,000 guilders, mostly in the form of silver ducatons. The ship was also carrying a consignment of newly-minted gold ducats and copper dubbele stuivers, as well as, probably, gold and silver bars. Much of the treasure was recovered during the early salvage operations, but the recent expedition found over 4000 coins, including 3300 newly-minted ducatons of Utrecht in a chest in 'Silver Gully'. Much of the cargo was of a more everyday character, and includes such agricultural goods as cherry stones (from seed for the developing farms of the Cape). Fragments of clay pipes and square-bottomed green glass bottles with characteristic pewter tops were found widely. Other pewter objects found included spoons of various kinds and several small shallow dishes. Many handles of wood, horn and pressed bone were found, as were varied smaller objects, including thimbles, buttons, pins, buckles, beads, furniture fittings, nails and padlocks. Pottery is represented by sherds of salt-glazed stoneware and fine Delft ware. Crucibles of graphite and stoneware found in scallop-dredging nearby and now in Shetland County Museum may also have come from the wreck.

A Bax and C Martin 1974; K Muckelroy 1978; K Muckelroy 1980b; J P Delgado 1997; C Martin 1998.

This wreck remains under excavation by Mr R Price (Alyth), who has retained all the artifacts found since 1987. Prior to that date, many artifacts were sold at auction and others ('hundreds') were acquired by the Shetland Museum. These await listing and formal accession.

NMRS, MS/829/65.

Material reported under RoW amnesty (2001):

A4436 25 silver ducatons, 1 lead container.

NMRS, MS/829/77.

It is unclear whether the items reported under RoW amnesty were found during the excavations or were a later discovery, possibly loose on the seabed and not in direct association.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 24 September 2003.

NMRS, MS/829/77.

The wreck was visited by Wessex Archaeology between the 16th and 29th August 2003 under a contract for archaeological services issued by Historic Scotland in relation to the Protection of Wrecks Act (1973). Diving was hampered by strong winds; a total time of 130 minutes dive time was achieved.

The wreck site is believed to lie in two portions. The area of original (1964) discovery (the 'Inshore Site') is located at N60 24.616 W0 47.712 [HU 6635 7014] (WGS-84). The location of a recently-discovered further area (the 'Offshore Site') remains unknown, but a licence application (by Mr RA Price) apparently remains outstanding.

No archaeological remains were observed, but the site is both subject to heavy tidal flows and also extremely vulnerable to gales from the E and SE. Buried structural elements may survive at the (deeper) Offshore Site.

(Detailed recommendations are made; the history of the ship is summarised. Illustrations include location map and seabed photographs).

MS/2781.

(Record re-entered as HU67SE 8011). The location cited by Wessex is at variance with that previously assigned to this record. That cited by Wessex appears to be correct, and is accepted. This location only defines the 'Inshore Site'; the location of the 'Offshore Site' remains unclear.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 19 March 2007.

Activities

Reference (2011)

Whittaker ID : 350

Name : DE LIEFDE

Latitude : 602440

Longitude : 4737

Registration : DUTCH

Type : 40-GUN EAST-INDIAMAN

Tonnage : 500

Tonnage Code : D

Length : 45

Beam : 12

Position : Position Approximate

Loss Day : 8

Loss Month : 11

Loss Year : 1711

Comment : Wrecked on Stoura Stack, SE point of Housay.

Reference (19 April 2012)

UKHO Identifier : 000110

Feature Class : Wreck

State : LIVE

Classification : Unclassified

Position (Lat/long) : 60.41111,-0.79361

Horizontal Datum : ORDNANCE SURVEY OF GREAT BRITAIN (1936)

WGS84 Position (Lat/long) : 60.41057,-0.79562

WGS84 Origin : 3-D Cartesian Shift (BW)

Position Quality : Unreliable

Depth Quality : Depth unknown

Water Depth : 1

Vertical Datum : Lowest Astronomical Tide

Name : DE LIEFDE

Type : SV

Flag : DUTCH

Cargo : INCL'D GOLD AND SILVER

Date Sunk : 07/11/1711

Contact Description : None reported

Original Sensor : None reported

Last Sensor : None reported

Original Detection Year : 1967

Last Detection Year : 1968

Original Source : Other

Last Source : Other

Surveying Details : **DUTCH COINS FOUND WASHED ASHORE BY SAC DIVERS IN AUGUST 1965. COINS DATED FROM 1634 TO 1711 AND BELIEVED TO BE FROM THE DUTCH SHIP DE LIEFDE WHICH SANK IN 1711. (N/CP.58596/66 REFERS) THIS REPORT GIVEN BY THE RECEIVER OF WRECKS SHETLANDS TO LLOYDS. IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT FURTHER INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE NAUTICAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND, GEORGE FORTH BRIDGE, EDINBURGH 1.

**H1183/67 12.7.67 24 COINS WITH DATES RANGING FROM 1648 TO 1711 RECOVERED FROM THE WK OF THE DE LIEFDE. (HMS DELIGHT, 6.7.67)

**H3542/68 26.1.68 THE REMAINS OF THE WRECK OF THE DE LIEFDE ARE TO BE FOUND ON THE SOUTHERN-MOST TIP OF THE ISLAND OF HOUSAY, IN THE OUT SKERRIES. THEY LIE IN A CLEFT, CALLED DREGGING GEOS, JUST SOUTH OF BOLLOMOS GEA, ON THE PENINSULA CALLED MIONESS. DE LIEFDE SANK DURING NIGHT 7/8 NOVEMBER 1711. THERE WAS ONLY ONE RECORDED SURVIVOR AND HE STAYED WITH A LOCAL FAMILY FOR ABOUT 12 MONTHS BEFORE BEING TAKEN OFF THE ISLAND. CARGO INCLUDED 227,000 GUILDERS IN BAGS [VALUE IN 1711: 22,000 POUNDS]. OF THESE SOME 2000 GUILDERS WERE SALVED BY THE LOCAL INHABITANTS DURING THE YEAR OF THE SHIP SANK. THERE WERE ALSO 3 CHESTS, EACH CONTAINING 16 BAGS OF SILVER DUCATS [900 COINS], 8 BAGS OF GOLD DUCATS [900 COINS], AND 8 BAGS OF GUILDERS. VESSEL WAS ALSO SAID TO CARRY GOLD AND SILVER BARS. (R EDMONDS) POSN 602440N, 004737W FOR FILING ONLY.

POSITIONS BELOW THIS POINT ARE IN DEGREES, MINUTES AND DECIMALS OF A MINUTE

Charting Comments : POSN FOR FILING ONLY

Date Last Amended : 13/12/2000

References

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