The Knight Of The Garter (from The Voyages of Charles Teft Laurence)

Laurence had been discharged from his previous ship, Comorin on 20 December 1878.  He may have had time to celebrate Christmas and New Year at home in Bromley St Leonard, London with his wife Catherine and his one year and ten months old daughter Elizabeth. A few weeks later he stepped aboard the Knight of the Garter as first mate.

The Knight was owned by Greenshields, Cowie & Co. and built by the well-known firm of Thomas Royden & Son, Liverpool, and was launched from their Liverpool shipyard in October 1877.  The first ship of the Knight line to be built she was 233 feet long, with a beam of  37.9 feet and and holds 22.8 depth of  feet and with a gross weight of 1493 and net of 1433.  She had three masts, and was ship rigged.  She was constructed of  iron, had 2 decks and 1 cemented bulkhead. Her Code number – that is, the sequence of flags she flew to identify herself to shore stations or passing ships – was WVCT.  The National Museums of Liverpool have extensive Roydens records. Built for the jute trade she had a good turn of speed, that was to become apparent after my ancestors employment as mate.


I have an inward document for when the ship completed the voyage to Sydney from London. Laurence is listed as first mate. The master was James Hammond, aged 48 from Bristol whose Master Mariners certificate was number 33753. He had been Master of her since 1878. George Maitland, age 23 from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire was second mate on the voyage. His Master  Mariners certificate number was  03295 and had previously served on the Ben Nevis.

The crew had to be on the ship by noon on 27 January 1879. On the same trip esconced in the ships saloon was a Mr Greenshields. He could well have been Robert Low Greenshields of the ships owners Greenshields, Cowie and Co.

Laurence was to receive £8.00 a calendar month, and £4.00 went to Catherine and his daughter. As with the Comorin voyages he was the second best paid on the voyage.  The Knight left London on 29 January 1879  arriving in Sydney, NSW on 19 May 1879 with cases of goods, valued at £68, 700. What was in these cases?  An advert in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River Advertiser for 10 May 1879 provides a clue: P. Capper & Sons, Maitland, and Capper Bros & Co. Newcastle. The Following Goods Are Invoiced To Arrive During The Present Month

Ex Knight of the Garter from London.

19 cases Gunpowder, in 1 and 1/2 lb flasks, FFF, Glass, Rifle, C and H diamond with . in Centre; 2 cases Square Black and Threaded Nuts; 8 cases of Looking Glasses, assorted; 6 Steel-faced Anvils; 4 Keys Sharp Point Gutter Brackets; 1 case Horse Rasps; 1 case Files, assorted: Taser Saw, half round and (illegible); 1 Cask Copper Rings and Washers, Galvanised Cone-Head Screws for O.G.Guttering; 1 case “Turkey” Stones; 1 case “Brakes” Patent Scythes; 3 bundles Spades, C.P. Black Sockets and N.P.; 3 Bundles Rib Spades, No.s 1,2 and 3, extra long and extra side strap riveted; 1 cask cut Tacks, assorted; 1 case coach lamps, deep bell fronts, 9 in. across; 3 cases of Bedsteads 6 1/2 x 41/2, 3 and 23/4 feet, assorted copies and patterns; 1 case Polished Snaffle Bits No.52 and 2: Stir-raps (Cradle Bottoms), Tulip Shovels, Screw and Drive Bell Carriages; Brass Cocks, Japanned Door Springs, assorted; 1 cask Polishing Black Lead Brushes, Water and Sweeps Brushes, Dram Bottles and Cups (Leather Cards), Plain and Plated Box Spoke Shaves, Screwed; 1 case coppered sofa springs,7,8,9,10 in. ; 1 case Foot lathes No. 321,36 and 42 in. Beds; Gut Drawing Bands, with hooks and eyes; 2 Crates Fenders, assorted; Assortment Camp Ovens and Covers; 1 case “Kley’s” C.F.Revolver Cartridges; 1 case chipping hoes; 1 case “Prices” Carriage Candles; 2 cases Bentalls Chaff Cutters; 1 case Dram Bottles and Cups; Meat Covers 12,14,16, 20 in; 6 Kips Chamois Leather; 1120 Bore BBH Iron; 20 Bundles Sheet Iron, 6 x 3 feet, 12,10,14,16,18, 209; 20 cases Gospel Oak Galvanised Corrugated Iron. Further adverts in the Sydney Morning Herald that appeared as the ship unloaded show the wide variety of goods the Knight brought into Sydney:
She left Sydney on 11 July 1879 with 7040 tons of coal for Balfour, Guthrie & Co., unloading at San Francisco. Arriving at this port on 12th September, 16 ABs deserted so another 16 ABs were engaged.  According to the daily newspaper Alta California of 29 October 1879, she left San Francisco laden with wheat for Europe arriving in Liverpool 2nd March 1880.


She left Liverpool on 10 April 1880 with more or less the same crew as the previous voyage. She gave herself less than a month to prepare for it. There was a new cook and boatswain. She arrived in Calcutta on 27 July. I can find no newspapers that detail the cargo. Outward it may have been machinery, coal, rails or cement, and homeward from India cotton, jute, rice and linseed. 4 ABs were discharged, and 4 engaged. She left  on 8 September and arriving in Hull on 24 December 1880. In the Bill of Duty for Hull it lists the inward goods as linseed, scrap iron and iron turnings for Moran and Sanderson.


She left North Shields February 21 1881. Again, the Captain was James Hammond. Laurence had to be on the ship by 6 February at 4 a.m. The new Second mate was Henry Wright, aged 20, from Whitby, certificate No. 06681.    An account of the voyage is chronicled in the Daily Alta California of 31 July 1881. At this point she was 152 days from North Shields; 2152 tons coal, 10 tons pig iron to Balfour, Guthrie & Co. Her journey is described in the same papers ‘memoranda’ section, the date of departure differs from the crew agreement: Sailed Feb 10; passed Start Point on the 17th; crossed equator March 9th, lon 27W; passed 50S in Atlantic April 19th, lon 6518W; passed through the Straits of Le Maire and passed 50S in Pacific May 7th, lon 80W; crossed equator June 5th., lon 115W; had fair run to lat of Rio; thence to 40S was 40 days, with light baffling winds and calms; had the usual Cape Horn weather, and thence to the equator had fair weather; was 30 days from 50S to the equator, and from thence to 20N was 28 days with light northerly and calms; thence to 30N moderate NE Trades; thence took westerly winds and on the 10th inst. had heavy northerly gale, during which split some sails. On April 12th lat 40S, lon 59W, saw Br. ship Oriflamme, from London to San Francisco; she had been in company for a week previous. Arrived San Francisco 12 July 1881, left 25 August, 1881. An account of the first part of the voyage is in the Sydney Morning Herald dated Saturday September 13, 1881. Sailed July 14th (?); passed north capes of New Zealand on the 19th. Carried westerly winds to the meridian of 180, thence to 150W, had N.E. winds, had moderate SE trades well to eastward; 60 miles West of Tahiti; lost the SE trades in lat 7N; got the NE trades in lat 10N, well to the eastward, passed 500 to the eastward of Sandwich Islands; thence had fresh westerly winds to the 9th inst. then a strong NNW gale and heavy sea, lasting 25 hours, during which sustained considerable damage about decks; had heavy NW sea for the past 10 days.   No clue as to cargo, but it may have again been wheat.   Sydney Morning Herald 28 May p.11
of the
have just opened a splendid assortment of Fancy Wool Goods, now on sale. Operettes, in white and coloured; Salisbury Capes, Shetland Wrap Tippets, Squares, Shawls, and every imagi-
nable Style and shape. These goods are exceptionally cheap,
being personally selected, but owing to the tedious passage of the Knight of the Garter, in which they were, they must he cleared
out, and at once. They have been marked very low to effect this
White Wool Operettes
White Carriage Rolls
White and Coloured Wraps.
of the Haymarket. Arrived Belfast 29 December 1881.


Departed Liverpool, 21 February 1882, bound for Calcutta. Returned Hull 27th November 1882. Again no newspaper evidence of the cargo but it may have been as described for voyage two. In the Bill of Duty for 28th November 1882 the inward cargo us listed as linseed for Moran and Sanderson.


As to her later life, on one occasion, she raced her sister ship Knight of the Thistle launched April 1878 home from the colonies to arrive at Falmouth within three hours of each other after a passage of 88 days. She was credited with 99 days from Portland, Oregon, to Kinsale Head in 1892 and two years later 79 days from Valparaiso to New York. In 1896 the decision was taken to sell her. Auctioned at Cardiff in 1897 she was bought by G.B.  and F. Razeto, Genoa, realising £5,400 and renamed Papa Emanuele. In 1902, bought by G.B. Figaro and A. Razeto, Genoa. 1907, bought by Armanino, Sanguinetti and Co. , Montevideo, renamed Montevideo. In 1912 bought by B. Savona fu G, Tapani, renamed Gaspare S. In 1917 she was reduced to a barque and in 1918 bought by E.N. Guglielmo fu F, Genoa. In 1919 by G.B.A. Piaggio, Genoa, who fitted her with an auxiliary steam engine.  Finally in 1923 bought by Armatori Riuniti Liguri-Lombardi, Genoa. In 1923 she was broken up.

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