One of the things that really amazed me the other day at Bucklers Hard was the strong connection to some ships which are in the annals of history as far as our country is concerned. In WW2, it was a base for motor torpedo boats and I'll reach more into that at a later date. But what really caught my eye in the little museum, which by the way, I thoroughly recommend, were all the ships associated with Nelson's and the battle of Trafalgar. The Agamemnon. The Euryalus. The Swiftsure. Then there was the Illustrious. These are all famous ships. Most readers will know about the Battle of Trafalgar. The end of a campaign when we British tried to stop Bonaparte from invading our fair lands. The various fleets met off Cape Trafalgar in south west Spain in a battle that lasted some five hours, saw the French and Spanish defeated and our favourite admiral killed by a sniper shot. I think from this last major sea battle, the British Navy went on to rule the waves for another hundred years.
This was a Buckler's Hard ship.
The Euryalus was a 36 gun ship and a Bucklers hard ship to boot. If I remember correctly she was built in 1806 or 1807 and commanded by Henry Blackwood. Trying to recall what I read at the museum (note to self.....next time buy a guide....idiot!), I don't think she actually fought at the battle but she did spend much time reporting the movements of the Franco Spanish fleet movements to Nelson at Cadiz harbour. I vaguely recall reading somewhere hat she also served as quarters for the French admiral Villeneurve after his own ship sank; I also think she may have been the flag ship of Collingwood as well after his own ship was dismasted or sunk. Euryalus went on to serve in the Mediterranean and North America and forgive me friends over the other side of the pond, but I think she took part in the destruction of Fort Washington as well......sorry guys!
Anyway, side tracked here, sorry, since the post was meant to be about Bucklers Hard. As far as I can remember, Bucklers Hard stats with the second Duke of Montagu, John. He owned the Beaulieu estate and wanted to build a free port for the import and export of sugar from the West Indies. Since George 1st had taken it upon himself to grant the islands of St. Vincent and St. Lucia to the Duke of Montagu and the said Duke decided to mount an expedition to said islands to set up sugar plantations, I guess it made sense. Imagine the shock then when the expedition captain Nathaniel Uring arrived to discover the islands had been colonised and claimed by he French!
Back at Beaulieu, woodland had been cleared and a 25m wide street built down to the quay at the river's edge. Houses had been built either side, a prospectus drawn up, plans for salt house, bah houses, chapel and storehouses drawn. Plots of land were for sale on a 99 year lease but I can't remember how much for .........5 - 7 schillings rings a bell.
Sadly there wasn't much interest and with no sugar coming from the Windies, well Montagu Town never got built!