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The Wreck at Sharpnose Point

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  37 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
This is a captivating mystery of the best kind - the sort that really happened. While walking through a cliff-top graveyard in the village of Morwenstow on the coast of Cornwall, Jeremy Seal stumbled across a wooden figurehead which once adorned the Caledonia, a ship wrecked on the coast below in 1842. Through further investigation, he began to suspect the locals, and in p ...more
Published March 1st 2003 by Pan MacMillan (first published 2001)
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Jeremy Seal excels at constructing fine tales on seemingly flimsy premises: his fear of snakes was the springboard for the harrowing Snakebite Survivors' Club, for example, while a quest for a fez unfolded into the wonderful cultural travel book, A Fez of the Heart. I enjoyed both of these books so much that I put Seals on my "Promising Contemporary Authors" watch list and bought this earlier work from a used book seller.

Then, as is so often the case, the book sat on my groaning "to read" shelf

"She stood beneath oaks and sycamores on high ground, close to the lych-gate and the stone outhouse that formed the graveyard's southeast corner. A train of celandines lay at her feet. She was dressed in a tam-o'-shanter and a sporran, and held a cutlass and a round shield on which a flowering thistle was carved. A sash hung from her left shoulder, and beneath it was a glimpse of chain like mermaid scales. Painted white she was almost life-size."

On a trip to Morwenstow, England, Jeremy Seal find
Kevin Tole
Jul 26, 2011 Kevin Tole rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
The figurehead of the Caledonia, wrecked on the North Cornwall coast, marks the mass grave of the crewmen of whom all but one perished when the ship was wrecked at Higher Sharpnose Point close to Morwenstow church. This brings the very Reverend Hawker into the story. A Cornish eccentric who wrote his sermons, poetry and many writings in a wooden hut made from salvaged timbers high on the cliff above Vicarage Cliff.

To anyone that knows the area and the church at Morwenstow this book represents t
Mar 30, 2008 Durdles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
A wonderful read. I didn't expect to but I loved the combination of the painstaking detective work involved and the fictionalised account of what might have (surely did?) happened to the ship and its crew. The deft way that the story is interwoven with the known facts brought the whole tragedy of the sailors and their ship to life. My favourite read of 2007.
Update March 2011: I have now been to Morwenstow in Cornwall to see the grave and the figurehead. It was a drizzly, misty and generally awf
Sep 02, 2013 Kayla rated it liked it
Entertaining and engaging, but not entirely history by any means. Half of the book is the author making discoveries and talking to people, his own discovery of information, and the tools that he used. The other half is his fictionalized account of how events might have happened, from the prospective of the lone survivor of the wreck.
Mar 18, 2014 Emma rated it it was amazing
I read this book several years ago while staying on the north Devon coast. I've not forgotten the pleasure I had from reading it and recommend it to all and sundry. It is a fascinating and worthwhile read.
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May 02, 2011 Saturday's Child rated it really liked it
A great read.
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Sep 13, 2014 Penny Holt rated it liked it
Good story with an excellent description of how to do research.
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Jeremy Seal is a writer and broadcaster. His first book, A Fez of the Heart, was shortlisted for the 1995 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. He is also the author of The Snakebite Survivors' Club and The Wreck at Sharpnose Point, and presenter of Channel 4's ‘Wreck Detectives’. He lives in Bath with his wife and daughters.
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