Mariner’s Marvellous Magazine

An intriguing item in the Caird Library rare book collection: ‘The Mariners' Marvellous Magazine : or wonders of the ocean : containing the most remarkable adventures and relations of mariners in various parts of the globe’ was begging to be introduced.   

by Penny Allen, Librarian (Systems and Serials)

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Title page of The Mariner's Marvellous Magazine (PBB4802)
Title page of The Mariner's Marvellous Magazine (PBB4802)

For example, in Volume One, the first article is titled: “Shipwreck and Death of Lord Royston in the Agatha, commanded by Captain Koop [n.d.]” including “The Loss of the Portuguese Ship Bowaniong, June 17 1807.” The article about the shipwreck of the Agatha also lists the names of those seamen lost, so these little articles can provide some interesting content. 

Volume Three contains an article: “Loss of the Thames Smack Captain Craggy […] Feb. 8, 1809, […] as well as: “Also the sufferings of Alexander Selkirk, Who was left on a desolate Island, On which the Story of Robinson Crusoe is founded.”

For your reading pleasure and research purposes, listed are the names of the vessels found within each article:

H.M.S. vessels 

Admiral Trowbridge, Agatha, Anson, Apollo, Bounty, Boyne, Cato, Centaur, Crescent, Fanny, Guardian, Industry, Lark, Litchfield, Phoenix, Porpoise, Resistance, Royal George, St. Lawrence, Sceptre, Sidney, Sympathy, Tay and Ville de Paris.  

East Indiamen 

Earl of Abergavenny, Hindostan, Halsewell, Doddington,  Fattysalam, Ganges Grosvenor Travers, Sparrow-Hawk and Winterton.  

Frigate and Man of War

Amphion and Wager


Antelope, Duke of Cumberland and Lady Hobart.  Shipwreck of the Countess de Bourke

Exceptions are foreign vessels: the Bowaniong, Hercules, La Thetis, New Hoorn, Occum Shamnan, Prince and St.Peter. These vessels are from Russia, France, America, and Dutch East India, as well as from Siam.

Also found throughout the four volume set are accounts of the captains (sometimes with a mention of their wives) the crew, their adventures and also interactions with the indigenous peoples they encounter. Some of the accounts are very descriptive and almost too hard to read as they offer a very graphic depiction of the events as they occurred.

The beginning of an article within volume three
The beginning of an article within volume three (Item ID: PBB4802)

The articles include illustrations which although a fair portrayal of the event, I would deem many of them as having a generous artist’s licence. As well, the articles seem to be accounts or reflections after the fact, and although possibly provided by the persons involved, the accuracy of the exact event cannot be guaranteed.

These ‘Marvellous Magazines’ would be useful to anyone researching the ships named as well as for those interested in an account of a wreck or what British Navy officers faced when travelling to foreign lands. Searching for names of ships in the library collection will soon be made easier thanks to a special transcription project currently underway. Be sure to click on the Catalogue Record tab in the results for more information. Many thanks to Sue our Library Volunteer for help with this article!

If you would like to investigate any of these articles, please order the item from our library catalogue