Nautical Mantel


Would you like a nautical theme in your design? Blake and Vicki Daley of Amherst, Nova Scotia included a cool piece of maritime history in their renovation. The mantel over the fireplace in their den is part of a beam from a 19th century sailing ship. The ship foundered on the New Brunswick coast somewhere near Cote Saint Ann and Richibucto around the mid 1800’s. Blake sent along some pictures and this description.
The beam is chamfered on the bottom leading ledge (under the writing) suggesting it was over a stairway leading below deck. Lloyds of London as well as other insurers had been insisting that ships could no longer allow more persons on board than the ship could safely handle. Just like in modern elevators today, a limit of how many people could occupy a given space had to be posted. In the 19th century, that meant someone would carve the words into the beam. This beam is hand carved with, “Certified to Accommodate 11 Seamen”, and is likely associated with a focsle or sleeping quarters.

The story continues that as soon as the ship foundered, locals descended and scavenged (or more properly salvaged) everything of value. Metal, rope, pulleys, planks and beams were prized. This beam made it’s way into a barn in the Shippagan, New Brunswick area. The barn stood for 70 plus years before it was demolished. This photograph doesn’t show very well but there are square spikes in the top. These spikes have been bent over for unknown reasons. The spikes are from the time when the beam was part of the barn. The Daleys felt the spikes told part of the story so they remain in place today (you can just barely see one on the left end of the mantel). There are three more (two under the painting and one under the light brown piece of crockery).

To the right of that piece of crockery are the Red Port and Green Starboard running lights of a boat the Daley family sailed but which exploded and burnt in 1964 at the Oromocto, New Brunswick wharf. Blake purchased them back from locals who salvaged them so there is one more item on the theme of ship salvage.

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About The Contributor

Blake Daley lives in Amherst, Nova Scotia with his wife Vicki, and is a well known businessman. Blake has a wealth of knowledge of the area and it’s local history. Blake and some friends just completed a circumnavigation of Nova Scotia in a fishing boat that took the better part of a month sometimes battling twelve foot waves.