Tankard awarded to Cornish shipwreck hero fetches £8k

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Cup awarded to Henry Cuttance by the King of NorwayImage source, W H Lane & Son
Image caption,
Henry Cuttance was a well known smuggler and landlord of the Ship Inn, Gunwalloe

A tankard awarded to a smuggler and pub landlord for his "brave and noble actions" following a shipwreck has been sold at auction for £8,100.

The Norwegian ship Elizabeth Bergen smashed into cliffs at Gunwalloe, Cornwall, during a storm in 1846.

Three crew members were killed but Henry Cuttance, landlord of the Ship Inn rescued the ship's master and three other men.

The King of Norway rewarded his bravery with a silver mug.

Graham Bazley, of Penzance auctioneers WH Lane, said the tankard achieved well in excess of the guide price of £5,500 after "fierce telephone bidding".

'Smashed to matchsticks'

The Elizabeth Bergen was wrecked on 20 November 1846 while carrying a cargo of salt back to Norway.

As the vessel tried to weather the storm off Cornwall's south coast it was blown aground at the base of the cliffs in Gunwalloe and, according to reports at the time, was "smashed to matchsticks" within half an hour.

Mr Cuttance hauled three of the ship's company and its master from the wreckage before sending out a search party to look for survivors.

On finding three more men cowering at the bottom of the cliffs, Mr Cuttance and his helpers lowered hot coffee and bread to the stranded men while they prepared a chair on a rope to haul them to safety in a 10-hour operation.

Image source, W H Lane & Son
Image caption,
Henry Cuttance's ledger of smuggled goods was among the items sold

In recognition of Mr Cuttance's heroism the King of Norway presented him with a silver tankard.

It was auctioned earlier along with a number of other items from Mr Cuttance's colourful life, including a ledger detailing his stock and sales of smuggled goods which included cheese, brandy and bales of cotton.