As previously mentioned on other pages, and as would be expected from an environment such as Lundys', there have been countless wrecks recorded around the area. It can be appreciated that for the many hundreds of years of maritime activity before such records exist, the island was a considerable and effective hazard, and the true number of losses will never be known.
Nonetheless, Lundy has terrific diving and this activity has uncovered much evidence. Stone cannon balls have been retrieved from the late 16th century, the earliest physical evidence.
The earliest identified wreck is the Marie, a collier that was lost in1757. The Jane was run ashore in 1792, to prevent loss of life and to salvage at least some of her cargo. Just 4 years later, the Wye was lost along with all her crew.
One of the more famous was the Jenny, lost in the cove halfway up the west side that now bears her name. She was carrying a precious cargo of Ivory and Gold dust, evidence of which still turns up from time to time.
The most famous of all though, is the HMS Montagu. A fine naval vessel of 14,000 tons, launched in 1901 at a high cost of a million pounds,she had seen less than 3 years service when in a typical Lundy Fog, she hit the Shutter Rock at the south west corner of the island, although without loss of life. As a result of a navigational error, a small party left the ship and rowed the length of the Island to report to the astonished keeper at the North lighthouse. (They were a matter of hundreds of yards from the South light when they left the ship!). They were convinced that they had actually beached south of Hartland on the mainland - to the extent that an argument ensued when the keeper advised them otherwise. They were unwilling to consider they were 15 miles or so from where they thought.
The Montagu Steps: cut into the granite during the salvaging of HMS Montagu
Wrecks are less common these days, as a result of better navigational aids, and more sadly the drop in traffic. However, there are still incidents: the wreckage of the Kaaksburg, wrecked near Brazen Ward in 1980, is still visible from the sea.