Cardiff Garrison to Visit Medieval Ship Project


The medieval, living-history re-enactment society, The Cardiff Castle Garrison will be demonstrating fourteenth century weapons, armour and crafts at the Medieval Ship Centre on Saturday 20 August.

This should be a fascinating day to complement the regular displays at the Ship Centre and give an amazing insight into medieval life and times.

It’s free to come in, but we welcome donations towards the running of the exhibition and support of the Medieval Ship project. We will be open from 10.30am until 4.00pm – we look forward to seeing you there.

Building the Discovery Box


Just at the end of the last financial year, Newport City Cllr Miqdad Al-Nuami allocated £250 from his neighbourhood fund specifically for the creation of a discovery box as an attraction and activity for our younger visitors.

Now this is finally under construction and will be finished off over the next week, filled with play sand and treasures hidden within.  Our younger visitors can then get stuck in and dig deep to find what lies beneath the surface.  It could be pottery, coins, or something marvellous!

DiscoveryBoxBuild (1)DiscoveryBoxBuild (3)

Special thanks to Tristram Booth, our tame carpenter who has put this together and will be putting on the final touches in the next week or so.

So what will your children find?  How will they describe each object and guess at its origins, its age and its purpose?  Adventures lie ahead – just in time for the school holidays!

Come along and have a go!  We would love to see you at the Medieval Ship Centre on one of our regular open days – every Friday and Saturday until the end of October.  Check our website for details (

If you can come along and help supervise any of these activities with younger children, we would love to hear from you.  Contact for more details.

HMS Severn visits the Newport Medieval Ship Project


HMS Severn, a River-class offshore protection vessel visited Newport last weekend. The ship is affiliated with the City of Newport and visits every year to further cement this relationship.  As part of this annual visit, the ship hosts a Reception and Capability Display to entertain their honoured guests and explain the duties that the ship performs.

During this reception, Phil Cox (Chairman of FoNS) and Charles Ferris (Patron) presented the Commanding Officer, officers and ship’s company with a framed print of our treasured Peter Power painting of the Newport Medieval Ship shown off Brean Down in the Severn estuary.


l-r: S/Lt Isaac Salt, Jean Grey (FoNS), Lt Chris Poulson and Lt Paul Coyne


This print will be displayed in the wardroom along with a magnificent silver model of an early interpretation of our Ship, which shows the ‘minimum construction’ hull form, but only shows a single mast.  More recent modelling of our Ship and her sailing characteristics confirm that the Newport Medieval Ship would have had 3 masts as now displayed on the print.


The silver model was commissioned by the wardroom of HMS Severn and created by Langford’s Silversmiths of Chancery Lane.  We are very pleased HMS Severn chose our Ship as a subject for their wardroom silver, and we are very jealous!

Three officers from HMS Severn were able to visit the Medieval Ship Centre on Saturday, and returned the favour on Sunday by entertaining their hosts on board.


The Newport Medieval Ship Centre is open every Friday, Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday until the end of October 2016.  Come down and hear the story of how our Basque-built ship came to Newport and never left!  Check our web site for more details (

Sole to Soul: happy first anniversary MSC!


By early 2015, the Newport Medieval Ship Project had moved from the Ship Conservation Centre, at Maesglas, and had arrived at, if not settled fully into, the present Medieval Ship Centre (MSC) at Queensway Meadows. The new smaller unit was empty and stark, void and solitary. And clearly, it could not host the large open days enjoyed at the more spacious Maesglas site: the three remaining PEG tanks occupied a majority of the usable floor area.


Tank 3 (pictured above) was to be transported to the York Archaeological Trust for freeze-drying on 19 Jun 15. This made usable the space in front of Tanks 2 and 1 (visible under red covers on the right of the picture). A committee decision was taken to open to the public, on a smaller basis, a week after the departure of Tank 3 and regularly from that date – 26 Jun 15. No pressure, then.

Major construction work by the Newport’s Museum staff and the Newport Transporter Bridge team had created the insulated Timber Store and the (retail) Cabin, and then FoNS Work Parties started on 28 May 15 with reconstruction of the displays and designing the exhibition.  FoNS persevered and the doors were rolled up for the first regular Open Day, on time on Friday 26 Jun 15. FoNS has been in a process of continual improvement (management-speak for the learning from, and the correcting of, deficiencies) since then: but we seem to be succeeding in transforming our working industrial unit from a place of conservation to a place which heralds a new Heritage Attraction for Newport. And don’t believe me: believe our Visitors’ comments in our Visitors’ Book.Visitors 18jun2016

It is a delight that, at the time of writing  (20 Jun 2016) and one year on, we have had our most successful regular open Fri/Sat (pictured below on Sat 18 Jun 16) with the focus firmly on the spirit and soul of the future – re-construction and display.

As of now, we have only just shy of 1,000 visitors through our doors this calendar year.  That’s 2,258 since opening our doors just one year ago.

Many thanks to all those who made this possible in the first place, and to those who continue to make it happen every week.

If you feel that you can come and join us, as a ‘Friend’ of the Ship, or as a volunteer, or to help drive our project forward, we would love to hear from you.  Contact our chairman, Phil Cox by email or call or text to him on 07411 149678.

Len Lloyd Donates Collection of Ships in Bottles


Old friend of the Newport Ship, Len Lloyd, now 88 years old, has spent years creating a fabulous collection of Ships in bottles.  When our Newport Medieval Ship was first discovered, Len was asked to create a model which he did – and it has been out on display in the Ship Centre since we moved to our new premises nearly 18 months ago. Prior to that it had been stored away and only brought out on special occasions.Len Lloyd (1)Len has been having a tidy up at home, and asked whether he could donate some of his Ships in Bottles to the Friends of Newport Ship.  Many of these have previously displayed in a special exhibition at the Newport Museum & Art Gallery.

FoNS are pleased to accept these and we will display them ‘in rotation’ in our limited display space.

Just a reminder…. FoNS are hosting ‘Art @ The Ship this coming Saturday 14 May, and will be receiving a new original oil painting ‘The Ship Aground’ from the Community Arts Society Wales, and will also be showing a selection of other nautical paintings and prints.

And whilst you have your diary out, check to make sure you are free to come along to our ‘Coleridge in Wales’ event on Saturday 21 May at 7.30pm at the Ship Centre.  It will be a fabulous night of fun, wrapped around the reading of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, with songs, shanties and stories to enliven your evening.  Tickets are just £10 per person, but this includes the prize draw ticket which could win you vouchers for the Celtic Manor, Motorpoint Arena and many other great prizes.  Contact or text 07411 149678 to reserve your places.

FoNS Supporter scoops 1st Prize in Raffle


At the draw this evening in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Civic Centre, the Mayor, Councillor Herbie Thomas drew the winning tickets for the 10 prizes donated by supporters of the Newport Uskmouth Rotary Club.


I’m pleased to announce that the first prize of £500 was won on one of our tickets, number 10444 bought by C Davies from Cardiff  We had another winner on ticket number 08978 bought by Mrs R Roberts. who gets a pair of books donated by the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge.

Many thanks to all those who sold tickets on behalf of FoNS.  Of the 1,900 tickets allocated we sold 1,802, bringing in £1,802 to the FoNS accounts to be used to support the Newport Medieval Ship project.

Special thanks must also go to Newport Uskmouth Rotary Club for organising this, their 9th annual prize draw which this year benefited 37 different charities in Newport netting them over £17,000.  A great result all round!

Desperately Seeking: Secretary and Membership Secretary


Our outgoing Secretary has done a superb job keeping the membership details up to date and has given excellent guidance as Secretary to the Friends, and we are all extremely grateful for her dedicated service over the last 3 years.

We intend to split the role into 2 separate jobs, both of which need to be clearly defined by the committee;

  • Secretary, to include minute taking, FoNS administration and liaison with the Charity Commission, Insurers and all the other bodies with which we have to work
  • Membership Secretary, administering the members database, administering the monies received from subscriptions and donations via EFT, PayPal, cheques and cash. GiftAid also seems to fit under this remit, but involving the Treasurer in many respects.

The Secretary’s role will require regular attendance at Committee Meetings (usually held 4 weekly, on Wednesday evening in Newport) and any new volunteer taking up this role would be co-opted in the first instance and then elected at the next AGM.

The Membership Secretary’s role does not have to involve committee membership, as the majority of work can be done online from anywhere. A fair level of IT literacy is required to manipulate the current database and link it with email, plus have access to the FoNS online accounts.

If you able to consider taking on either of these roles, please contact me soonest to discuss. If there is anybody who you might feel could be enlisted to undertake these duties, then talk to them and then let me know and they can contact me or I can contact them. If anybody has any thoughts about where we can advertise, then let me have your ideas.

Many thanks.  Phil Cox, Chairman, Friends of Newport Ship. email or call 07411 149678