Bell, Ship's

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A large ship's bell from Lord Worsley. " LORD WORSLEY / 1857 / GRIMSBY " is marked on the bell in large gold coloured lettering.
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This bell was part of a large array of objects collected by Edward Frederick Hemingway during his military career. When the 600-ton steamer Lord Worsley wrecked in the bay north of Te Namu near Opunake on 1 September 1862 it was in ‘enemy’ territory. The Royal Mail vessel, carrying thirty-five crew and thirty-one passengers, came to grief on rocks at a time of growing tension after the First Taranaki War. Settler road building just south of New Plymouth flew in the face of the concerted opposition of Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru and Whanganui iwi, and tension on both sides was building. After sometimes heated negotiations between Māori led by Wiremu Kingi Te Matakātea and Te Whiti o Rongomai III, the shipwrecked passengers were allowed to leave for New Plymouth, in return for the ship’s cargo, including a stash of gold and valuables. This handsomely inscribed ship’s bell was part of the deal but was not in Māori hands for long. In June 1865 British Imperial troops, including Hemingway’s 43rd Regiment, were skirmishing with Māori inland from Warea, where newspapers reported they found ‘whares filled with plunder’ from the steamer. (Taranaki Herald, 8 July 1865, p. 5.) The bell may have been among this booty, but exactly where Hemingway obtained it still remains a mystery. For more information see Scavenging and Skullduggery: The Hemingway Collection in Moffat, A. Flashback: Tales and Treasures of Taranaki. Wellington, Huia, 2012, pp.27-32 . 
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