Figurehead inscribed 'Soli Deo'

Basic Information

FigID
F0244
InstID
71.89I/1
Figurehead type
Figurehead
Title
Figurehead inscribed 'Soli Deo'
Vessel name
Unidentified
Type (Naval/Merchant)
Merchant
Copyright owner
© National Museum Wales
Copyright notes
Current location
Pembrey Country Park, Pembrey, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire SA16 0EJ
Location date

Physical Information

Description
Figurehead carved and painted with the words 'Soli Deo' which translates 'For God Alone'.
Maker
Unknown
Date made
Unknown
Place made
Unknown
Size
H176.0 x W450 cms
Materials
Wood
Object history
The figurehead and plaque on display here have been kindly loaned to Llanelli Borough Council by the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum. They were donated to the museum by Dr and Mrs Rhys Bevan John formerly of Rock House, Pembrey.

It was in 1923 that the doctor and his wife came across a house buried up to its roof in a sand dune adjacent to Pembrey Harbour. It had been abandoned to the elements but the house, which had once been the home of the Harbour Master, was well preserved. They traced the owners, rented it, and then set about having it dug out from its sandy grave.

Outside the front door they found a ship’s figurehead and plaque bearing the name “Soli Deo” which means “For God Alone”. These, according to local people, had been salvaged from a sailing ship of that name which had foundered on the notorious Cefn Sidan Sands many years before. These brightly coloured reminders of the maritime history of the area stood outside the house until the second world war when the property was taken over by the Navy and then the Army.

Dr Bevan John stored the figurehead and plaque at his home in Pembrey and later in Oxford until they were donated to the National Museum of Wales, some twenty years ago. Since then, they have been in Cardiff awaiting restoration. Now, after nearly half a century, these well known local treasures are back on view in Pembrey.
Vessel history
Bibliography
Information supplied by National Museum Wales.

Ownership Information

Owner type
Public Institution
Owner name
National Museum Wales
Contact details
National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP
Ownership can be cited online
Yes
Accessible to public
Yes
Data verified by owner
Yes
Date verified

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