Shipwreck in Galicia

La Playa de los Ingleses lies on Galicia’s bleak Costa da Morte, and is one of the few remaining stretches yet to be blighted by the scourge of second homes.

The beach takes its name from the 172 English sailors who were drowned off the coast here on 10th November 1890, when their ship, the Serpent, sank in a terrible storm. The Serpent had sailed from Plymouth on Saturday 8 November bound for Sierra Leone. Although there are several versions of what happened, the final verdict was that the Serpent had been lost through an error in navigation. Three surviviors reached the nearby village of Camariñas and sounded the alarm. A search party was sent out and most of the bodies were recovered. They were buried on the beach close to the wreck spot and a small cemetery was built around them. It stands today as a rather sad and lonely mounment. Letters of thanks were sent by the British government to the villagers and the mayor was given a shotgun and the parish priest a gold watch. Unusually for the time the survivors wore lifebelts, and there are claims that the incident led to their widespread use in the British merchant navy.