Mystery of the Mountstewart – Research project timeline

The volunteer group research the Londonderry papers at PRONI

Follow in the footsteps of the volunteer research team who have been delving into the archives to discover the truth behind what really happened to the Mountstewart yacht when it went missing on the 11 April 1895 on Strangford Lough.

The team’s efforts have spanned over five years and taken them around the country as they endeavor to learn more about the events surrounding that tragic day and the eight people who lost their lives when a picnic outing ended in disaster.

Latest updates

13 Oct 20

Connections with Blair Castle confirmed

Correspondence with Keren Guthrie, Archivist at Blair Castle. Elizabeth Dougal, Housekeeper at Mount Stewart had been employed by the Londonderrys for two weeks prior to the boating tragedy. She was previously employed by the Duke of Athol at his residences at Blair Castle, Perthshire, and at Eaton Square in Mayfair. The records at Blair Castle include servants’ wages ledgers, an example of which, including Elizabeth’s signature, was shared with the research team

06 Sep 20

Assessment of seafloor conditions

Seafloor conditions around 'target' areas identified as possible boat locations are assessed for future diving investigations. The seabed mainly consists of mud and small shells. In some areas the mud is so fine that it forms a suspension, which, if disturbed, severely reduces visibility for the divers.

14 Jan 20

Finding the oar of the Mountstewart

Recollections from a former resident of the farm on the Mount Stewart Estate determined the location of the oar in a barn during the 1940s. Inspection of an interior laser scan and subsequent visit to the barn revealed the oar still at that location. It has since been removed and is in safe storage until it goes on display in the forthcoming ‘Faithful Servants: The Mystery of the Mountstewart exhibition in 2021.

A member of staff holds the oar of the Mountstewart yacht