The Earl of Abergavenny was an outward bound East India Company ship which struck the Shambles Bank off Portland Bill during a gale on the bitter winter's night of 5th February 1805. A rising tide finally freed her and although flooding fast, the Captain and crew tried desperately to beach her on Weymouth Sands but they lost the battle and she tragically sank 2 miles from the safety of the beach in 10 fathoms of water.
Over 250 passengers, troops and crew including her Captain, John Wordsworth, brother of the poet William, drowned in the wreck 2 miles southeast of this plaque, Many were buried at All Saints Church, Wyke Regis in an unmarked grave, others at St Ann's, Radipole and St Andrew's, Preston.
ill-fated Vessel! -ghastly shock!
At length delivered from the rock,
The deep she hath regained;
And through the stormy night they steer;
Labouring for life, in hope and fear,
To reach a safer shore -how near,
Yet not to be attained!