Agulhas, Le Centaur
Le Beurrier de La Riviere
Format Extent7 colour photographs
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Photographs and information on a bell found in a private house in Agulhas. The bell was salvaged from a the French ship Le Centaur which stranded in 1750 in the False Bay area. In a private house we found another very impressive bell that was salvaged from a ship. The French ship Le Centaure stranded in 1750 in the False Bay area when it was homeward bound from Mauritius to France. Its cargo consisted mostly of peppercorns. On board was also a bell that a Jesuit priest was taking along, probably for his mission there. It is therefore no surprise that the bell, after staying under water for more than two hundred years until 1984, had seriously suffered. Fortunately we were able to decipher most parts of the decorations. On the least damaged side of the bell we recognize the seal of the King of France, proving that the founder was considered a “fondeur du Roy”. This knowledge helps to read parts of the text on the other side of the bell. We are convinced that part of the text reads as follows DE? LA RIVIERE ME FUDIT ANNO 171? Above the text appears a traditional effigy of the Holy Sacrament, common in Catholic religion. Unfortunately, both ends of the text are too mutilated to be fully legible. The last digit in the date could be 2, 3 or 9. If our guess is correct then the founder would belong to the family Le Beurrier de la Rivière from Brest in France that we already encountered with the bell in Vergelegen, the wine estate in Somerset West. In any case, the bell is among the oldest that we have found in our investigation. Grobbelaar gives an account of the fate of the ship on page 42 of the booklet mentioned in connection with the Shipwreck Museum in Bredasdorp.
- Cape Agulhas