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The New Matthew - A Bristol Treasure

The Matthew is based in Bristol Harbour during the autumn and winter months and is open to the public as well as undertaking short cruises around the harbour. During spring and summer time, the sails are unfurled and the ship continues to explore the exciting wild seas around the British isles and Northern Europe - creating quite a spectacle wherever she ventures. There is the chance to enjoy a memorable trip on the Matthew if you look at the website these are listed including some seasonal specials! Chairman of the Trust, Alderman Royston Griffey JP and a for- mer Lord Mayor of Bristol, kindly told me about the background to both the new Matthew and the original ship:

'The replica Portuguese caravel, The Matthew of Bristol, was constructed in the shadow of St Mary Redcliffe Church between 1994 and 1996, the vessel was built to commemorate the epic voyage of discovery of the 'New Found Landes' in 1497 by Gio- vanni Caboto (John Cabot) aboard the original Matthew, together with a crew of 18.

The ship may have been named after Saint Matthew or John Cabot's wife, Mattea. Although Cabot was an Italian adventurer, he was operating under the Letters Patent of the first Tudor king of England, Henry V11 and sailed from Bristol (Bricgstowe) in 1497. The expedition was therefore an English voyage in the medieval age of discovery.

The discovery (or rather rediscovery) of the North American continent in the late fifteenth cen- tury was one of the catalysts for the European (and predominantly English speaking) colonisa- tion of present day Canada and the USA.

By contrast, Christopher Columbus went south in 1492 under the authority of the Spanish king and queen to the Caribbean and South America, and is perhaps erroneously credited with 'discovering' America. South America is, of course, predominantly Spanish and Portuguese speaking. But Columbus didn't reach the mainland of North America.

The 1997 voyage recreated the 1497 expedition and the Queen welcomed the modern Mat- thew in Newfoundland in 1997, 500 years to the day of the original landfall.

The vessel has recently been acquired by the new charity, The Matthew of Bristol Trust, and will soon be moving to a new berth in the Floating Harbour in Bristol near M-Shed. The objects of the Trust include education and seamanship, as well as the historical and recreational as- pects of the Tudor vessel.


Latest News From The Matthew: This Halloween join the crew on a frightening fantasy aboard the Ghost ship Matthew. Enjoy pumpkin soup with crusty bread and our own Matthew cake as you sail around Bristol Harbour. Come if you dare!!! Trick or Treat is a one-off special trip for the children on the 31st October (5pm) and there are also trips for adults on 27th, 28th and 31st October (7pm). (Please Note. The Matthew Staff are temporarily unable to accept online payment for Switch and Maestro debit cards. If you wish to make a payment with either of these cards, please call The Matthew office on 0117 927 6868 (Tues - Fri 11am - 4pm) Did you know that the Matthew can be hired for group trips and corporate events too?

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