Model of an English Herring Buss from Chapman's "Architectura Navalis Mercatoria"

1768 in Hampstead
Robert Orr

Model of an English Herring Buss, (1768) from Chapman's "Architectura Navalis Mercatoria". Made by Robert Orr in London, July 1932. This type of vessel was used during the 18th Century for drift net fishing in the North Sea. Scale 1:48.

This model is based on the detailed draught of an English herring buss contained in Chapman's Architectura Navalis Mercatoria of 1768. The plans of a Dutch herring buss, also included in Chapman's work, show a vessel with a hull so different to that of the English buss that it is evident that the design of the latter owes little to Dutch influence.

The rigging on the model has been copied from a contemporary print showing herring busses fishing off the Shetlands in 1750. By this date the three-masted rig of the earlier busses had been altered by the removal of the foremast, which had carried only a small square-sail and yet had needed to be lowered when the nets were shot. Instead of the foremast a bowsprit was fitted on which a jib was set, while the main stay, which ran to the stem-head, carried a large staysail. A flying jib set on a flying-boom, as shown on the model, further increased the power of the head-sails.

On the mizzen mast also the small square-sail of the 16th and early 17th centuries had given place to a more convenient fore-and-aft triangular sail.

These herring busses, which were used for drift-net fishing, were about 66ft long, with a beam of 16ft and a depth in hold of 8ft.


Water Transport
Object Number:
canvas, wood (unidentified), cotton (fibre), paint and metal (unknown)
overall: 550 mm x 600 mm x 280 mm,
model - representation
Orr, R.