SHIP BUILDING AT UNDY by Tony Jukes On the night of Sunday, 27 December 1840, when the sloop Emma was lying in Colchester Pill,' Undy, a quantity of rope was taken from the ship.2 John Stephens, master of the Emma, travelled to Newport and found John Walford of Newport, a dealer in junk and marine stores, had bought the stolen rope.3 Police Constable Joseph James had seen a man he knew as Stephen Matthews of Magor near his house, a quarter-mile from the pill, as he was going to chapel on Sunday. Matthews was identified as the person who had sold the rope, convicted of the theft, and sentenced to four months imprisonment with hard labour. The Emma, of 18 tons register,4 was recorded as having been built by Messrs Price and Adams at Newport, her builder's certificate being dated 27 February 1839.5 It is highly likely the Emma was built at Undy, as she was owned in December 1841 by John Stephens of Undy, her master (21 shares6), William Adams of Undy, ship builder (22 shares), and Thomas Leonard of Undy, labourer (21 shares). She measured 35 5/10 feet long x 10 9/10 feet beam x 5 9/10 feet depth of hold. Leonard became her master at Newport on 13 February 1844, and in September 1846 became sole owner by purchase of the shares of Stephens and Adams. The Emma would not have been the first vessel to be built in Undy. In June 1837, John Laurence launched the sloop Hope, at Colchester Pill, Undy.7 Many ladies were present on the occasion. Of 15 tons register, the Hope measured 31 feet 7 inches length x 11 feet 2 inches beam x 5 feet 6 inches depth of hold. She was owned in equal shares by John Laurence and John Stephens, both of Undy. John Stephens was also master of the Hopes. First registered in Chepstow on 10 August 1837, the Hope was sold in November 1838 and re-registered in Gloucester. She changed hands many times and was finally wrecked in the Severn Estuary in December 1888. No shipbuilding sites were identified as such on the tithe maps for the parishes of Undy (1842) and Roggiett (1840). Shipbuilding may have taken place near the mouth of Collister Pill, as a little inland, on the Undy side, the pill was bounded closely by a sea wall and sea wall reen. A Thomas Pride occupied some of the Duke of Beaufort's land just inland from the mouth of the pill. The 1841 census for the parish of Undy9 does not list any shipbuilders, shipwrights or ship's masters as resident in the parish although there was a John Stephens, blacksmith, aged 35. The chapel which once existed near Chapel Farm, not far behind the sea wall, has long since disappeared, along with the tump on which it was built. Many centuries ago small boats trading to and from Undy may have used Collister Pill. No