The ‘Albion‘ was a Cardigan Snow of 166 tons. She was 72ft in length, 23ft beam (width), and stood 13ft. 5 in. high. She was built in 1815 at Milford by William Roberts for the Davies family of Bridge House, Cardigan. She is probably Cardigan’s most famous ship, because of her role in emigration from Cardigan to Quebec and New Brunswick. In 1815-19 Captain Llywelyn Davies, Bridge House, Bridge Street, Cardigan, was the master of the vessel. Although the youngest member of the Davies clan, he was in command of their best ship before he was out of his teens. In 1815-17 the ‘Albion‘ was a regular trader with Liverpool. In April 1815 the ‘Albion‘ was at Milford on her way to Newport, Monmouthshire. In October 1815 she sailed via Milford to Swansea, and then headed for Waterford. On 27 December that year she arrived at Milford from Newport, Mon. In early 1816 she called at Liverpool again. In May 1816 the ‘Albion‘ entered Milford, having sailed from Dublin.
In April 1817 Captain Llewelyn Davies made his first transatlantic crossing in the ‘Albion‘ from Caernarfon, carrying slate as ballast. The Welsh captain was amazed by the ice flows and wintry conditions. It was June 1 when he reached Quebec, and he began the return journey from Montreal with a cargo of timber on August 6. In October he visited Waterford. In 1818 he was engaged in the timber trade between Limerick and Liverpool, before beginning another transatlantic run, starting from Caernarfon quay on May 18 1818. This time he took about eighty Welsh emigrants. Allowing time for loading and inspections, the ship set off from the river at Caernarfon at about 10 a.m. on May 21. They crossed the bar at 1 p. m. and anchored off Porth Dinllyn at 6 p. m. At about ten o’clock that night they set sail. They passed Bardsey Island at mid-morning the next day. After crossing Cardigan Bay, Captain Davies anchored at Newport, Pembrokeshire in the early afternoon of May 22, to visit his family. From there he sailed late on the following morning, past Dinas Head, bound for Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Before nightfall, Wales was out of sight.
On May 25 they shot past Kinsale, but a topmast snapped and had to be replaced. By mid-morning they had reached Cape Clear and passed Mizzen Head by the end of the day. They had good conditions and rapid progress through to the end of May 30. From May 31 to June 2 adverse winds made some passengers fearful that the ship would sink. The weather calmed on June 3, but the winds remained changeable for three days. On June 7 good progress was made again, but the following day the winds were too strong, so the sails were lowered and the sea washed over the decks. June 9 and 10 saw unrelenting light rain and a heavy mist. Icebergs were sighted on June 11 and the temperature fell considerably. A child died that day and was buried at sea. On June 14 the wind shifted and rose to storm force and for six hours the ship had a good buffeting. On June 16 they crossed the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. On June 23 high waves heaved the deck up steeply. On June 28 another top-mast broke and had to be repaired. At 3 pm. on July 6 land was sighted – Landmark Hill on Long Island. The next morning they were just off New York City, and at 9 a. m. they anchored at Perth Amboy, where the passengers disembarked on July 8. Captain Davies then tried to find a buyer for his slate ballast. He loaded up with timber for the return journey. Griffith Jones of Talsarn acted as an agent for the emigrants on this journey, but the following year, the Davies family would act entirely independently with an emigrant voyage of their own.
The ‘Albion‘ arrived back home in the autumn of 1818. The ‘Albion‘ was scheduled to sail from Cardigan to St. John’s, New Brunswick on April 9, and she was already laden with Cilgerran slate as ballast. When the emigrants arrived on that date, many of them were from neighbouring parishes – including a contingent of members from Blaenywaun Baptist Chapel in St. Dogmaels, and there were about one hundred and eighty of them in all. A large crowd gathered to see the departure, and Ebenezer Morris of Twr Gwyn, and Morgan Jones, Trelech, preached on the occasion. Captain Llewelyn Davies then got everyone on board, but his plans for an early departure the next morning were foiled by the weather, and some disembarked to attend Sunday services in Cardigan. On the morning of the 11 April, the ‘Albion‘ weighed anchor and at about 9 in the morning crossed the Cardigan Bar, encountering some rough cross-winds when she rounded Cemaes Head. He put in for the night at Fishguard, heading for Ireland on April 12.
Progress on April 12 was slow, and at nightfall St. David’s Head was still in sight, although Ireland could also be seen. It took until Sunday April 18 to reach Kinsale, and all of the passengers were suffering badly from sea-sickness. Captain Davies decided to wait at Kinsale for better weather, and anchored the ‘Albion‘ offshore there, where she remained for six days. Some passengers went ashore. On Saturday April 24 the ship set off again, passing Cape Clear the same day. The next day brought fine weather, but the next week saw heavy rain and rough seas. On May 1 a terrific storm arose, and for three days the ship was at the mercy of the elements – no fires could be lit or food eaten. On May 3 a small child died of whooping cough, aged 2, and was buried at sea. The weather remained unsettled until May 15, and on that day a passenger from Trelech died, many now being seriously weakened by sea-sickness. From May 18 there was a week of better weather, until May 24 when the fog and ice of the Grand Banks was reached. On June 7 Nova Scotia was sighted and the ‘Albion‘ called at Shelburne, where a few passengers disembarked. On June 10 the ‘Albion‘ entered the Bay of Fundy, and the following day they reached St. John’s River, and late in the afternoon, the end of their 61-day voyage.
The ‘Albion‘ sailed home to Britain on July 14 1819, but her service was soon cut tragically short. She was lost in November 1819 at Wicklow Bank, with all hands, including the celebrated Captain Llewelyn Davies. A sad premature end to an historic ship and a fine master.