The British three-masted freight steamship Hylton Castle was built in Sunderland, England, in 1871 by the Oswald and Co. ship builders. She was 251 feet long, 32 feet wide, displaced 1,258 gross tons, had seven water tight compartments and was owned by Surtees and Co., of North Shields.
On January 11, 1886, while bound from New York to Rouen with a cargo of 57,880 bushels of corn, the Hylton Castle got caught in a heavy gale. After a terrific beating, she literally began to break up. The crew abandoned her into two life boats with one containing nine men and the other 13. Within an hour, the big ship sank, bow first into the freezing ocean. One life boat managed to row ashore through the icy winter weather. Captain Colvin and his boat didn't have it as good. They broke three oars and ended up drifting for three days before being picked up by the fishing smack Stephen Woolsey.
Today, the Hylton Castle lies twenty two miles out from Jones Inlet in 95 to 100 feet of water. Her scattered wreckage is an excellent home for Sea Bass, Blackfish, cod, ling and lobsters. Her steel propeller protrudes from her scattered low lying stern section. Just forward of her propeller on her port side is the remains of a wooden helm wheel. This helm has a steel hub and stand and is in very poor condition. In fact divers will have to look very closely just to recognize it. The wreck's engine comes to within 85 feet of the surface. In front of her engine are two boilers and a condenser. Forward of her engine area is low lying steel hull plates. In her bow divers will find a winch and capstan. This wreck is often overlooked by serious wreck divers because it is so close to the popular San Diego wreck. The wreck should not be underestimated as she still holds not only an abundance of lobsters but quite a few artifacts.
Excerpted from Wreck Valley CDROM by Dan Berg