With a cargo of 450 tons of coal, en route from Cardiff to Arcachon in France, the René, from Nantes, ran into trouble along the Bristol Channel on 8th January, 1886. Snagging itself on the treacherous sand bank of Helwick during an abrupt storm, the ship was then forced ashore at 2 a.m., where it broke up on the eastern side of Kilboidy, near Overton.
The Rene’s frightened crew jumped ship to swim ashore but the ship’s Master and two of the crew and a 15 year old boy drowned.
Local farmer, John Bevan, gave shelter to the survivors and, when the bodies of their shipmates were recovered, the inquest was held at his house. The recovered bodies were buried at Danygraig Cemetary, Swansea.
In a shallow pool, near Kilboidy, still lays an iron stanchion belonging to the ship.