FRIENDS of the Newport Medieval Ship are to make a new pilgrimage to a French town that minted the rare coin sealed in the shipping vessel’s keel as a good luck charm.

Newport historian Charles Ferris and Friends of The Newport Ship chairman Phil Cox will in September attend a medieval festival in Cremieu, East France, the place where the piece was struck in 1447.

A scientific study of the 15th century ship’s timbers shows the wood used to build it was felled in the Basque region bordering France and Spain.

Meanwhile, the provenance of the medieval coin confirms the 100ft vessel’s connections with France.

Mr Ferris, a Newport councillor for Allt-yr-yn ward, attended the festival in 2010 and will return to the town set to mark the 700th anniversary of its charter on September 12.

Mr Ferris said: “It’s wonderful that our two cities are linked by the discovery of the good luck coin in the fabric of the Newport Ship.

“The Basques didn’t have a currency of their own and were using French and Iberian coinage at the time.

“We hope to reaffirm the friendship made with the local history society, Les Heures de Cremieu – The Hours of Cremieu – who did a lot of research on the mint providing the precise date when our coin was struck.”

Unearthed during building works of the Riverfront Theatre on the bank of the River Usk in 2002, the Newport Ship has been the centre of considerable interest among maritime historians and the wider academic world.

Historians believe the piece was minted by Jacques Vincent, a coiner of Cremieu who sadly went blind after years of careful engraving.

It is thought shipwrights then sealed the coin into the vessel's keel in about 1450.

Believed to be a general cargo vessel plying the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea and inshore Atlantic at least as far north as Britain, she ended her days in Newport in the middle of the 15th Century.

Fish scales found in the bilge suggest that she may even have sailed as far as the Newfoundland Banks, trading in dried cod for consumption on Friday fast days.

Three-quarters complete but waterlogged, she was removed to an industrial estate in Maesglas where her timbers were soaked in wax preservant.

Workers began moving the timbers to a new location at Queensway Industrial Estate’s Estuary Court in the city last December.