Ellen was built for Mr Martin, a Rowhedge fisherman, and was purely a sailing vessel until 1927 when her first engine was fitted – a Thornycroft 9 hp petrol/paraffin engine. It is thought that in her early years she was used for pleasure in the summer and fishing in the winter. After several changes of ownership, though always working in the East Coast area, she sank at her mooring near Felixstowe around 1973.
She was raised and taken to Ipswich, where she was vandalised, and then to Woodbridge. A succession of owners attempted to restore her and eventually she was purchased by a former Trustee of the Colne Smack Preservation Society in 1987. Taken to Brightlingsea and surveyed, she was then transported to Oliver Walstons Farm in Thriplow, Cambridge and was rebuilt in 1991.
She is now based in Brightlingsea and still remains under the same ownership.