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Tales of Salvaging, Life-Saving & Smuggling                             1755 - 1849

Forget "Pirates of the Caribbean"... no swashbuckling Jack Sparrow types here. Just poor, hard-working fishermen attempting to conceal tobacco, booze, and salvaged articles from the Customs officials. There was a thriving trade in illicit goods and there are plenty of newspaper articles reporting cases of smuggling and concealment brought before the courts. How many went undiscovered? 

Rowhedge had its share of heroes and villains when it comes to salvaging and life-saving. Financial rewards could be high in the salvaging business and while some Colne men certainly knew how to lure vessels towards the treacherous sandbanks they knew so well. Harold Cranfield, son of Capt. Jonathan Cranfield, contributed much to The Northseamen and in one of his essays on the local maritime goings-on he states that it was not unknown for wrecking to take place but as long as everyone got a fair share of the proceeds mouths would be kept shut. 

Despite their skills many men were lost in salvage attempts and we can barely imagine how hard the lives of the fishermen must have been.

There are some remarkable accounts of life-saving by Colne fishermen and they make great reading. This is the reality not the romantic bollocks some people like to imagine.

The following articles refer to local men and vessels or incidents where Rowhedge men might have been present.

IPSWICH JOURNAL - 1 March 1755 - “NOTICE if hereby given, That on Friday the 7th Day of March instant, will be expos’d to Sale in Lots, by Auction, at the Sign of the Ship in East- Donyland (alias Rowhedge) near Colchester in Essex, at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon.

TWO ANCHORS, about six or seven hundred Weight each, a Piece of a Cable, a Towling, a Hawser, several Sails, Pieces of small Rigging and Blocks, some torne Canvas, some Yards, Top-Masts, a Pump, some Pieces of Masts, and a Brass Compass; being Materials saved out of the Wreck of the Robert and Jane, lost the 14th of January last, on the lower middle Sand.”



IPSWICH JOURNAL - 5 November 1763 - “Whereas an ANCHOR, and about 40 fathom of old Cable, with a Buoy and Buoy Rope, was taken up in the Swinn the 17th of February last, by William Fuller of East Donyland, near Colchester, in the County of Essex; Notice is hereby given that unless the said Anchor and Cable are claimed, the Property proved, and Charges paid, before Robert Martin, Esq; of East Donyland aforesaid, within the Time limited by Law to that Purpose, the same will be condemned for the Use of the Earl of Rochford, Vice-Admiral of the County of Essex.”



IPSWICH JOURNAL - 25 May 1776 - “East Donyland, near Colchester, May 21, 1776. WRECKAGE. TAKEN up yesterday in the Swin, A Ship’s fore and main yards, maintop-sail yard, top-gallant yard, top-gallant mast and a gaff, a fore and main top-sail, and a top-gallant sail, top-mast shrouds, a small parcel of blocks, and some running rigging, &c..

Whoever they belong to, by applying to Jos. Ruggles, of East Donyland aforesaid, may have them again, upon paying the proper salvage.”



IPSWICH JOURNAL - 8 January 1785 - “December 31, 1784. TAKEN up, An ANCHOR and about 25 or 30 fathoms of cable, the Naze bearing N.W. The owner may have it again, paying the salvage, by applying to Mr. Samuel Cook at Rowhedge, Essex.”



IPSWICH JOURNAL - 12 December 1801 - “Notice is hereby GIVEN, THAT on Saturday the 5th of Dec. inst. the Smack, called the TWO BROTHERS, of the Port of East Donyland, near Colchester, picked up a BOW ANCHOR, in the Swin, between the Middle and North Sand. The owner or owners of the said Anchor may have the same, by describing it and paying the Salvage, on application to Mr. Wm. Shakeshaft, of East Donyland aforesaid, or to Mr. Frank Smythies, of Colchester.”



IPSWICH JOURNAL - 19 February 1825 - “On Monday, at the Maid’s Head, Thorpe, the Sitting Magistrates, Anthony Runnacles, Esq. John Martin Leake, Esq. Herbert Newton Jarrett, Esq. Richd. Waite Cox, Esq. committed to Newgate for trial, at the next Admiralty Sessions, John Allen of Rowhedge, Master of the Hope, of Colchester, for Manslaughter.- The circumstances out of which the commitment arose were not exactly as stated in our last week’s Paper, but as follows:- The Aurora, a Salvage Vessel of the Port of Harwich, went out in search of Wreckage, &c. on the 6th inst. (Sunday) when in the Swin, about a mile and a half from Goldman’s Gap, she discovered a buoy cable and anchor; she had taken possession of it for some little time, and was in the act of making it more secure by a second rope, one having been previously fastened to it, and the Aurora’s boat was fastened to the first rope, to keep it steady during the time they fastened the second, when the Hope, of Colchester, came up, & Allen, the Master, pretending he had an authority from some Captain, who, he stated had lost the buoy & anchor, on the Master of the Aurora refusing to let him have it immediately, let go his anchor over the buoy rope, to take possession of it. The consequence was, the boat, in which were two of the Aurora’s men, one named Thos. Coppin, and the other James Tranham, both of Brightlingsea, was immediately sunk. They struggled nearly twenty minutes before they went down, and it is supposed if the Hope’s people had used proper exertions, they might have been saved.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 18 February 1832 - “WIVENHOE, 15th Feb.- A vessel, of about 50 tons burthen, named the Adventure, of Hull, laden with flag stone, Epsom salts, and paper, left the port of Goole, on the 10th inst., bound to London. Soon afterwards, in consequence of a heavy sea, she began to make a great deal of water, that the after pump was set on. The pump-stand, which being of iron, is supposed, to have affected the compass, which occasioned the master to run the vessel on the Gunfleet, at about 4 o’clock a.m., of the 12th inst, when she made much more water, and he attempted to get in for the land. Before this could be accomplished, the vessel unfortunately sunk on the North Edge, in six fathoms water. The captain, with his son and mate, had just time to get in their boat, and was soon afterwards picked up by the smack, Princess Royal,  of this port, S. Mills, master, who landed them the same afternoon. There is much credit due to the crew of the Princess Royal, for their humanity and attention to the sufferers, as there is no doubt but they would have been drowned in a very short time - having no oars, and their boat half filled with water, with a strong Easterly wind.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 2 June 1832 -  “SMUGGLING - Last week, fifteen cases containing cigars were deposited at the Custom House here by Mr. Argent, Brightlingsea, which had been crept up by that officer and his men in the Wallett. This seizure affords proof of a new system of smuggling.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 22 December 1832 - “SMUGGLING - Mr. Tayspill, of the Customs, charged Abraham Harrington and his master, Joseph Cole, with having on board the sloop Anne, a quantity of contraband spirits, amounting to 128 gallons of brandy, and 30 gallons of Geneva. The prisoners were separately tried, Mr. Philbrick, solicitor, appearing as their counsel. The seizure of the spirits was proved by Mr. Harmer, one of the officers of the Customs, and his man William Winter. The defence put up for Harrington was that he was the servant of Cole, and acting under his master’s instructions - that admitting the smuggling transaction. Harrington had no concern in it, nor would he participate in the profits. The Magistrates said that in cases of this nature, the law did not admit of discretionary power, or mitigation of the statutory punishment. But in consideration of what had been urged, they would recommend the young man to the indulgent consideration of the Board.

The defence for Cole was that he had hooked up the tubs of spirits, and that it was his determination to have delivered the whole at the Custom House, as he had often done before with contraband goods. Upon this Mr. Harmer was re-examined, and deposed that upon first boarding the Anne, Cole denied that he had any smuggled spirits on board. The witness added, at the same time, that he had never known Cole to have been engaged in any transaction of the kind before. As in the other case, however, the Magistrates stated that they had not the power to mitigate the penalties laid down by the law; but they would likewise recommend Cole to the favourable consideration of the Board of Custome. Cole was therefore convicted in the penalty of 100l.; and Harrington sentenced to serve in his Majesty’s naval service for the period of five years.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 21 September 1833 - “MOOT-HALL, COLCHESTER, Tuesday, Sept. 17. Edward Clay, William Smith, and F.T. Abell, Esquires, three of the Justices of this Borough, met at the Moot-Hall, to adjudicate upon the claims for salvage, of the masters, mariners and crews of the smacks Oyster, Prosperous, Beulah, and Rose in June, of this port, for services rendered to the brig Minew, and lately ashore on the Gunfleet off this coast. F. Smythies, Esq. attended as agent for the salvors, and E. Clay, Esq. as agent for the owners of the brig. Evidence to some length was adduced detailing the perilous situation of the brig, which was laden with coals, on the Gunfleet sands, during the late severe gale, and the praiseworthy exertions of the claimants for salvage, at their own personal risk; it was also proved that the said brig was insured for 600l. and the part of the cargo which was salvaged had realized 80l., exclusive of certain deductions. The Justices, after deliberation, awarded to the salvors 200l. for their services, and the further sum of 50l. for damage done to their smacks whilst engaged in their undertaking, together with a moiety of the costs.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 26 October 1833 - “CASE OF SALVAGE, SHIP “MALVINA.” - On the 24th inst. Mr. Smythies attended before Wm. Smith, Edward Clay, and F.T. Abell, Esqrs., on behalf of Thomas Allen, master of the smack Liberty; John Clark, master of the smack Endeavour; and on behalf of the crews of several other smacks of the port of Colchester, and stated the claims of the salvors for having been instrumental in saving 1480 barrels of tar, part of the cargo of the brig Malvina, of Newcastle, lately wrecked upon the Mouse Sand off the coast of Essex, on her passage from Archangel to London. Mr. Mason attended on behalf of Messrs. Cassell and Co., the Consignees of the cargo. It appeared from the evidence of the salvors, that on the fifth of September last, the brig got aground on the Mouse Sand, and on the next day became a wreck; that upwards of thirty smacks belonging to this port, and their crews, by great perseverance and labour, and at no small risk, succeeded in saving the above tar, and landing it at Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea. Mr. Parkes, of Colchester, merchant, proved the value of the tar to be 10s. 9d. per barrel, and his evidence was confirmed by Mr. Dawson. The Justices awarded the salvors 300l.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 9 November 1833 - “A fine ship, nearly new, apparently 44 tons burthen, called “The Eugenee,“ of New Bedford, United States, bound for Hamburg to New York, in ballast, got on the Gunfleet Sand, off this coast, in the night of Saturday, the 26th ult., and became waterlogged. The crew deserted her on the Monday, after having stripped her; soon afterwards she was boarded by the crews of many smacks belonging to this port, and , by great perseverance and skill, they succeeded in getting her up to Wivenhoe, where she is now lying, and it is hoped they will meet with a liberal reward for their services.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 16 November 1833 - “THE MOOT-HALL - Wednesday, Nov. 13th. Present - The Mayor, Alderman F.T. Abell, and Alderman E. Clay. These Justices met this day, pursuant to requisition, to hear and determine on the claims and demands of the masters, mariners and crews of the smacks Indefatigable, Henry and Elizabeth, Friends Good Will, Lively, Pearl, Snow Drop, Aurora, and Pheasant, all of the port of Colchester, for services rendered to the Barque Eugenee, of New Bedford, lately ashore on the Gunfleet Sand, off the coast of Essex. Mr. George Hawkes, of London, appeared for the Owners and Underwriters, and Mr. F. Smythies, of Colchester, on the behalf of the Salvors. The Salvors discovered the ship in a perilous situation on the Gunfleet Sand, on the 27th Oct. last, and were engaged in exertions to save the ship till Wednesday the 30th, when she was moored in safety at Wivenhoe. The hull was valued at 422l. The Justices awarded 200l. to the Salvors and a moiety of the costs of the award.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 25 January 1834 - “CASE OF SALVAGE. - Moot-Hall, Jan. 23 - Before Wm. Smith, Esq. Mayor, F.T. Abell and John Taylor, Esqs., Justices. - Mr. F. Smythies appeared on behalf of Henry Cook, master of the smack Princess Royal; John Cheeseman, of the Betsy; Henry Babbs, of the Snowdrop; Samuel Mills, of the Pheasant; John Cheek, of the Endeavour; Simon Lawrence, of the Phoenix; and John Everitt, of the Bachelor; all of this port, and stated the claims of the above several salvors, for compensation for services rendered to the barque Everthorpe, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, burthen 327 tons, Robert Storey, owner, Robert Richardson, master. It appeared on the examination of the witnesses produced, that on the 3rd instant, the above barque was observed ashore on the Middle Sand off the coast of Essex, it then blowing a strong wind at W.S.W. and hazy; that the above vessels went to her assistance, and were employed to carry out a warp to get her off; that by means of the exertions used she was got off into deep water, and proceeded on her voyage to London, where she arrived in safety. It was stated that the ship was insured for 2,000l. which might be about her value; and that the cargo, consisting of deals and battens, might be worth from 1,000l. to 2,000l. more, and that altogether 37 hands were employed. Mr. J. H. Church conducted the case on behalf of the owners of the ship and cargo, and cross-examined the witnesses produced, and addressed the Court in diminution of the amount to be awarded; he observed that the services were of short duration, not exceeding an hour and a half - that the ship was not leaky - had no flag of distress flying, or anchors or rudder gone - and that, altogether, it was a slight case. After hearing the witnesses and arguments, and a statement that a boat had been staved and a cable injured, belonging to the salvors, the Justices announced that they had awarded 160l. to be paid by the owners as a compensation to the claimants, and that the costs of the award should be divided between the owners and salvors in moieties.”

The Chelmsford Chronicle gives the award as £100.


CHELMSFORD CHRONICLE - 14 November 1834 - “THREE PERSONS DROWNED - On Monday last, a ship loaded with muskets, &c. grounded in the Swynn. The salvors and others seeing her perilous situation, put off to her assistance, and by the aid of eight vessels she was got off. It was the Captain’s wish to send to Sheerness for a steamer to tow her off, when three men, natives of East Donyland, volunteered to take a boat to Sheerness for the desired purpose, and as they were going round the ship’s bows, they unhappily were upset, and were all drowned. The unfortunate sufferers were two brothers, named Cook, and the other named Wisby; the ship was ultimately got off by the assistance of the salvors, but the crew were obliged to throw overboard a great number of chests of arms, as she was drawing water very fast.”

ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 21 November 1834 - “On Monday, the 10th inst. a very fine vessel called the Marquis Huntly, from Leith to London, with a few troops and Government stores, burthen 560 tons and copper-bottomed, got ashore on the Heaps Sand, off this coast, owing to the thickness of the weather, the wind blowing very strong at the time E.N.E., which occasioned a very heavy sea. The commander and pilot found they could not get her off again, hoisted a signal of distress, half-mast up her mizen top-mast, which was observed by the crews of several salvage vessels then cruising in the Swin, and belonging to this port, who immediately manned their boats and proceeded to her assistance, the tide ebbing and the sea breaking over the ship, began to lighten the same by throwing overboard about 4,000 muskets; by so doing she was got afloat again in a few hours. We regret to add that three men belonging to the smacks were drowned by the upsetting of their boat, in getting through the breakers; two of them were brothers, of the name of Cook, and all three residents of East Donyland. Another man very narrowly escaped a watery grave shortly after; he was picked up, after having been ten minutes in the water, quite exhausted. We hope that Government will handsomely reward the men for their exertions, as there is no doubt but that ship and cargo would have been totally lost but for their assistance.”

CHELMSFORD CHRONICLE - Friday 5 December 1834 - “On Saturday morning last, a collier having run upon the Gunfleet Sands, Wm. Brown, Captain of the Joseph fishing smack, the property of Mr. Willett, of East Donyland, was going to assist her, when in the act of leaving his vessel to get into the boat alongside, he let go his hold, and slipping between the vessel and the boat, was drowned; he has left a widow and 4 children to lament their loss.”

ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 11 March 1836 - COLCHESTER CASTLE - Saturday 5 March. "FELONY -A considerable number of persons from the neighbourhood of Wivenhoe, were in court, in consequence of the examination of HENRY POWELL, a smack owner of Row Hedge, in the parish of East Donyland, who was charged with stealing an anchor and chain cable, belonging to the Brig, Adelaide, of Sunderland, the property of William Wilson.

From the circumstances of the prisoner being a very old inhabitant (upwards of 70 years of age), and carrying on a respectable trade for many years, great interest was excited. The prisoner seemed very infirm, and appeared at the bar supported by a crutch and a stick; his grey hairs and dejected appearance, created a general sympathy throughout the court.

The first witness called was the prosecutor, William Wilson, who stated that he was the owner of the brig "Adelaide" of Sunderland; and in the early part of December last, he saw the vessel clear safely out from Sunderland, laden with coals. Some time after, he received a letter from the captain, stating that the vessel had lost her anchor in a gale, near the West rock, off Harwich. In consequence of receiving information from Mr. Clay, of Colchester, the agent to the Sunderland policies, he came to Wivenhoe, and saw the anchor and cable in Mr. Chamberlain's warehouse. He knew them to belong to the Adelaide from the marks upon them, and they were his property.

William Reeve, a constable, stated that he received a search warrant, with instructions to search for an anchor that was lost; and on going to the premises belonging to the prisoner, he met the prisoner near his wharf, and asked him whether he knew of an anchor that was lost. The prisoner replied, that he knew nothing about it. Witness, in company with Mr. Chamberlain (the deputy serjeant of the Cinque Ports) and Mr. Argent, then proceeded to search the prisoner's premises, and found an anchor concealed behind some pieces of spar timber, which he discovered to belong to the Brig "Adelaide", of Sunderland, as the name was at full length upon it. The anchor was then conveyed to the warehouse belonging to Mr. Chamberlain, at Wivenhoe. Witness also saw a chain cable  upon the prisoner's wharf, and asked him how it came there, and the prisoner replied "it's no matter".

The prisoner, in his defence, stated, that from the situation of his premises, any person might deposit an anchor there without his knowledge; for when the gates were open, it was a complete thoroughfare from the water.

Mr. Clay stated, that on the Monday after the anchor was discovered, he had some conversation with the prisoner, and he (the prisoner) then admitted that he knew the anchor was upon his premises, and he hoped it would be looked over for that time.

The Sunderland owners had lost a great number of anchors in a similar manner, and it was by their direction that the present prosecution was instituted. The search warrant was granted in consequence of his receiving a letter from a captain of another Sunderland vessel, who had lost his anchor; but the constable had not succeeded in finding that anchor; but in his search had discovered the anchor and cable now in question before the court. The captain, in his letter to him stated that he had reason to believe that his lost anchor had been picked up, and delivered at Wivenhoe, which circumstance led to the search of the prisoner's premises.

This was the whole of the evidence in support of the charge, and the prisoner admitted the truth of Mr. Clay's statement respecting his acknowledging the anchor being upon his premises.

The Chairman then very feelingly addressed the prisoner, observing that he was extremely sorry to see a man of his years, who had up to that period borne a respectable character in such an unfortunate situation. But the evidence against him was of that character, that the court felt it to be its duty to send him for trial to answer the charge at the forthcoming Assizes, at Chelmsford. In all probability his trial would take place on the Tuesday following; therefore if he felt inclined to offer bail for his appearance in so short a time, the court would accept it. But owing to the serious nature of the offence, the court would not be satisfied unless he could procure bail to a heavy amount, viz. himself in £100; and two sureties in £50 each. The prisoner shortly afterwards procured the required bail, and was liberated".



ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 15 July 1836 - CHARGE OF STEALING AN ANCHOR - "HENRY POWELL, mariner, was indicted for unlawfully detaining, arresting, and possessing an anchor, buoy rope, and other articles belonging to the ship Adeline (sic) of Sunderland.

The prisoner, on account of his age, was accommodated with a seat.

Mr. Knox stated the case to the jury. The present, he observed, was a very novel case. By a recent Act of Parliament, passed for the protection of property lost or thrown overboard from vessels, an encouragement was given to persons finding any stores, and carrying them to a warehouse for that purpose, with a written description, for they were entitled to a compensation upon them called salvage, but when a person finding such property acts dishonestly, and secretes it, the law imposes the same punishment upon the party as for receiving stolen goods. To constitute the offence, it was necessary that the articles should be cast or found upon the coast of this Kingdom. He should prove this to be the case in the present instance. The law had not been put in force for some time, but it must not be allowed to slumber. The defendant had hitherto borne a most respectable character, but it was necessary that proceedings should be taken against him.

The Learned Gentleman then called;

William Wilson, examined. I am part owner of the ship Adeline; in December last I saw her start from Sunderland for Maldon with coals. She had her anchor, chain buoy, and buoy rope, on her return she was without them.

John Mustard. I am mate of the Adeline. When we arrived opposite the Black rock, we brought up; we slipped the bower anchor, buoy, and rope, we were about eight or nine miles from Harwich. I have seen the anchor in the possession of Mr. Chamberlain.

William Reeve. I am a constable; I searched the prisoner's premises at East Donyland, where I found the anchor with the name of Adeline upon it. I found it with some spars in his yard, covered up, I also found a buoy rope, with chain attached.

Mr. J. Chamberlain, deputy serjeant of the Cinque Ports, at Wivenhoe, accompanied the last witness to the prisoner's house, and corroborated his evidence. The prisoner afterwards said to witness, "as you have found the anchor I may as well deliver up the chain". The chain was afterwards found upon his premises.

Mr. Clay, agent on behalf of the Sunderland policies at Colchester, proved that the prisoner told him at Wivenhoe, that he owned the anchor found on his premises, and he hoped he would look it over.

Mr. J. Argent, tide-surveyor, deposed that he accompanied Reeve when it was found. He stated that it was not merely concealed, but artfully concealed.

His Lordship summed up, observing that the evidence was insufficient to convict the prisoner, and directed the Jury to acquit him, which they did."

ESSEX STANDARD - 14 October 1836 - “A schooner, marked “Howden,” Goole, is a wreck on Long Sand, the crew, it is feared, have perished, as one man (supposed the master) was found dead in the rigging, and is now lying at Wivenhoe, awaiting the Coroner’s inquest. Several smacks, with part of her cargo, have arrived at Wivenhoe.”


ESSEX STANDARD - 18 November 1836 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE. Saturday, Nov. 12.- Joseph Brown, the master and owner of a smack called the Good Endeavour, of Wivenhoe, was put to the bar, under the 1 and 2 Geo. IV.chap.76, sect.10 [which renders the party liable, on conviction, to 7 years’ transportation], with receiving two jib sails belonging to the Jane, of Barking, fishing smack, which was unfortunately wrecked upon the Maplin Sands [abandoned by the crew], on the 12th ult., knowing them to have been stolen. Considerable interest was excited, in consequence of the respectability of the accused party: and from the examination it will be seen that a second individual of respectability has been held to bail, the Bench being of opinion that such a step was necessary for the ends of justice.

Mr. Philbrick, solicitor, appeared on the part of the prosecution, and Mr. Goody (Clerk to Mr. Smythies) appeared for the defence.

From the evidence of Mr. James Morgan, the owner of the Jane, of Barking, it appeared that she was wrecked upon the Maplin Sands, on the day above mentioned; and, on the following day, she was completely stripped of every thing that was portable and valuable. Two vessels were seen next morning bearing down upon her, and his impression was that the crews of those vessels committed the robbery. A short time after the unfortunate occurrence, he went to Wivenhoe and saw a friend of his, (Mr. John Baker), to whom he related his heavy loss, and described the property stolen. Mr. Baker instantly replied, that from his description of the property, he had no doubt he could give him some intelligence respecting it: for he believed it had been offered to him for sale at East Donyland by a man named Brown. Mr. Morgan wishing him to make every inquiry, he afterwards saw the prisoner, Brown, who showed him some sails, which he knew to be those that were lost, from the description given him by Mr. Morgan. He afterwards sent a man named Mason to purchase them, which he did, and he (Mr. Baker) had them in his possession. On showing them to Mr. Morgan, he immediately identified them as his property, stolen from the Jane.

John Mason stated, that he went to Rowhedge about a fortnight previously, by the direction of Mr. John Baker, and on enquiry found the sails upon Mr. Willet’s premises; he did not see Mr. Willet at that time. He called several times afterwards, and discovered that the sails had been removed to another premises occupied by a man named King, who is captain of one of Mr. Willet’s vessels. Witness at this time saw Mr. Willet, and told him that he had come to look at the sails; and Mr. Willet said he thought he (witness) was to have come two or three days before. Witness agreed with Captain King for a square sail, and was to give £6.15s. for it. Witness went again about two days after to fetch the square sail, and King offered to sell him a garf (sic) top-sail, and he agreed to give him £2.15s. for it. He did not pay for them then, but he took them away in a cart. Neither the prisoner or Mr. Willet was present when the bargain was made. Witness took the sails away in the evening [in his cart], and it was very dark. He saw Mr. Baker afterwards pay the money for the sails to King, who gave him a bill of them, with his mark upon it as a receipt. Witness afterwards said that he did not know that the premises that he took the sails from were occupied by King; it was next door to where King lived; it was 30 yards from Mr. Willet’s; he did not know whether the premises belonged to the prisoner or not. {This witness throughout gave his evidence very hesitatingly, as if reluctant to disclose the whole truth, and was repeatedly reproved by the Chairman.} The prisoner King has absconded.

From information, Mr. Morgan (the prosecutor) received he had reason to suspect that part of the stolen property was concealed upon the prisoner’s premises. He accordingly came to Colchester, and obtained a search-warrant, and Reeves, the officer of the Court, was directed to execute it.

Reeves stated, that under the Magistrates’ direction, he, on the 1st inst. went to East Donyland, accompanied by Mr. J.G. Chamberlain, the Deputy Sergeant of the Cinque Ports, and Mr. J.U. Argent, to search the house of the prisoner. On going into the house, the wife of the prisoner told him that there was nothing in the house that he was looking for, and resisted his going up stairs; but he insisted, and went up, and under the bed he found secreted two jib sails, which he took down stairs, and gave them into the charge of Mr. Chamberlain. The prisoner was not at home at the time, and was not apprehended until two days afterwards.

Mr. J.G. Chamberlain corroborated the testimony of the witness Reeves, and stated that they first searched the house of King, but found nothing; but King acknowledged having a Trawl, and that the two jib sails were at the prisoner’s house. Mr. Morgan, on seeing the sails, immediately identified them as his property. After they had searched the prisoner’s house, they went again to King’s house, and found the Trawl, secreted, and Mr. Morgan identified it.

Cross-examined. King said he had sent the sails to the prisoner’s house.

Mr. Morgan re-called. On examining the sails, I did not observe my name upon them, but I instantly knew them by their make.

Mr. Chamberlain re-called. No part of the property found at King’s or the prisoner’s house, had been reported to him. A boat and oars belonging to the wrecked vessel, had been reported.

The prisoner said, that King had brought the sails to his house when he was from home, and he did not know they were there. He always kept sails under his bed; therefore he did not notice them in particular.

Reeves re-called. There were no other sails under the bed but the two jib sails, that he took away.

Mr. John Baker cross examined by Mr. Goody. I never offered to compromise the matter with the prisoner; and I never acknowledged that I had done so.

By Mr. Philbrick. The prisoner, on one occasion, came up to me at the Hythe, and said he wished to have the matter settled, and he would pay all the money that had been paid for the sails. I went with prisoner and Mr. Willet to the Queen’s Head, and they both offered to pay the money; there was another man present, also Mr. Argent and Reeves. The prisoner took a number of sovereigns and some silver out of his pocket, and told them upon the table. Reeves told the money over, and said there were £6.15s. I refused to compromise, and the money was taken back.

The witness Mason re-called by the Bench. I first saw the sails on Mr. Willet’s premises, and they were afterwards removed.

The Chairman expressed his surprise that Mr. Willet (knowing this examination would take place) was not present to remove any suspicion that might be entertained against him, in consequence of the sails being first discovered upon his premises.

The witness Mason again re-called and examined by the Chairman. Are you sure that the sails were upon Mr. Willet’s premises when you first saw them? The witness very prevaricatingly replied that he believed them to be Mr. Willet’s premises.

Mr. Chamberlain. The witness knows as well as any one, that the premises belong to Mr. Willet, for he has worked for him for 30 years.

The witness admitted that he had worked for Mr. Willet for 30 years. He was again reproved by the Bench for giving his testimony so reluctantly. He then stated, that he went about in bodily fear, as he was stigmatised by the whole neighbourhood as an informer, and a number of persons had threatened to drown him, or make away with him some how.

The Chairman told him, he had not enough of the informer about him in that instance, for he was too reluctant to put the Bench into possession of all he knew of the matter. If any one threatened or assaulted him the Bench would protect him.

The prisoner was then fully committed for trial at the next Adjourned Sessions, at Chelmsford.- On the application of Mr. Goody, he was admitted to bail, himself in £80 and two sureties in £40 each.

As Mr. Willet was not in Court, he was sent for by the direction of the Chairman, and in about ten minutes he presented himself before the Bench.

The Chairman told him that the Bench had sent for him in consequence of what had transpired in evidence before them relative to the case with which he (Mr. W.) was well acquainted. The Bench were of opinion that he did not stand clear of the transaction; therefore, they wished to give him an opportunity of clearing up his character. The witness, Mason, had stated that he had seen the sails upon his (Mr. W.’s) premises; and Mr. Baker had stated that he (Mr. W.) had offered a sum of money to hush the matter up [so that his Captain (King) might not be implicated]. These were circumstances that were very suspicious; therefore, the Bench wished to hear what he had to say.

Mr. Willet said that he never saw Mason about the sails at all, nor did he know that they were upon his premises, as he scarcely ever was at home, except on a Sunday.

Mason re-called.- Mr. Willet never shewed me the sails. Here the witness prevaricated, and denied having said that he had any conversation with Mr. Willet about the sails; but the Chairman said he felt confident that he had so stated in his evidence, and the reporters present were referred to, who confirmed the opinion of the Chairman, who then asked Mr. Willet how he could reconcile the fact of offering to compromise the felony.

Mr. Willet. I never offered to pay the money; but another person did. I certainly wanted to clear King from the transaction.

The Chairman told Mr. Willet that his offering to compromise the matter was extremely suspicious, for it was not the act of an honest man. In fact he could see but little difference in his position to that of the prisoner, for he had not at all cleared himself by his explanation.

At the suggestion of Mr. Mills, Mr. Willet was held to bail in £40 to appear when called upon, by the Bench, to answer any charge that may be brought against him.

Mr. Willet immediately entered into the required sureties, and left the Court.

The investigation lasted three hours.”

CHELMSFORD CHRONICLE - 2 December 1836 - “Adjourned Session, Tuesday - CHARGE AGAINST A RESPECTABLE INDIVIDUAL - Joseph Brown, 33, a smack-owner, of East Donyland, surrendered to take his trial on a charge of receiving two jib sails, the property of Mr. Morgan, knowing them to be stolen.- Mr. Dowling stated the case for the prosecution. The Jane, the property of Mr. Morgan, was stranded on the Essex coast, and having been left by the crew it was discovered that part of the property had been taken away. Hand-bills were immediately printed to warn honest people of the loss, and the two jib sails were afterwards traced to the possession of the prisoner.- Mr. Knox appeared for the defence.- Mr. James Morgan examined. I was the owner of the smack Jane, of the port of London. On the 12th of Oct. I understood she was stranded on the Mapland (sic) Sands, on the Essex coast, nearly off Foulness Island. Learning that some of the property had been taken away I immediately had hand-bills circulated at Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea, stating that the sails had been lost. From information I received I afterwards procured a search warrant but did not go with the constable to execute it.- Cross-examined. The vessel was stranded and was totally lost to me; it went to pieces.- Wm. Reeves. I am a constable, I went with a search warrant to the house of the prisoner, on the 1st of Nov. On searching the house I found two jib-sails under the bed, between the bed and the mattress. I gave them to Mr. Chamberlain; I saw the prisoner two days after, and took him into custody; he said he knew nothing about the sails.- Mr. Chamberlain. I am the Deputy-Sergeant of the Cinque Ports. The sails were delivered to me, and Mr. Morgan recognized them as his.- Cross-examined. Brown’s house perhaps is not within the jurisdiction of the Cinque Ports. Part of the Mapland (sic) Sands are within the limits of the Cinque Ports; I have heard that the spot where the vessel was lost was in that jurisdiction.- Joseph Pagnell. I was foremast man of the Jane.  After the vessel stranded we were obliged to quit it, and we left about 10 at night on the 12th of October; we left five jib-sails on board.- One of the jib-sails was produced; it had on it the name of the vessel, and its owner.- Cross-examined. When we left the vessel there was great danger, and she afterwards went to pieces.- John Baker. I live at Colchester, and know the Queen’s Head, at Hythe; I recollect being sent for to that house, where I found the prisoner who said to me - “this is a bad job.” I said - “you ought to know better;” he said - “I know nothing about it;” I observed - “you will know something about it.” He then said - “I wish we could compromise it, and make it up,- I will pay my share.” The sails of the Jane had been offered for sale, and I had sent my man to buy two of them of a person named King; the sails had not then been discovered at the prisoner’s house, but he was offering to settle the matter for King, the person of whom I had bought the sails. He put five or six sovereigns down upon the table.- Cross-examined. When sails are found in this way the parties are compelled to take them to Mr. Chamberlain. The sails were offered publicly for sale, and I sent my man to buy them, having told Mr. Morgan that if he was not very careful he would never find the matter out.- Mr. Knox here observed that there was a great deal of property exposed in this way on the Essex coast, and the parties taking it to save it from loss, could not be a felony; if they did not take the proper course afterwards there was a mode of proceeding against them.- The Chairman said he thought there was nothing to go to the Jury on this indictment.- Mr. Dowling contended that a larceny had been committed, for there was no waiver of the property. Would it be said that if he laid aside for the moment any property which he had, to save his own life, that it was a waiver of it; he contended that it could not, and that any person taking it to his own use would commit a larceny.- The Chairman observed that in this case the property was publicly sold.- Mr. Dowling still maintained that the prisoner was liable to prosecution for receiving stolen goods.- Mr. Knox said, in such cases the law supposed the property to be abandoned, for it actually encouraged other parties to seize it, by giving them one-fifth; the object was to rescue the property from the remorseless deep.- The Court thought there was no proof of the property having been stolen. Mr. Knox said if mariners, many of whom were in Court, went away with the idea that if when a vessel was abandoned it would be a larceny to take the property, much loss would ensue, because they would leave it - whereas the law actually gave them a reward for taking it.- The prisoner was then acquitted and discharged.”


ESSEX STANDARD - 13 January 1837 - “SALVAGE - THE QUEBEC. This case of salvage was tried on Monday last, at the Three Cups Hotel (Colchester), before T.J. Turner, Esq., Chairman; J.W.E. Green, and R. Hills, Esqrs.

It was an application by F. Smythies, Esq., on behalf of the masters and crews of the fishing smacks called the Prosperous, Martha, Laurel, Gipsy, Hope, and the Friends, of Colchester, for compensation for services rendered by them to the brig Quebec, of North Shields, 233 tons burden, whilst aground of the Gunfleet Sands, on the 4th of December last, on her passage from Newcastle to London. The value of the ship, with cargo, was agreed to be £1050.

Mr. Billingsley, of Harwich, appeared on behalf of the owners of the Quebec.

The following are the facts of the case as stated by the salvors:- On the night of Sunday the 4th of Dec. last, about 10 o’clock, Barnabas Wasp, the master of the Prosperous, in company with the Martha, discovered a vessel aground on the Gunfleet Sands, about a mile east of the beacon. They immediately weighed anchor and made to the ship, manned his boat and reached the brig about half-past two o’clock next morning; he inquired of the captain if he should assist in getting her off the sand. The captain told him that he would first endeavour to get her off with his own crew. The wind at this time blew a heavy gale from the west. Wasp seeing the danger of the brig remained on board. About half-past five, a.m., Woods, master of the Martha, and two of the crew, went on board, but were likewise told that they did not then stand in need of assistance. About half an hour before high tide the captain of the brig, apprehending danger, from her having made water, told the crews of the smacks to use their exertions in getting her off; to accomplish which, they first made fast a hawser of 90 fathoms, of the Prosperous, to the capstan of the brig, and led another hawser from the brig to the capstan of one of the smacks, and a heavy strain was hove; but owing to the fall of the tide the vessel could not be removed from her dock. It was then considered necessary to lighten the brig, and about 20 tons of coals were taken out, in the hopes that next flood, she might make a head. At this time the smacks Laurel, Friends, and Gipsy, came up and were shortly afterwards employed by the captain of the brig to render assistance, the danger having greatly increased. The crews of the five smacks continued to lighten her till two o’clock, p.m., when they sounded the pump, and found she had made 23 inches of water; part of the hands were immediately set to the pumps, which were worked for an hour, when they again sounded and found the water had increased, notwithstanding the exertions at the pumps and relieving the vessel, to 3 feet. The pumping was continued, and at half past three there was five feet of water in the hold; and between four and five it had gained two feet more. The wind continued to blow very hard W. by S. Night coming on, it was the opinion of all on board, that the vessel must become a total wreck, insomuch that the crew of the brig packed up their clothes and hammocks and sent them on board one of the smacks. The crews of the smacks with that of the brig, kept at the pumps till six o’clock, when it was found the water that had been shipped was got under, there being but 5 feet. Their exertions were kept up till seven, and then there was then but 23 inches. At 8 o’clock, the sixth smack, Hope, came up, when its crew was called upon by the captain to assist. It was high water at 9 o’clock that night (Monday), and preparations were again made to get her off. The hawser was made fast to the capstan of one of the smacks, all sail set that the brig could carry, part of the men hove at the capstan, the other part continued either at the pumps or lightening the cargo, when she was got ahead about 30 fathoms upon the sand, and was again left by the tide; but lay in such a position as to ship but little water. At the next tide, sail was again set, a hawser was attached to the anchor of the Prosperous, carried out to 80 fathoms, and dropped in four fathoms of water. A heavy strain was hove from the smack till nine o’clock, when she was got off, the hawser shipped, and the smacks proceeded with her to Harwich, where they arrived about twelve o’clock on the Tuesday morning, the brig having shipped from the leaks, about 18 inches of water in her passage, which was kept under by the pumps. At the first part of the proceedings in their endeavours to get off, the crew of the brig was so exhausted from working at the pumps, that they were almost incapable of rendering assistance; and the boat of the smacks were several times so much filled with water, from the heaviness of the sea, that they were only prevented from being swamped by a man continually being kept bailing out the water, and were all very much injured by coming in contact with each other.

This was the case for the salvors.

Mr. Billingsley cross-examined several of the salvors, and on the part of the owners of the brig, called John Warden, captain of the Quebec, to prove that only three of the smacks Prosperous, Martha, and Laurel, were engaged by his orders to render assistance in getting her from the sands; and he, on being sworn, admitted having engaged the three smacks mentioned, but not having, to his knowledge, required it from the others, but supposed that they had been engaged by the other smacks. He also stated, that at the time of the hawser being attached to the capstan of the smack Prosperous, and on its being hove taut, the brig began to make ahead, the smack’s crew refused to continue heaving for fear of breaking their hawser. He then sent on board the smack a new hawser from the brig, having first secured one end to the capstan, but it was thrown overboard by the smack’s crew, and was rendered useless. It was his firm opinion, that had they not slackened the hawser in their first attempt, the vessel might have been got off the sand without being relieved of her cargo, which evidence was corroborated by Joseph Millwood, the mate.

To confute this evidence, Barnabas Wasp was called who stated that he was in the cabin with the captain, when he told him to have the crews of the Gipsy and Friends engaged, and was on deck with him when he (the captain) requested the assistance of the sixth smack, the Hope. As to having slackened the hawser, which caused the brig again to settle in the sand, he said, that had he not done so the smack must have slipped her cable; and that, as the tide was at half ebb, it was impossible for the vessel to have made one inch ahead. In this evidence he was supported by the rest of the salvors.

This was the amount of evidence on both sides.

The Chairman, after a private consultation, said that they had given the greatest consideration to the case, and as on the one hand the facts clearly proved the vessel was in great danger, and on the other hand the greatest exertions had been made by the salvors, and through their exertions, which were attended with great danger to their lives and property, the vessel had been saved, they were entitled to a liberal compensation. It was not for the Court to fix the amount that each vessel should receive, as that would be settled by themselves - some having doubtless received greater damage than others. The opinion of the Court was, that the salvors were entitled to a compensation of £400, and the costs should be equally borne by each party.

The investigation lasted from half-past one till four o’clock.”

ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 23 March 1838 - “WRECK OFF THE COAST OF ESSEX - On Tuesday last, as a schooner, called the Betsey, of and from Whitby, Tate master, bound to London, laden with flag-stone, was proceeding up the Swin, she sprung a leak, and notwithstanding the exertions of the crew to keep the water under, it gained on them so fast, that, in order to prevent her going down in deep water, they were compelled to run her ashore, which they did on the Blacktail Sand, and, in consequence of the badness of the weather, she was soon embedded in the same seven or eight feet, and totally lost, with her cargo. The crew and materials were saved by the crew of the smack Snowdrop, of this port, who afterwards landed them at Wivenhoe.”


ESSEX STANDARD - 16 November 1838 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE, Saturday, November 10 - CHARGE OF STEALING FROM A WRECK - Henry Crickmore, a mariner, from East Donyland, was charged with stealing a tiller and stores from the ship “Hutchinson,” of the port of Sunderland, which was wrecked on the Gunfleet sands during the gale of the 28th ult.; and John Crickmore, the father of the former prisoner, was charged with receiving a boat sail, knowing it to have been stolen from the said wreck.- Mr. Barnes, solicitor, conducted the case on the part of the prosecution, and Mr. J.H. Church appeared for the prisoners.

Captain Thomas Hutchinson stated, that he was master and part owner of the ship “Hutchinson,” which got upon the Gunfleet sands, as above stated, and himself and crew were obliged to leave her, about two o’clock in the morning of the 29th ult., and take to their boat. He had since seen the tiller of the ship, the boat sail, about 2 cwt. of rope, which had been cut from the sails, and a variety of stores, in the possession of Mr. Chamberlain, of Wivenhoe. [Here the articles were produced, and identified by witness.]

William reeves, the constable, searched the house of the elder prisoner, in company with the witness, who had obtained a search-warrant, and they found the boat sail in one of the rooms of the house. The prisoner told them he was not aware that any property of that description was in his house; and he did not know how it came there. He offered no obstruction to the search. Witness also found the rope in question secreted under a hedge, in a field near the prisoner’s house, which is occupied by him.

Mr. J.G. Chamberlain, the Deputy Sergeant of the Cinque Ports, of Wivenhoe, stated that the prisoner, Henry Crickmore, in company with a man, named Samuel Harris (who has since absconded), came to him on the 4th inst., and told him he had an anchor and chain on board his vessel, the “Blue Eyed Maid,” that he had taken at sea; and Harris also said, that he had a quantity of coals on board his vessel, the “Prosperous,” of Row-hedge, that he had also taken from a wreck, on the Gunfleet sands. Witness having previous intimation, that both the prisoner and Harris had taken a considerable quantity of stores from the wreck, he asked them particularly whether they had anything else but what they had reported, and they said, “No.” Being aware that depredations were very frequently committed upon the stores and cargo of vessels wrecked in that district, witness was determined to detect them if possible; and having obtained the assistance of Mr. J. U. Argent, the Comptroller of Customs at Colchester, they went over to Row-hedge, and went on board the “Prosperous,” and found Harris and the crew on board. Witness saw several things on board that he felt convinced had not been honestly obtained, but nothing of much importance; and he asked Harris if he kept a store, and he said he did; and they went ashore to the storehouse, and found all the articles produced in Court, which had been identified by the captain as belonging to the ship. On coming out of the storehouse, witness saw a ship’s tiller lying at some distance, and he said, “That is the tiller of the wreck,” and the prisoner Henry Crickmore coming up at the time, said “Yes it is; I cut it away, and intended to use it, but I found I could not.”

Cross-examined. Witness had previously  searched the “Blue Eyed Maid,” but found nothing there but an anchor and chain, that the prisoner had reported. The prisoner Henry Crickmore is in partnership with Harris, in the vessels “Prosperous” and “Blue Eyed Maid.”

Mr. Barnes then examined the wife of the elder prisoner, but could elicit nothing favourable to his case.

Mr. Church submitted that no evidence had been adduced to affect either of the prisoners, for it appeared the principal, Harris, had run away. With regard to the elder prisoner, not the least proof had been shown that he had the least knowledge of the boat sail being in his house, or the rope in his field. He was a man of good character, and he had been constable of the parish for many years, and it would be very hard upon him to commit for trial upon such evidence. And with regard to the younger prisoner, the only evidence against him was, his own voluntary conversation with Mr. Chamberlain about the tiller of the vessel, which was far from the act of a guilty party. There was not the least proof that he took it from the wreck.

Mr. Barnes submitted, that there was quite sufficient evidence to commit upon, but if the Bench would allow the case to stand over for a week, he had no doubt he could procure further evidence.

The Magistrates consulted for a considerable time, and the Chairman told the elder prisoner, they had decided upon discharging him, but would remand his son for a week.

Daniel Taylor, Barnabas Wasp, and another, were then placed at the bar, charged with stealing several cupboard doors from the cabin of the wreck, but were allowed to depart on their promising to appear again on Saturday next.”


ESSEX STANDARD - 23 November 1838 - “THE WRECK OF THE SHIP HUTCHINSON - Henry Crickmore, who was remanded on the previous Saturday, upon a charge of stealing a tiller from the above-mentioned wreck, was placed at the bar for final examination. This case excited great interest, and the Justice-room was nearly filled with mariners from Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea, many of whom are salvors.

The depositions of the witnesses at the former examination of the prisoner were read, and Mr. Barnes, solicitor, stated that he had additional evidence to prove how the boat sail came into the house of the prisoner’s father, who was examined and discharged last week. Mr. Barnes then called the prisoner’s brother, James Crickmore, who stated that the prisoner asked him to go into his father’s field, and take a net into his father’s house that had been hung out to dry. Seeing the sail near the spot, he supposed it belonged to his brother, and he took it into the house with the net, but his father knew nothing of it.

The Chairman said that evidence did not affect the prisoner’s father, therefore he was out of the case altogether.

The case against the prisoner at the bar was then resumed, and Mr. E. Church, solicitor, endeavoured to show that the offence did not come within the meaning of the Act of Parliament under which the charge was laid, viz., the 1st and 2nd George IV, cap, 76, sec. 7, which stated, “all anchors, cables, ropes, or other ship’s stores, &c., which may have been parted from, cut from, or left by any ship or vessel in the Downs, or elsewhere, within the jurisdiction aforesaid, shall be taken possession of by pilots, boatmen, hovellers, or other person or persons, shall be by them delivered, either at Ramsgate, Deal, or Dover, Harwich, Brightlingsea, or Wivenhoe, the places declared by this Act for the reception of all such articles, in the same state in which they were found, to the Sergeant of the Admiralty of the Cinque Ports aforesaid, or their Deputy; and if such articles so taken be not immediately delivered and duly reported, the parties, on conviction, shall be deemed guilty or receiving goods, knowing them to stolen.”

Mr. Church ably contended, that there was no proof that the tiller in question was not parted with, cut from, or left by the ship, therefore it was no offence under the statute.

Mr. Barnes said, he had not confined himself to any particular section of the Act, but the offence came clearly under the 8th section, viz., “That all stores or materials, &c., which may be preserved from any ship or vessel stranded, deserted by her crew, or wrecked on shore, within the jurisdiction, &c. shall be immediately delivered and duly reported, or the parties, on conviction, shall be deemed guilty of felony.”

The Chairman said, the offence came clearly under that statute.

Mr. Church then proceeded to show by evidence, that it had never been the custom to report such trifling things as tillers to the Deputy Sergeant of the Cinque Ports, and urged in favour of the prisoner, the fact of his voluntarily stating to Mr. Chamberlain that he cut the tiller away, but that he did not know it came ashore. Such was strong presumptive proof, that he was not aware that he had committed any offence, for if on the contrary, he would have said nothing about it. Mr. Church then called a witness to prove, that it was the general practice of salvors when they went on board a wreck, first to cut the tiller away, to prevent its doing mischief to the persons on deck, in saving any part of the ship’s cargo. If such was the case, Mr. Church submitted, that no evidence had been adduced to prove that the prisoner took the tiller on board his vessel after he cut it off; he had committed no offence.

The Bench was of opinion, that as the prisoner’s confession to Mr. Chamberlain, “that he cut the tiller away, and intended it for his own use;” had not at all been disproved, they were bound to commit him for trial at the next Sessions ay Chelmsford.

Mr. Church then applied to have the prisoner admitted to bail, to which the Magistrates assented; and the Chairman said they would require good bail, himself in £100, one surety in £50, and two sureties in £25, each. The prisoner had his sureties in Court, who were accepted, and he was liberated.

James Wass, a man in respectable circumstances, residing in East Donyland, was then placed at the bar, charged with receiving four doors, being part of the materials of the said wreck, knowing them to have been stolen.- Mr. Barnes, on the part of the prosecution, stated that he preferred the charge under the 10th section of the Act of Parliament, which made it a misdemeanour for any person or persons knowingly to purchase or receive any stores or materials, &c., with intent to defraud and injure the owner or owners of the vessel.

Reeves, the constable, stated that he found the doors he then produced in the house of the prisoner.

Captain Thomas Hutchinson, proved that the doors produced were taken from the cabin of the wreck, and were on board when he and the crew left the ship.

The prisoner said, he bought them of a number of sailors in the day time, in public, for 10s. He had been a salvor himself for many years and never knew such trifling things reported to the deputy Sergeant.

The Chairman took the sense of the Bench, and told the prisoner that though it might have been the custom, it was an offence against the law, and the Bench had decided upon committing him for trial; but they would admit him to bail on the same terms as in the former case.- Prisoner procured the sureties and was liberated.

A salvor stepped forward and said, he and others had often risked their lives to save others and had nothing for their trouble; but if they were to be punished for such trifling things as that, of course they would hesitate before they went to the sands to the assistance of any ship or crew again.

The Chairman observed, that such might be his feelings at the moment, but he (the Chairman) knew the Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea Mariners too well to believe for a moment that they would lose sight of humanity, when they saw the life of a brother seaman in jeopardy; for there were not a braver set of men in the kingdom. As there were many of them present, he would advise them to take warning by the cases that had come before the Bench, for after that they could not plead ignorance that the taking and concealing the most trifling articles from a wreck, was an offence against the law.”

ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 9 August 1839 - “WIVENHOE, August 2.- During the heavy gale on Wednesday last, two vessels unfortunately got on the Gunfleet Sand, near the Beacon off this coast; one called the “Egeria,” of Sunderland, Vaux, Master, burthen 235 tons, on a voyage from Archangel to London, with 2,500 quarters of Oats, consigned to the house of Messrs. Ashlin and Sons, Mark Lane; this vessel, although only seven years old, such was the severity of the weather, soon became a complete Wreck; the Crew were landed here last evening.- The other belonged to Gainsboro’, and is called the “Severn,” the Crew, for the preservation of their lives, were compelled to abandon the same; she was afterwards got off, by the skilful judgment and exertions of 5 smacks and their Crews, belonging to East Donyland, after throwing about 30 tons of Shot overboard, and was brought to this place yesterday, with loss of Masts, Bowsprit, Yards, Sails, Rigging, and Rudder - making a deal of water.- The Crew landed at Harwich.- At a meeting, held yesterday, the Committee for managing the affairs of Lloyd’s, were pleased to direct Mr. John G. Chamberlain, of Wivenhoe, their Agent, to pay the sum of ten pounds to the widow and children of the late Mr. Robert Wardley, master of thr smack “Fair Traveller,” of Brightlingsea, who was unfortunately drowned, in attempting to save the crew of the “Frau Heinke,” wrecked on the Gunfleet Sand, on the 11th May last.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 6 September 1839 - “SALVAGE - The barque Possidone, of Odessa, 281 tons burthen, Constantine Inglesse, master, from Antwerp to Naples, agreed value of ship and cargo, £6,460.- This case was heard yesterday at the Three Cups Hotel, before P. Havens, Esq., T.J. Turner, Esq., and G. Round, Esq., in which Joseph Brown, owner and master of the smack “Good Agreement,” William Cranfield, one of the crew of the smack “Phoenix,” and Samuel Taylor, of the smack “Rumley,” sought for compensation, for assistance rendered by them to the above vessel when upon the “Long Sand.” The declaration of the salvors was read over by Mr. J.G. Chamberlain, of Wivenhoe, by which it appeared that they were on board their several smacks during the night of Thursday the 15th August, cruising in the Swin, for the purpose of rendering assistance to any vessels requiring the same. On the 16th, the wind blowing fresh from the south-west, about 7 o’clock Brown and Cranfield went to the mast head of their vessels which they supposed to be aground on the south side of the Long Sand. They immediately made all sail towards her, and when Brown came within his draft of water on the Sunk Sand, he manned his boat, and at imminent peril crossed the Sunk Sand, and reached the vessel about 9 o’clock a.m. They found her lying on her broadside, in a most perilous situation. All was confusion on board, and several water casks had been emptied to relieve the ship. None of the crew could speak English, but by signs the master told Brown that he believed he had grounded off the French coast, he also knew that he required assistance. Brown succeeded in making the captain understand that it was necessary that an anchor should be carried out, and accordingly one was out into the long boat, with two cables, measuring about 1,200 feet, and dropped in a south-east direction. Brown had then charge of the vessel, and made a signal for more assistance, and the “Good Agreement” was afterwards hauled alongside the vessel in order to receive the cargo which had been got on deck. Two casks weighing each about 1,600lbs, were put on board. The bower anchor was then let go and hove up, and the vessel was sheered off by the assistance of the warps, a distance of nearly 400 fathoms, when she became afloat. The hawsers were then slipped and the necessary sails set, and she arrived at Harwich about 8 o’clock p.m., of the same day. And the declaration further set forth that the vessel, her cargo, and the lives of the persons on board were in the utmost danger, and that by their local knowledge, and great personal exertion, she was rescued from such danger. Mr. Billingsley of Harwich appeared on behalf of the owners of the vessel, and cross-examined Brown, in order to show that nothing more had been done by them, than to relieve the vessel about 5 tons, and that the anchor was carried out by the vessel’s own long boat, and principally by her own crew, two only of the smack’s men being in the long boat at the time. The Court awarded the sum of £525 to the salvors, the expenses of the adjudication to be defrayed in equal moieties.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 15 November 1839 - "SALVAGE - The Brig Theinston. This case was heard yesterday, at the Three Cups Hotel, Colchester. Award £75.”

ALSO - ”WIVENHOE, Nov. 12.- The Don Juan, Shearer, from Hamburg to Newfoundland, has been brought into this port leaky, having been on shore on the Mouse Sands, and assisted off after being lightened.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 22 November 1839 - “SALVAGE - The brig Theinston, 99 tons burthen, Shields, coals. This case, in which John Powell, mariner, of East Donyland, claimed compensation for services rendered to the above brig when upon the Knowl Sand on the 28th October last, came on for hearing at the Three Cups Hotel, on Thursday last, before T.J. Turner, Esq. (Chairman), R. Hills, Esq., and J.W.E. Green, Esq. Mr. H.S. Goody appeared for the salvor, and Mr. G. Chamberlain on behalf of the owners of the brig. Agreed value of the ship and cargo £600. The following are the facts of the case. On the morning of the 28th of October last, the appearant was in the smack, the Lord Howe, with five hands on board, cruising in the Wallett, on the look-out for ships that might require assistance, a heavy gale blowing south by south-east. About ten o’clock they saw the brig Theinston touch lightly upon the Eagle Sands, then go off again; but from the course which she immediately took they saw that she was running into great danger; they therefore made sail towards her, but before they could reach her she struck upon the Knowl Sand, where she remained. They reached the sand in the smack, and then with great difficulty and danger crossed it in the boat with their hands. The master gladly availed himself of their offers of assistance, and James Blackwell, one of the smack’s crew, proceeded to take steps to get her off the sand, on which she was bumping very heavily with two feet of water in her hold. Two pumps were set to work; the best bower anchor dropped from her bows and 30 fathoms of chain run out; the sails were then clued [clewed]; and at next high tide, about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the cable was slipped, and the brig was got off the sand and brought into the Colne waters; from whence she was conducted by the appearant to Maldon, to which port she was bound.- Mr. Chamberlain addressed the Court in mitigation of the amount of salvage, urging that the service was attended with but little exertion or risk, and was moreover of very short duration. The Court awarded £75.”


CHELMSFORD CHRONICLE - 5 March 1841 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE, February 27.- Mr. James Mothersole, a respectable smack-owner of East Donyland, appeared to an information at the instance of the Board of Customs, charging him with illegally unshipping, and having in his possession a piece of foreign timber on shore, in the port of Colchester, without having given notice to the proper officer of Customs, that he had such timber, and that the duty thereon had not been paid, by which he had rendered himself liable to the penalty of £100.- Mr. Barnes appeared on the part of the Board of Customs, and Mr. J.H. Church for defendant.- Mr. Barnes laid the charge in two counts. The first under the 3 and 4 oh Wm. IV. ch. 52, sec. 51., which states, “that all foreign goods shall at all times be subject to the same duty, if landed at the Port of Colchester, or any of the Cinque Ports, as at any other Port. And if any person shall have possession of any such goods, and shall not give notice to the proper officer within 24 hours after having such possession, such person shall forfeit the sum of £100.” And by the 114 sec. it says, “that if such goods shall be seized for non-payment of duties, then in such a case the proof (if any can be adduced) that the duty has been paid upon such goods, shall be in the owner of them. “ The second count was under the 53 chap, of the Act, for having kept and concealed, and not having duly reported the same to the proper officer of Customs, which rendered defendant liable to the same penalty.

Mr. Barnes called Wm. Probin, a Customs landing waiter at the Port of Colchester, who stated, that he received information that defendant had a piece of foreign timber, upon which the duty had not been paid, and which was lying in Mr. Harris’s yard at East Donyland, which is in the Port of Colchester. He went thither on the 7th of December last, and saw defendant, and asked  him how he came by it; he said he bought it at Exeter, but of whom he did not know, nor could he state what sort of person he was, as he did not take particular notice of him. The piece of timber in question was a piece of foreign fir timber, subject to duty. The value of it about 1s. 2d. per foot, as it was partially damaged; it had never been used. Defendant said he gave 50s. for it, which was considerably more than its value, as it was but 26 feet long.

William Reeves, general constable, stated, that on the 23rd of December last, he saw defendant at the Lion Inn, Colchester, and had conversation with him about a piece of timber. Defendant said he had to travel 400 miles about a piece of timber lying in Harris’s yard, at East Donyland. Witness told him he should have delivered it up at the Depot at Wivenhoe, and defendant made no reply.

This was the case on the part of the prosecution.

Mr. Church asked Mr. Barnes which of the two counts he meant to rest his charges upon.

Mr. Barnes said, he should make no selection, as defendant had committed two distinct offences; one, for not duly reporting the timber, and the other for having in his possession goods upon which the duty had not been paid, without giving notice to the proper officer. He (Mr. B.) would press both the charges, and not make any selection.

Mr. Church then submitted that the case must fall, as there was no proof that defendant had illegally unshipped the timber, or that he had not paid the duty upon it; or that it was ever derelict and flotsam at sea; or that defendant found it at sea, or that there was any concealment of the property, which brought defendant within the meaning of the Act of Parliament, as the timber was found in Mr. Harris’s public ship yard, and was never upon defendant’s premises at all. He hoped, therefore, that the bench would take all these circumstances into their most serious consideration, before they came to a decision, as it was most important to defendant; for he (Mr. C.) was not aware whether the bench had the power to mitigate the penalty in case of conviction.

Mr. Williams, Collector of Customs, said, the Magistrates had power to mitigate the penalty to one fourth.

Mr. Barnes, in reply, submitted that it was not necessary for him to show that the piece of timber had been picked up at sea; for in cases of that sort it was generally impossible for the parties prosecuting to adduce such proof, nor did the Act of Parliament require it, for it said that if any goods should be seized for non-payment of duties thereon, it was for the defendant to show in what manner he came into possession of them. Therefore, under the first count, the offence had been proved, as he had traced possession to defendant.

The Chairman (after consulting with the rest of the bench) said, that as the case was an important one, the Magistrates did not wish to treat it too hastily, therefore they would defer giving their decision till next Saturday, as to whether the onus laid upon defendant to show in what manner ne came into possession of the timber, or that the duty had been paid upon it.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 7 May 1841 - “VESSEL SUNK ON THE BUXY SAND - On Tuesday morning last the Lively (Humberkeel), W. Seaton, master, from Goole, in Yorkshire, laden with stone, and bound for London, struck upon Buxy Sand, off the mouth of the Colne Harbour, and sunk. The crew were saved by the exertions of the master and crew of the Lord Howe smack, of Rowhedge, who nearly lost their lives in their efforts to save some of the sails and tackle of the sinking vessel. The destitute crew of the Lively were relieved and forwarded to London by the honorary agent to the “Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Benevolent Society” ....”

The Humber Keel was a type of sail craft used for inshore and inland cargo transport around Hull and the Humber Estuary.


ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 10 December 1841 - “SALVAGE - Yesterday (Thursday) J. Bawtree, G. Round, and J.W.E. Green, Esqrs., sat as Commissioners of Salvage, at the Cups Hotel, Colchester, for the purpose of awarding compensation to the crew of the smack Sea Mew, for being instrumental in saving the lives of fourteen of the crew of the barque Union, of London (Howard, master), lately ashore on the Sunk Sand, off the Essex coast.- Mr. F.G. Abell, solicitor, appeared on behalf of the salvors.- It appeared from the evidence of George Cook, Henry Simons, and Philip King, that on the 28th of October last the Sea Mew, while in the Swin, descried the Union on the Sunk Sand, when the crew of the Sea Mew, assisted by men from two other smacks, rowed towards the Union, and found the crew on board. They immediately set to work at the pumps, and used every possible means to save the vessel and cargo; but after twenty-four hours’ service (having saved the crew, fourteen in number) they were compelled to abandon the undertaking, and the vessel soon afterwards went to wreck. The crew were landed the next day at Wivenhoe. A boat, together with four oars, a kedge anchor, and cable, were lost by the salvors, and another boat damaged.- After a short deliberation J. Bawtree, Esq., told the salvors that the Court had given the case their best consideration, and in their award had made no difference between the different crews engaged, as it appeared they were all embarked in the same cause, and were all desirous of rendering assistance. The Court had taken into consideration the loss of the boat, &c., and had decided on awarding £45 for the services rendered, together with a moiety of the expenses incurred in the present inquiry.”

ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 10 December 1841 - - “COLCHESTER CASTLE. Saturday, December 4,- CUSTOM HOUSE INFORMATION - Mr. J.S. Barnes appeared on behalf of Mr. W.P. Gardiner, collector of Customs for the Port of Colchester, to support an information against John Rogers, a thatcher, of Fingringhoe, charging him with knowingly harbouring and concealing twelve foreign deals, the duty on which had not been paid. Mr. Barnes said that under the 44th section of the 3rd and 4th George IV., c.63, the defendant had rendered himself liable to a penalty treble the value of the goods found. He should show that the defendant was in possession of the deals, and it would be for him to prove that they were lawfully come by, and that the duty on them had been paid. The value of the deals was but trifling, but such practices had been carried on to so great an extent, that the Collector considered it his duty to bring the case before the bench.- The penalty sued for amounted to £10. 16s.- James Webb, a Custom-house officer, deposed that in consequence of orders from his superior officer, he, in company with the Comptroller (Mr. J.W. Argent), went to the defendant’s house, at Fingringhoe Haye, and in a loft pver the stable he found twelve foreign deals, which he seized. He afterwards saw the defendant, who told him that he had bought the deals of a man named Crickmore, at Rowhedge.- Mr. Gardiner here observed that the proceedings were instituted in consequence of information that the defendant had been engaged in selling wrecked property. The deals were not in the same state as when imported, but had been cut to the length of about ten feet, apparently to enable them to be put in the hold of a smack.- This being the case for the prosecution. Rogers stated, in defence, that he bought the deals of John Crickmore, a carpenter, who at that time lived at Birdsbrook, in East Donyland; he did not understand any thing about duty.- Mr. W.S. Cooper, solicitor for the defendant, contended that there was no charge against the defendant - that the transaction on his part was bona fide - that he purchased the deals for the purpose of repairing a shed - that they were not concealed, but were laid in an open building until required for his work, and then they were removed to the loft where they were found. Mr. Cooper then called the following witnesses:- Charles Ratford, a labourer, living next door to defendant, stated that he saw some deals in a shed in defendant’s yard, but he could not swear that they were the same as those seized by the Custom-house Officer.- John Crickmore, a carpenter, deposed that about a year ago he sold twelve deals to the defendant, who fetched them about the middle of the day. The deals were 12 feet long when the defendant bought them, but he (witness) cut about a foot off each, at the defendant’s request. He had not seen the deals since, and could not swear they were those seized.- Mr. Barnes submitted that the defendant had not proved his case, as there was nothing to show that the deals were the same as those deposed by the witnesses.- The Chairman said that as the case at present stood the bench were of opinion that the charge had not been sufficiently made out against Rogers; but if Mr. Barnes thought he should be able to bring further evidence the case might be adjourned till next Saturday.- We have authority to state that the information against the defendant in the above case will be withdrawn; and that the Collector has recommended the Board of Customs to institute proceedings in the Court of Exchequer.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 20 January 1843 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE - Saturday, January 7. SERIOUS CHARGE AGAINST THE MASTER OF A VESSEL - Thomas Barnard, of Rowhedge, master of the smack Unity, was brought up on a charge of having, between the 17th and 20th of August last, feloniously stolen a chain attached to the Black-tail Beacon, in the Swin, the property of the Corporation of the Trinity House.

Mr. Sayers Turner appeared to support the charge, and Mr. Goody for the prisoner.

Mr. Turner said he was instructed by the Trinity Board to bring before the Bench a case of a very serious nature. He was not aware till about two hours before the sitting of the Bench that the prisoner was in custody, and therefore he had not been able to procure the attendance of all the witnesses in the case; he thought, however, he should be able to bring sufficient evidence to warrant the Bench in committing the prisoner, or at all events to remand him. The circumstances of the case were these:- Some distance from Brightlingsea, on a dangerous part called the Maplin Sand, was placed what is called the Black-tail Beacon, which was the property of the Trinity Board. The beacon consisted of a sunk vessel, with a single mast, supported by shrouds; and he should be able to show that some time in the month of August last, the prisoner, who was at that time at sea, ordered his men to go with him to the sands to look for wilks (sic); they afterwards went to the beacon, when the defendant stole a chain which was attached to it, and the removal of which was very likely to have the effect of destroying the beacon. He (Mr. Turner) was afraid the prisoner’s motive was not the value of the chain, but something of a worse nature.

Mr. Turner then called Joseph Kent, who said - I am a seaman and live at Wivenhoe; in the month of August last I was a seaman on board the smack Unity, of which the prisoner is master; the crew consisted of four, including the captain; between the 15th and the end of August, we were off the Swin; I remember on the 17th or 18th of August going with the prisoner and the apprentice Salmon in a boat to the Sand to get some wilks. We did not get any, and Barnard then said he would go to the beacon to get some muscles (sic); we went there, and the prisoner got up the beacon, and when he came down he said “here’s a piece of chain which I want, and I’ll have it;” Edward Salmon helped him, the prisoner telling him that if he did not he would “rope’s end” him; prisoner took the chain and carried it on board, the chain was at the bottom of the beacon, one end being fastened to the shrouds and the other to the sunk vessel; the chain is called a “lanyard,” and was used to support the mast; I told him he ought not to take it, for if the beacon fell down vessels would go ashore; he said “he would have it, and it would be a b----y good thing if the beacon did fall down, for then he should get a job; I do not know what he meant by that; the prisoner took the chain, and we then rowed to the vessel and Barnard took it on board.

Cross-examined by Mr. Goody. This was about six months ago; I have left his service nearly six months; I do not know how long Barnard was up the beacon; If the apprentice swears that while Barnard was up the beacon & I stole the chain he will be false; If he swears that I had to take my shirt off and stoop a foot under water to get the chain it will be false; I can swear that the chain was not in the boat when Barnard came from the top of the beacon; I never spoke about this to Harry Cook or anybody else till I spoke to the Collector; If anybody swears that Barnard blamed me for taking the chain, or that I wanted to get another piece, it will be untrue; I can swear that he told the lad he would “rope’s end” him if he did not help him; I can swear that I told him he ought not to take it; and that for six months I never told anybody of it.

By The Chairman. Barnard did not ask me to assist him.

By Mr. Turner. We came home directly after this happened, and I then left his service; I thought I should get into further trouble if I kept with him; another reason why I left him was because he would not pay me my share.

By Mr. Goody. The reason why I did not get a warrant against him was because I did not wish to get him into trouble. I was once before this Bench for stealing oysters, but was let off.

Mr. Richard Stevens, collector of customs, examined. On the 12th of December I received information from Mr. Bull that Barnard had got the chain which was stolen from the Black-tail Beacon; I went to Brightlingsea, and, in company with Mr. Bull, went on board the prisoner’s vessel; I saw two men and Salmon the apprentice; Salmon denied that there was any chain on board; Barnard was not there, but I subsequently saw him at Wivenhoe; I asked him if he had got a chain belonging to the beacon? he said it was on board his vessel, and that he had had it about three months; I told him he had done very wrong; he said that Joseph Kent, one of his men, took it, but he (Barnard) knew he had done wrong in not reporting it; I told him I had orders to take it, and directed him to leave it with Mr. Chamberlain, at Wivenhoe, which he promised to do; prisoner did not leave the chain at Wivenhoe; I saw no more of him till the 24th of December, when he came to the Customs-House with Mr. Chamberlain; prisoner then said he had put the chain back, and had to go six feet under water to do so.

By Mr. Goody. Barnard did not attempt to deny that the chain was on board his vessel; he said that Kent took it while he was up the beacon; it was a small chain, and there would have been no difficulty in concealing it.

By Mr. Turner. I did not hear that he had replaced it till I began to investigate this matter.

Mr. William Argent, Clerk at the Custom House, heard Barnard say that he took the chain back to the beacon and replaced it; and that he had to go down six feet under water.

Mr. Goody then addressed the Bench for the prisoner, who (he said) was very much surprised at having been called upon at this distant period to answer this charge, especially upon the evidence of the very man whom he should bring evidence to show committed the offence himself. He thought the Bench after hearing the evidence would say that this was a case got up at the instigation of certain parties, who had induced Kent to come forward to do the prisoner an irreparable injury. This was a case of a serious nature, and he hoped the Bench would sift it to the bottom. He submitted that Barnard had acted fairly in the matter, for he had never secreted the chain, although he might have done so.

Edward Salmon, the apprentice, examined. The prisoner is master of the Unity; and I am his father’s apprentice; I remember, six months ago, going to the sands to get some wilks; Barnard, Kent, and myself went, we afterwards went to the beacon; it was then about low water; Barnard went up the beacon, which is about 30 or 40 feet high, and was up ten minutes or quarter of an hour; while he was up there Kent took the chain from the beacon, and laid it in the boat; Kent had to turn up his shirt sleeves, as part of the chain was under water; when Barnard came down he said if he had been there Kent should not have taken it; Barnard wanted to put it back, but the tide had gained so much that it could not be done; the chain was brought away in the boat; it was not used for anything, but laid about the vessel; it was five or six yards long, and was not so big as my finger.

Cross-examined by Mr. Turner. When we were in the boat at the beacon Kent took the chain; he did not say anything to me about taking it; I do not remember whether he had a coat on or a banyan; whatever he had on was off - (laughter) - he turned up his shirt sleeves; I did not see him take his banyan or coat off; I did not say anything to Kent about its being wrong to take the chain; I am an apprentice, and am forced to do what I am told; I have a “piece of rope” now and then from the captain; I remember Mr. Stevens coming on board the vessel and asking for the chain; I told him there never was a chain on board; that was a lie; I did not say it was there, because I thought it would get Kent into a mess; Kent and I are not very good friends; I know Mr. William Cheek, of Wivenhoe; I saw him last week; I do not remember having any conversation with him.

By The Chairman. I was in the boat when Kent took the chain; I do not know which end he undid first.

Mr. Goody to witness. Do not the muscles fasten themselves to the sunk vessel? and was not Kent searching for them when he took hold of the chain?

Witness. Yes.

The Chairman observed that the witness was very ready to answer “yes” to a question put in that way; but he did not consider it satisfactory evidence.

Mr. Bawtree remarked that Salmon appeared to have been a close observer of Kent, and it was strange he could not tell which end of the chain was undone first.

Mr. J. G. Chamberlain, Deputy Serjeant of the Cinque Ports, examined. I remember Barnard coming to me on the morning after the collector had spoken to me about the chain; I advised him if he was guilty of taking it not to deny it; he told me that Kent took it; he said he should like to go and replace it; I did not advise him to do so.

Mr. Turner then put it to the Bench whether they considered the evidence sufficient to commit the prisoner for trial; if they thought it was not sufficient, he should call on them to remand him.

The Chairman said the Bench were quite of opinion that it was a case which required further investigation, and they should therefore remand the prisoner till next Saturday.

Mr. Goody applied to have the prisoner admitted to bail; which was opposed by Mr. Turner; but the Bench ultimately agreed to do so.

The prisoner was then bound over in the sum of £100 to appear in answer to the charge, and his father and Mr. John Allen became his sureties in £50 each.”


ESSEX  STANDARD - 27 January 1843 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE, Jan.21. THE BEACON CASE - Thomas Barnard, who was remanded last week, was placed at the bar for final examination, charged with stealing a chain from the Black Tail Beacon, upon the Maplin Sand, the property of the Corporation of the Trinity House. The court was densely crowded throughout the investigation, which lasted upwards of three hours.- The depositions taken at the former examination of the prisoner was read, and Mr, Turner for the prosecution called several additional witnesses.

Two youths named Cheek stated, that Edward Salmon, who had sworn he saw Kent take the chain told them the prisoner took it.- Wm. Crickman (sic), master of the Blue-Eyed Maid said, the prisoner told him he had taken some chain from a jib tack from the beacon.

Mr. Goody addressed the bench for the defendant on the nature of the evidence adduced, and called a witness to prove that Kent left the prisoner because he ran the vessel on the hardway at Donyland.

As the bench intimated that the offence would be treated as a felony, Mr. Goody proceeded to argue that the case was one for fine or imprisonment, and not for commitment for felony.

Mr. Turner referred the bench to the 4th and 5th Geo. IV. which rendered parties liable to be tried for felony, who had committed murder, robberies, or piracy, upon the high seas; therefore it was quite clear, that as the beacon was the private property of the Trinity House, the magistrates had power to treat the case as one of felony.

The bench decided on committing the prisoner for trial.

Mr. Goody applied for bail, but the chairman said, they were of opinion it was a case in which they ought not to admit of bail. Therefore the prisoner stood fully committed to Newgate for trial at the Central Criminal Court.”


ESSEX  STANDARD - 27 January 1843 - “MELANCHOLY OCCURRENCE - On Wednesday last an inquest was held at the Ship public-house, Rowhedge, before J.M. Churchill, Esq., coroner, on the body of a young man named Henry Turner, a mariner, who came to his death under the following melancholy circumstances. It appeared that the deceased belonged to the smack Ino of this port, which was on the look-out in the Swin, for the purpose of rendering assistance to vessels in distress, when early in the morning of Tuesday last they discovered a ship on the Gunfleet Sand, and the deceased, with Captain Blackwell, and another seaman, put off in a sail-boat to go to her, but a sudden squall upset the boat, and they all went to the bottom. The body of the deceased was picked up on the sand at low water on the same day, and brought to Rowhedge; but the others have not yet been found. Evidence to the above effect having been heard, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally Drowned.”

ESSEX STANDARD - 10 February 1843 - “THE BLACK-TAIL BEACON CASE - CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT, OLD BAILEY,  Saturday, Feb. 4th. Before Mr. Justice Williams and Mr. Justice Maule.

Thomas Barnard, of East Donyland, Essex, mariner, stood charged with having, on the 18th August last, on the high seas, feloniously stolen and carried away a lanyard chain, belonging to the Black-tail Beacon, the property of the Corporation of Trinity House, of Deptford Strond.

Mr. Clarkson with Mr. Frederick Robinson conducted the prosecution, and Mr. Bodkin and Mr. Ballantine appeared for the prisoner.

On the commencement of the case Mr. Bodkin stated to the Court the determination of the prisoner to plead guilty: and after expressing his belief that the Corporation were prosecuting on public grounds, for the purpose of showing that their beacon must not be trifled with,  the learned Counsel prayed to be allowed to call witnesses to character.

Mr. Clarkson said that the heaviest obligation lay upon the Corporation to suffer no such cases, however small, to pass unnoticed. The learned Counsel then proceeded to explain that the chain which had been taken by the prisoner, though of trifling intrinsic value, was essential to the safety  of the beacon, and, therefore, of the greatest possible importance as regarded the objects of the Corporation, which were no less than the preservation of human life and protection of property; and, he continued, that the Corporation, taking into consideration that the prisoner had acknowledged his guilt, and that he had, after the discovery of his crime been at considerable pains and incurred some peril in order to return the chain to its proper place, were not desirous to press for punishment upon him, but they felt that their public duty left them no discretion in bringing before the Court this case, carrying out of their objects endangered.

The Counsel for the prisoner then called Mr. Chamberlain, of Wivenhoe, Lloyd's Agent, and two other witnesses, who gave him in an excellent character, and spoke to some daring feats of seamanship which he had performed in endeavouring to save vessels from wreck off the Essex coast.   
Mr. Justice Maule, after pointing out the very serious consequences which might result from the commission of such an offence, and the wickedness of robbing the Corporation of that which, while it could be of little use or value to the person stealing it, was the utmost importance to the public, told the prisoner that the Court, acceding to the wish of the prosecutors, and giving weight to the testimony which had been borne to this previous good conduct, would pass a most lenient judgement upon him, and accordingly sentenced him to one week's imprisonment.”

There is probably a record of this case at the National Archives in HO16. Home Office: Returns of Committals for Trial at the Old Bailey and Central Criminal Court. Original returns by the Clerk of the Sessions of the prisoners committed for trial at the Sessions of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery for the City of London and County of Middlesex, with the charges against them and the results of the trials. From November 1834 the returns are of the Central Criminal Court. 1815-1849. 9 volumes.


ESSEX STANDARD - 3 March 1843 - “AWFUL SHIPWRECK AND HEROIC CONDUCT OF SMACKSMEN - During a tremendous gale in the night of the 17th of February the brig Traveller, from Hartlepool to London, got ashore on the Gunfleet sand. On the following morning (Sunday) she was observed by two smacks, the New Gipsy and the Atalanta, of Colchester; she was then fast breaking up, and the crew had taken to the rigging. The gale continuing through the whole of Sunday, and the sea running fearfully high, the smacksmen saw that no boat could live among the breakers, and the only encouragement they could offer to the unfortunate crew was to hoist a colour as a signal that they would not desert them; this was answered by the crew of the brig as well as they were able. The smacks remained there all the Sunday and through the whole of the succeeding night, full of apprehension that when the morning dawned they would find the unfortunate sufferers all gone to their long home: however, to their joyful surprise, at the break of day they observed the crew still in the rigging; and although the violence of the sea had but little, if any, abated, they determined, frightful as was the attempt, to rescue them from their perilous situation. They accordingly manned two boats, one from each smack; and as they entered the breakers all found it to be the most fearful position in which they were ever placed; but after being buffeted for a considerable time, they at length succeeded in reaching the wreck, and took from the rigging the whole crew, ten in number - 6 in the New Gipsy’s boat, and 4 in the Atalanta’s. But though by a kind Providence they had so far succeeded, there was still the difficult task to return to their smacks, and they consulted as to the best side of the sands to re-pass the broken waters: differing in opinion as to the best course to pursue, one went leeward and the other on the Swin side, and were providentially all preserved. The boat on the Swin side, after clearing the sand, fell in with the Gazelle steamer, bound from London to Hull, and put the 6 men on board. The captain kindly laid to, and the remaining 4, after having some refreshment on board the Atalanta, and their clothes cut off, for their limbs were too swollen to pull them off, they were supplied with other clothes, and put on board the Gazelle.”

ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 13 October 1843 - “BOROUGH COURT (COLCHESTER CASTLE), Monday, October 9.- CHARGES OF SMUGGLING - Stephen Hurry, of East Donyland, master of the smack New Gipsy, was summoned by the Custom-House authorities for having in his possession on the 11th of August in the River Colne a foreign spar, the duty upon which had not been paid.- Mr. Sayers Turner appeared to support the information; and Mr. Goody for the defendant. The amount of penalty sought to be recovered was treble the value of the spar, viz., £2.5. The complainant’s case having been closed, Mr. Goody raised an objection that it had not been proved in evidence that the offence was committed within the jurisdiction of the Bench; and after some discussion the information was dismissed.

Charles King, master of the Cupid, of this port, appeared in answer to a similar information; but which was also dismissed on an objection taken by Mr. Goody.”

ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 28 January 1848 - “COLCHESTER CASTLE, Saturday, January 22.- Before J. Bawtree, Esq., Chairman; G. Round, Esq., and T.J. Turner, Esq.- UNLAWFULLY KEEPING WRECKED PROPERTY - Henry Cook, of Rowhedge, master of the smack Orwell, was summoned upon an information under the 9th and 10th Victoria, c.99, sec. 5, for having kept possession of certain wrecked property - viz., a bed of the value of £2, without having reported the same to the Receiver of Droits, or Collector of Customs, whereby the Act declared him to have forfeited all claim to the salvage, with a penalty not exceeding £100, and double the value of the article in question.

Mr. J.S. Barnes, solicitor, appeared in support of the information, and Mr. H.S. Goody for the defendant.

Jacob Kohler (a German), late master of the Conrad, 190 tons, coal laden, bound from Hartlepool to the West Indies, stated that his vessel was wrecked on the Long Sand about 2 0’clock on the morning of the 14th inst., she got nearly full of water, and they were obliged to leave her; he returned to the wreck the next day, and saw the defendant and several others there; his bed was on board the wreck when he left her; last Tuesday he saw it in the possession of a policeman at Rowhedge; the outer cover had been taken off, but he could swear to the bed as his property; it would cost in his country about £3.- Cross-examined. They went back to see if they could save anything; he intended when he left the vessel to return at day light; saw the bed on Saturday on board Cook’s vessel, but did not take it, because he threatened to knock his head in; the bed was not here.

Mr. Goody said he should like to see it; and submitted that it ought to have been produced.

Mr. Barnes said he was not bound to do so; after it had been identified by the captain it was very properly handed over to the receiver.

Re-examined. There were several things he should have been glad to have got on the Saturday, but there was a regular scramble for them; all their clothes were gone.

By Mr. Goody. Could not say who took them; there was another information against Cook for things found on the Saturday.

Policeman Sparrow deposed that on Tuesday, the 18th, in company with Supt. Brown, he searched several houses at East Donyland, and among them the defendant’s; in an out-house on his premises he found a bed lying among some old sacks; he pulled it out, and the captain at once identified it as his; it was left for a short time, and whilst he was searching upstairs he saw a young woman emptying the feathers into the dust-hole; he called to her, and she left it; did not know who she was, but should know her again; she was a red-haired girl.

Supt. Brown. Look round the Court.

Witness. I don’t see her, except her hair is darker than it was then. (Laughter.) Gave the bed up to the Custom-House officers.

Mr. J.G. Chamberlain, receiver of Admiralty Droits at Wivenhoe, deposed that on Saturday evening, the 15th inst. Mr. Billingsley’s Clerk came over from Harwich with the captain of the Conrad, who stated that himself and crew had lost most of their clothes; he accompanied them to Rowhedge, and sent the captain on board the defendant’s vessel, the Orwell, to see if he could identify anything; he brought back some blocks, and said he was afraid of Cook; there was a large number of people on the wharf, who scrambled for the things taken from the different vessels; a man had been placed in charge of them, but he was closely surrounded while others took the articles away; the Orwell passed Wivenhoe that morning from sea about five o’clock; on Tuesday he accompanied the police officer in his search, and was present when the captain identified the bed; in conversation with the defendant afterwards he said he picked up the bed in the Wallett, afloat.

Cross-examined by Mr. Goody. The Long Sand and Wallett are nearer to Harwich than to Wivenhoe; the Ino smack brought in some of the stores, and the defendant helped to deliver them at the warehouse; was with the defendant at Colchester on the Saturday upon the subject of a salvage case, but he never mentioned that he had any articles belonging to the Conrad.

By the Court. Neither the bed nor any of the articles found in defendant’s smack had ever been reported.

Mr. James Trevenen, the Collector of Customs also deposed that no report had been made by the defendant to him or his office of the stores in question.

Mr. Goody, for the defence, argued first that the section did not apply to the case at all; secondly; that he was not bound to report at Wivenhoe (Harwich being nearer to the place of the wreck), as the section stated that such property must be reported to the nearest Receiver or Collector of Customs; and thirdly that that party ought to have been here to prove that he had not done so.

Mr. Barnes said it was for the defendant to have shown that.

The Chairman said the defence was a very ingenious one, but unfortunately they could not give effect to it. They had no doubt it was his intention to detain the property for his own use; and they considered it very hard upon poor shipwrecked people that the plunder of their clothes should be added to their other misfortunes.

Mr. Howard said that was the reason why the penalty was put so high.

The Chairman continued to observe that property of this description was very mush exposed to depredation; when a vessel got aground, and was abandoned by her crew, everything left in her was at the mercy of those who went off, not to render assistance, because assistance was then at an end, but to lay hold of what they could find. The Bench considered it a very serious offence, and regarded the defendant guilty in having retained possession of this property, instead of giving it up to the rightful owner, or reporting it to Mr. Chamberlain. They must, therefore, convict him of the offence, in a fine of £5, which was a very great mitigation from the full penalty; and he would also be required to pay double the value of the bed, viz. £4, and 12s. 6d. costs, altogether £9.12.6, or, in default, two months’ hard labour. A fortnight was allowed for payment.

ESSEX HERALD states… “The captain and crew got away in the boat; the vessel was water-logged but did not sink, and on the return of the crew to her the next morning they found on board the crews of several smacks, who had plundered her of all the clothing which had been left, rigging blocks, and in fact almost every moveable.”

SECOND CASE - "There was a second information against the defendant, for not reporting to the receiver four wooden and one iron blocks, of the value of 7s. found derelict at sea, and brought into the Port of Colchester.

Mr. Barnes stated that this case was under a different part of the same section.

The captain was called, and stated that when he went on board the Orwell, at Rowhedge, he saw several blocks belonging to the Conrad; the defendant Cook was there; complainant brought five blocks away; but left some others behind, because Cook threatened to knock his head in; he had a block in his hand, but did not actually strike him.- Cross-examined. Saw the defendant at the wreck on Friday, and there were several smacks nearby; the blocks were on board when he left at two o’clock in the morning.

Mr. Chamberlain proved seeing the complainant bring off the blocks in question; there was such a fierce scramble for the goods landed, that he hardly considered his own life safe, much less that of the Captain; he should value the five blocks at from 7s. to 10s.; no report had been made to him of these articles.

Mr. Trevenen deposed to the same effect.

Mr. Goody again addressed the Court, and submitted that the defendant was bound to report to Harwich, and that he ought not to be punished because he had not done so, in the hasty manner contended for on the other side.

Mr. Round asked if it was against the Act to report to Mr. Chamberlain?

Mr. Goody submitted that it was.

Mr. Round (to Mr. Chamberlain). Do you ever refuse reports?

Mr. Chamberlain replied in the negative.

The Chairman told defendant the Bench were sorry to have a second charge against him, which could not but be considered a great aggravation of the first, inasmuch as it proved him guilty in two ways; first, in not returning the feather-bed, and secondly, for neglecting to report these articles, which, in their opinion, he had ample time to do. They considered this sort of offence of so serious a nature, that it must, if possible, be checked by the strong hand of the law. The circumstance of a vessel being wrecked, instead of subjecting its crew to the loss of their property, ought to make other sailors anxious to protect and restore it to them. The Bench had reason to believe that he was in the habit of committing acts of this kind, and it was quite evident that on the present occasion he was first and foremost in laying hands upon what he could get. They were quite satisfied of his guilt; and, in order to mark the sense they entertained of the heinousness of the offence of depriving unfortunate people of their property in this cruel and shameful manner, they should inflict a fine of £10, with 14s. for the double value of the blocks, and the expenses as in the last case. A reasonable time would be allowed for payment, as in the last case, but, in default, they should sentence him to imprisonment for four months, to commence at the termination of the first period already adjudged to him. The Bench, in passing this sentence, were desirous not only that it should have some little effect upon himself, in rendering him cautious as to similar unlawful proceedings for the future, but that it might teach others to render greater obedience to the requirements of the law, and the dictates of humanity, under such circumstances.

The next information was against Samuel Harris, and Samuel Harris, the younger, also of East Donyland, for having possession of 60 yards of chain, 6 running blocks, and other articles, of the value of £3, and not sending a report in writing to the receiver of officers of the Customs.

Capt. Kohler identified the articles.

Mr. Chamberlain stated that the defendant was master, and he believed owner, of the smack Prosperous; when he reached Rowhedge on the evening in question, in company with the captain and Mr. Billingsley’s Clerk, they saw these things in the act of being landed from the Prosperous’s boat; defendant was standing on the wharf, and called out “take them to Wivenhoe;” he (Mr. Chamberlain) replied that it would not do now.

By Mr. Goody. The smack did not reach Rowhedge till six o’clock in the evening, and this took place at seven.

By. Mr. Barnes. She was lying all day within 100 yards of Wivenhoe, and he saw the defendant once or twice, but he did not mention these stores; the younger Harris he saw take a chain, which had been laid near the defendant’s store, and ran off with it; he pursued him, when he threw it down and jumped over some pales; was quite satisfied of his identity

Mr. Goody called Joseph Harris, son of the elder defendant, who stated that the smack was detained in the morning at the Sump, below Wivenhoe, and his father left her to go to Colchester; he gave directions that if Mr. Chamberlain or any of the Guard-boat people came on board, he was to tell them there were some of the Conrad’s things down aft.

By Mr. Barnes. he did not tell him to go to Mr. Chamberlain about them.

After some observations by Mr. Goody.

The Chairman said that as it was possible the younger defendant acted under the directions of his father, they should dismiss the information as respected him; and with regard to the elder Harris, though they felt bound to convict him, they were glad to find that there were not the same atrocious circumstances in his case as in that of Cook, and therefore they should not inflict so severe a penalty. The double value of the property would be £6, and the costs 12s.6d.; in addition to which they should impose the further mitigated fine of £2, or in default one month’s imprisonment in the County House of Correction.”


ESSEX STANDARD - Friday 13 April 1849 - “COLCHESTER SMALL DEBTS’ COURT. This day (Friday). Before William Gurdon, Esq., Judge.  Fisher v Henry Barnard, East Donyland.- Plaintiff is a mariner and the defendant a smack-owner, the action being for the plaintiff’s share of the earnings of the “Lucy” in fishing and salvage services.- Mr. Abell appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Church for the defendant.- The total claim was £4.15.7, and a deduction having made been for the plaintiff’s board, judgment was given for £3.11.10.”

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