The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.

Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.

February 1861

2 February 1861

A shocking death from intoxication occurred at Parkhurst barracks on Monday evening. William Mather, a private soldier in the 50th Regiment, who was employed as one of a working party in pumping out water from the barrack well for the purpose of repairing the machinery, fell from one of these stays, to which he had descended in a drunken state, and was dashed almost to pieces before he reached the bottom of the well, a distance of 150 feet, by coming into collision with the different beams in falling. A Coroner’s inquest was held on the body by F. Blake, Esq., on Wednesday when the jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally killed by attempting to descend a well in a state of intoxication.”

The great Appuldurcombe Hotel Company’s affairs have already come to a dead standstill, after a short, but not very merry existence of only one summer, and actions are pouring in on all sides from the tradesmen, who have unfortunately stocked the establishment, which, according to his own published statement, has sustained a clear a loss of £1000, besides nearly £500 in addition in the coaching department during the few months it was open. An attempt was made a few weeks since by the directors to induce the creditors to await the result of another season’s experiment, but without avail, and then the present shareholders were offered the remaining half of the unsold £1 shares at a reduction of 30 per cent, with permission to eat and drink out the amount of purchase at the hotel; but even this enticing incentive failed, and now a general meeting has been called for the purpose of considering the necessity of “selling, and letting, or otherwise disposing of the concern”, and when we learn that the effects are already protected under a Bill of sale to the Rev. Leigh, of Winchester, we fear the creditors will derive but a small dividend, and that the interest on the shares will be nil!

SHIPWRECK ATTENDED WITH LOSS OF LIFE - On Wednesday night, at eight o'clock, the Victor Emanuel, 600 tons, Iron ship under sail, laden with barley, beans, &c., from Alexandrit, ran right on the breakers at the back of the Wight, within half a mile to the westwards of Blackgang Chine, and went to pieces immediately, the captain and eleven of the crew being drowned. Four men, two Greeks and two Englishman, one the boatswain, providentially got ashore, but they were not discovered until five o'clock on Thursday morning, when having groped their way in the thick darkness along the cliffs, and they eventually met with a cottage, the inmates of which first gave the alarm, and the Coastguard became acquainted with the sad disaster. It appears by the statement of these poor men that owing to the dense fog and darkness of the night, and those on board the ill-fated ship had no idea they were near to land, neither could they tell their whereabouts, and so sudden was the shock, the ship driving on the rocks and immediately breaking up, that no signal of distress could be given, in fact it may be compared to a glass bottle being cast against a huge stone, so that the absence of any signal of distress and the dense fog and the darkness will readily account for the Coast-guard on duty near being quite unaware of the sad catastrophe until Thursday about five o'clock a.m. One of the hon-secretaries connected with the Isle of Wight life-boats, and the Rev. E. McAll, and other gentleman in the immediate neighbourhood, were promptly in attendance, in order to administer comforts to the distress, and to act according to the emergency. The coxswain of the Grange life-boat was also at his post, ready to answer any signal passed to him, for by his discharging the mortar at the Grange life-boat station, and the crew in a few minutes would have mustered and put to sea in the life-boat Rescue, presented by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, but the instantaneous destruction of this ship on catching our island’s dangerous coast under the vail of dense fog and darkness, prevented the vigilant and the brave from rendering the least assistance to save the lives of the captain and men of the crew who perished in the Victor Emanuel on the 30th instant.


9 February 1861

Nearly 400 gallons of bread were distributed this week in the Barton's Village district amongst the poor inhabitants by the orders of Henry Nunn, Esq., of Broadlands, according to his annual custom.

The body of the captain of the Victor Emanuel was washed on shore at Ventnor on Wednesday, and a coroner's inquest was held on Thursday, when a verdict of “Found drowned” was returned.

WIDOW McLEOD. - It is gratifying to state that the late appeal on behalf of the widow and children of Donald Mcleod, a coastguard, who latterly lost his life when ascending the Cliff near Freshwater, Isle of Wight, on the morning of the wreck of the John Wesley, has been so liberally responded to by the benevolent that the trustees of the fund, Captain Barthurst, R.N., J.S. Cutajar, Esq., the Rev. E. McAll, rural Dean, rector of Brighstone, and the Rev. J Pellew Gaze, and rector of Brooke, deem that the necessity of the case will be provided for by the public contributions already received, amounting £125, besides a further sum promised to be added at a future day.

COUNTY PETTY SESSION. - George Smith, 12, and Henry Deighton, 13, two little urchins from Ventnor, were charged by Mr George White, of the Esplanade Hotel, with entering his bar and plundering the till of a quantity of silver, 4s. 6d. of which was given up by Smith when apprehended, and more was discovered by P.S. White sealed in his jacket under the lining. Deighton was dismissed, and Smith, having pleaded guilty, was committed to hard labour for one month and to be once privately whipped.

COWES. - Our railway may be said to be progressing, yet the work seems to be continually renewed without any hopeful prospect of arriving at a terminus. We have heard, however, that notices have been served on the renters of houses situated on the intended line, and that they must leave within two months. If such be the case, we may yet see a railway between Cowes and Newport.


16 February 1861

THE WRECK OF THE “VICTOR EMMANUEL,” consisting of the iron hull, the masks, spars, rigging, sails, anchors and chain cables, in a short all that remains of this fine vessel, which cost £10,000 to build about four years since, was sold by auction, by Mr. F. Pittis, on Tuesday last, and the whole of it realised £20, the purchaser being a resident at Chale. Scarcely a vestige of the wreck can now be seen above water, the weight of the materials with which she was constructed causing her to wallow in the shingle till she is nearly buried, whilst of her valuable cargo the owners never recovered a single pennyworth.

COUNTY PETTY SESSION. - Several inhabitants of West Cowes were summoned by the Collector of Town rates (Mr. H. Halliday) for arrears due, some of which had been accumulating for years, and in several instances amounting to a considerable sum. The Court in most of the cases awarded judgement and costs, believing such to be the state of the law, but if the point had been disputed it is doubtful whether that could have been recovered after the elapse of four to six years. The Court hoped the Local Board would get their rates rather closer together for the future.

23 February 1861

A daring burglary was perpetrated on the night of Wednesday at Parkhurst Barracks, when the apartments of the Provost-Sergeant were forcibly entered, and a gold watch stolen therefrom, in addition to several other articles of value. A private soldier has been taken in custody for the offence, and will be brought before the Magistrates for a hearing this day (Saturday).

The Floating Bridge has been laid on the gridiron at East Cowes, where all that is needful to be done will be quickly effected, so that the great traffic between West and East Cowes will not be long disrupted

RYDE – THE OLD PIER. - The Directors are making a step in the right direction by the erection of a very spacious and handsome waiting-rooms on their noble pier head, which has long been required.

The Ryde Pier Company are laying down a new moorings for the colliers that discharge on the sands which we hope will prevent any further damage to the pier.

HORRIBLE MURDER NEAR RYDE. This usually quiet neighbourhood was thrown into a state of consternation on Sunday, by the report that Henry Lacy, a farmer, residing at Old House Farm, near Ryde, had been taken into custody charged with the murder of his wife. The report proved to be true.

The accused is the son of a labouring man in the neighbourhood, he is a strong and powerful man, and of late has been of intemperate habits. By his marriage he became possessed of a considerable sum of money, and has been habit of ill treating the murdered woman for some time past.

On Saturday, the accused, accompanied by his niece, visited Newport and returned about 7 o'clock in a very excited state, having drank freely there, and also at the public-houses on the way home.

Susan Wildey, it appears, drank part of the spirits ordered on the plea that her uncle had drunk too much before.

On Sunday morning, about 7 o'clock, a message was sent to Mr. Olland, the surgeon, for his immediate attendance, stating that Mrs. Lacy had met with an accident by falling downstairs. On Mr. Olland’s arrival he found Lacy under the influence of drink and a violently excited. He said Mrs. Lacy was dead, and on going upstairs he found it was so. The answers given by the niece not being satisfactory, and feeling certain something wrong had occurred, he left the house to communicate at once with the police, and Sergeant King, accompanied by one man, returned with Mr. Olland and Mr. Pinniger, another surgeon.

Lacy strongly resisted of the police, and before he could be secured he had felled one Constable to the ground. The Sergeant, who is a very courageous man, rushed in upon him and after a brief struggle, placed the handcuffs around his wrists. Sergeant King then procured the assistance to hold him down, and proceeded to Ryde for a cab and other assistance. The poor woman was found laid out and clean apparel substituted for the clothes afterwards found, as if to pass of the story of her having fallen downstairs. On examination her head and body was found covered with bruises.

The Isle of Wight 150 years ago

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