The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.
Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.
6 July 1861
An Elegant drinking fountain, purchased by private subscription, and manufactured for the purpose at Ipswich, has arrived in Newport and will most probably be erected in St. James’ Square, sometime during the next week.
A CORONER’S INQUEST was held at the Star Inn, at Rookley, on Saturday last, before F. Blake, Esq., on the body of Emma Marks, aged 34, the wife of a labouring man named Joseph Marks, who was confined with twins on the Thursday previous, and survived confinement at three hours. It appeared by the evidence adduced that the husband of the deceased was a man of intemperate habits, and that he frequently left his wife for weeks at a time without a morsel of food in the house for a farthing of money to buy any; that for three days during the week just passed, and for three days in the week preceding, the poor woman had never tasted food, and but for a small sum of money brought home by her little boy, who was paid off, there would not have been a particle of food in the house when the poor creature was taken in labour. Dr Porter, of Godshill, certify that, on making a post mortem examination of the body, it exhibited the appearance, not only of continued privation, but of absolute starvation, and as there was no vestige of disease that the deceased, he had no doubt but she would have survived the delivery that for want of proper necessaries. The husband having been cautioned, said he had not received the money for his previous week’s work, only 7s. 6d., Which he gave his wife on Monday, and on that day he had nothing to eat himself. Verdict - Died from exhaustion, occasioned by the debilitated state to which the deceased was reduced for want of sufficient food, and nourishment, the jurors considering that the conduct of her husband was most reprehensible.
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. Edward Snelgrove, an incorrigible offender, pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing a poor man's dinner, which the latter had deposited in a hedge whilst he was at work at haymaking. Prisoner was committed to hard labour for one month.
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS – RYDE. Sarah Sweatman, residing in Dover-street, Ryde, brought a complaint against Captain Breton, who lived next door to her, for an assault. It appears the complainant has a noisy parrot, whose early habits prove very annoying to the gallant captain. On one occasion the defendant went to the door, used threatening and improper language, and pushed her and seized hold of her arm. The Captain had been vexed by the noise of the parrot, and it seems in the course of the angry discussion the captain advised the complainant to cut the offending bird’s throat; with the great promptitude complainants suggested as an improvement to the defendant to carry out his cutting propensities by operating upon his own throat. Captain Breton denied the charge of using foul language, but declared the parrot to be an abominable nuisance to the neighbourhood. The magistrates fined him 5s. and 7s. 6d. costs.
Henry Cavell, a chairman, was charged by P. C. John Rodaway with a breach of the bye laws of the Ryde Pier Company, by counting on the pier. The unfortunate culprit admitted that he had asked a lady and gentleman if they wanted a chair. The penalty admits of no mitigation, and therefore the magistrates were compelled to find him 10s., which they did with evident reluctance.
Eliza Wallace was fined 2s. 6d. and 7s. 6d. costs, for throwing some water over Mary Matthews, while sitting on a door step. The defendant had been fined before for a similar offence, and the bench thought it right to teach her that if she would not restrain her temper, she must make up her mind to pay for indulging it.
13 July 1861
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS Thomas Nickaby Davis, one of the Cowes watermen, was placed on the bar on a charge of stealing 25 fathoms of half inch chain, the Property of the Southampton Dock Company, and of the value of £4 - George Edwards said he was Foreman to Mr. George Wheeler, at West Cowes. The chain was borrowed from the Southampton Dock Company for the purpose of the use in pulling up the old pier at Cowes. He had placed it in his charge, and it was laid on the Fountain Quay on the Tuesday evening preceding, but on the Wednesday morning it was gone. When he asked the Waterman on the Quay (the prisoner in particular no less than three times) if they had seen it they all denied the fact, and then he asked the captain's of the vessels which were lying there, and set the police to work, and that eleven o'clock he found the chain on the Town Quay. Thomas Turner, the captain of a small vessel trading from Cowes to Portsmouth Deposed that he brought his vessel up to the Fountain Quay on a Tuesday evening, and on the Wednesday morning the prisoner told him that he had put a chain on board his vessel for a Mr. Seymour, the diving man, at Gosport, and he would give him half the value of it to convey it to him. Witness told him he did not do business in that kind of way, if he carried it the charge would be 2s., and then Davis said he would go over with it himself, at which those requiring a written direction to be affixed to the chain will fear of mistakes, the prisoner went into the Fountain tap, and wrote “Mr. Seymour, Gosport, to be left tilt called for,” and which is tied it to the chain, which he fell deposited as cargo in the hold. Hearing, however, that the police were enquiring soon after for such an article, he got it up and placed it on the Quay, and ask Mr. Edwards if it was his chain he had lost, and it was immediately identified. Mrs. Edney, the landlady of the Fountain tap, proved that she supplied the prisoner with the paper on which the direction was written, and that she saw him write it. Prisoner denied having had possession of the chain, saying that a man he came down to the Quay early in the morning, and looks like a navvy, and asked him to assist in getting the chain on board, stating that it was for Mr. Seymour, the diving man, at Gosport and that the captain (whom he endeavoured to implicate to the utmost of his power) was cognizant of the whole transaction, and that he had been drinking with him overnight, when they arranged the matter. The Court said he might tell that story to a jury at the Assizes, to which they should committed for trial.
COWES The rivalry existing between the old and the new steam packet companies has produced one or two good effects. Civility and attention are now the order of the day; a reduction of fares has taken place, which has not yet reached its limit;, and if the rate of speed now maintained on both sides should remain as it is, the public will have reason to be satisfied.
COWES When the Sapphire steamer was on her return voyage from Southampton to Cowes on Wednesday evening, a determined attempt at self-destruction was made by a person on board, who, whilst the vessel was about to enter the mouth of the harbour, jumped overboard, and was with the greatest difficulty rescued from an untimely end. It seems he is of unsound mind, having an attendant to watch his actions, but on this occasion, he for a moment invaded the keeper’s vigilance and desperately sought destruction.
20 July 1861
CAUTION TO PUBLICANS A party of professed pugilists rejoicing in such titles as “The head of Portsmouth,” “Dooney Harris,” “Jem Macey’s Black,” and others of the fistic fraternity, engaged in the Billiard Rooms at Town Gate on Saturday evening, for a pugilistic display, and a large audience was present to witness their exhibition. The actors, however, decamped the next morning without satisfying the landlord’s demand for the rooms, gas lights, refreshments, &c., as well as the printers bill for the posters which announced the exhibition.
We regret to say that since the deluge of rain on the ninth of Saturday last, the potatoe blight has spread through the Ireland with frightful virulence and rapidity, and the growers are now busily engaged in digging up their crops, though many of them are still unripe, and conveying them to market for immediate consumption, and the fear of the tubers rotting after the stored, as they did last year. The consequence is that fine new potatoes are now retailing in the streets at from 4d. to 5d. per gallon will.
A MELANCHONY ACCIDENT happened at Freshwater on Friday last, which, we are sorry to say, terminated in the death of a fine young lad, named William Adams Miles, of the age of 17, and son of the imminent London publisher of that name. It appeared from the evidence of a friend and companion of the deceased, named Henry Samuel Strouach, has given before E. Blake, Esq., Deputy Coroner, at an inquest on the body of the deceased, held on Saturday, that he lived at Mill Field-lane, Highgate, and that they met each other at Ryde on the Tuesday previous, and that on Thursday came to Freshwater. On Friday morning, about eleven o'clock, they took a stroll over the Downs, and, the deceased having a double-barrelled gun with him, approached the cliff, which at that place is about 400 feet high, and nearly perpendicular, but finding a narrow shelf, or sheep track, they both descended the cliff for about 200 feet, when the witness refused to go any farther, as he considered it was very dangerous; but as deceased and wish to shoot a couple of hawks some yards below, he continued to descend, and hearing a shot fired, witness looked and saw a bird fall, and then heard the other barrelled discharge, but as he could see nothing of his friends, and there being no answer to his frequent calls, he supposed he had found his way somehow to the bottom, and gone around by the shore to the Needles, where on arriving himself, he fully expected to meet the deceased, that hearing nothing of him, a search was made, which terminated in the most melancholy results. The body was discovered about three o'clock on Saturday morning by one of the Coast-Guard, named John Merrifield, on the rocks, most dreadfully bruised and shattered, with no signs of life. It is supposed, from the great height from which deceased had fallen, that his death must have been instantaneous. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death, ” and of the distracted parent, who had been telegraphed four in the morning, arrived shortly after the inquest had terminated, and took away the shattered remains of Hezbollah the sun to his disconsolate with him the same night.
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. William Groves, of Freshwater, who had been released from the county gaol for stealing game cock, was once again placed at the bar, and a charge of stealing a live duck, the property of Edward Chambers, letter carrier, of Colwell. P.S. Biles deposed that he went on board the Sans Souci, then lying of Yarmouth, on Thursday, and under the prisoner’s boots he found several feathers, which the prosecutor identified as being exactly like those which covered his lost duck. The boots exactly fitted the tracks round his pond, and under his berth he found the myths and breastbone of a duck ready cooked; but the crew of the vessel resisting his apprehension, he was obliged to leave the prisoner behind to he could procure assistance. Albert Taylor proved that he saw the prisoner in company with another, Ben Leigh, land from a boat on Sand Point the night the duck was stolen, and proceed towards Colwell. Prisoner said the feathers belongs to a gal which he had shot coming up, but the Court refusing to be gulled by such a story, committed him to the sessions for trial.
BOROUGH COURT. George Cheverton, charged by P.C. Stubbs with being drunk and riding his horse on the foot paving in St. Thomas’-square, was fined 10s.
PETTY SESSIONS – RYDE Several cabmen were brought up charged with breaking the bye-laws of the Commissioners. The offence was touting for fares, to the excessive annoyance of visitors. It appears that the visitors no sooner issue from the Pier Gate that they are beset, sometimes in the most objectionable manner, by the cabmen; and as the charges were fully substantiated, the offenders were all convicted and fined in various amounts. Colonel Harcourt stated several circumstances in connection with the conduct of the cabmen, which proved clearly that if the conduct complained of is not discontinued, the Commissioners will have to proceed against the offenders to the utmost extent the law allows.
27 July 1861
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. Benjamin Leigh, of Yarmouth, mariner, one of the crew of the Sans Souci, who resisted the police when they were endeavouring to apprehend a young man named Groves for felony, pleaded guilty, by the advice of his attorney, Mr James Eldridge, and was fined 18s. 6d. Prisoner was next charged with being implicated with Groves in his stealing a live duck, the property of Edward Chambers, of Colwell, but the evidence was not sufficient for conviction.
LIFE BOATS. It cannot fail to be most gratifying to the philanthropist to learn from time to time, not only that the life boats station along the coasts of England render most essential and humane service by saving from shipwreck many valuable lives, which, during the course of time amount to a very large number, but that the true philanthropic spirit is steadily generating and developing itself throughout the country in such a form as will eventually place the noble Life Boat Institution (the chief of charities to a maritime community) on a permanent and secure basis; and it is with feelings of sincere pleasure we announce that at the late meeting of the members of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, on the proposition of Admiral Sir Graham E Hamond, Bart., the sum of £10 annually was unanimously voted for the keeping of the life boats at the back of the Isle of Wight. This gift is in perpetuity, at least so long as they Royal Cowes Yacht Squadron remains united (may they never cease to flourish), and it is a graceful addenda to the gift of the Rescue, life boat placed at Brighstone Grange by the members of the Chapel Royal Yacht club.
ROYAL VISIT. On Tuesday evening, about six o'clock, Her Majesty the Queen, His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia (the Princess Royal), Princess Alice, and Princess Helena, attended by the ladies and gentlemen of the Court, visited Newport Church. The Vicar (Rev. G.H. Connor, M.A.) was in attendance. At the time the rays of the western sun passing through the stained glass windows, illuminated the Stuart Chapel, where Marochetti’s beautiful monument is situated, which was erected by her Majesty in memory of the Princess Elizabeth, daughter to Charles I. (she lies buried in the chancel), the softened light shed a solemn halo over the monument, which enhanced its beauty, and at the same time tinging the elegant proportions of the tracery in the chancel, produced a most soothing and charming effect. The Royal party remained some time in the church. The repeated visits of her Majesty to Newport, and the benign patronage so liberally bestowed in promoting the several undertakings of the inhabitants for the benefit of the community, should indeed be a stimulus to exertion, so as to render the forthcoming bazaar to be held at Carisbrook Castle, in aid of the fund for building the Parsonage-house, if possible, more successful that either of the two former ones under the same gracious auspices, and thus evince how truly the Royal Patronage is appreciated by the loyal people of Newport.