The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.

Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.

November 1861

2 November 1861

We have to call the attention of our readers to the announcement in our advertising columns that a Branch of the London and County Banking Company has been this day opened at Newport, in the Isle of Wight, and we doubt not that so powerful an establishment will be well received in this Island.

A SAD ACCIDENT occurred at Mottistone Farm, on Monday last, to a labourer named Charles Woodford, who whilst superintending a horse-thrashing machine, which was at work on the premises, was caught by the arm and drawn in under the dram, when his arm was so dreadfully mutilated that on being conveyed to the hospital, immediate amputation was deemed necessary by the surgeon, Mr Beckingsale; but it appears that the poor fellow is at present going on as well as can be expected after such an operation.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS - Fanny Quinton, the wife of a navvy working on the Cowes and Newport Railway, was charged with robbing her ready-furnished lodgings, at Edwin Day’s, at West Cowes, and stealing therefrom one counterpane, two pillows, and several other articles, which the prisoner immediately pawned in Newport, for the purpose as she averred, of paying a County Court debt due to a tallyman; and having obtained at the cash, she enclosed the duplicate to the landlady, and left her husband to go to a low beer-shop in Deadman’s-lane, where she was found by P.S. Kent. Prisoner pleaded guilty, and was committed to the House of Correction for six weeks, with hard labour.

The pontoon, intended to supply the place of the old Fountain Pier, recently removed, arrived from Southampton on Thursday morning, the various quays along the water-side being crowded with spectators to watch it's coming. Great advantages are expected to be realized from the use of the pontoon, and we trust they may be realized.

We are pleased to find that Mr. Woodyear, and old and esteemed resident of Cowes, whose so gallantly risked his own life in the arduous and successful efforts he made to rescue two young ladies from drowning in the early part of October, when bathing, owing to their venturing too far into deep water, has not been forgotten by the father of the ladies, although at the time he did the brave act he steadfastly refused to receive any compensation but thanks. On Thursday morning, Mr Woodyear received a letter of thanks from the father, accompanied by a most elegantly finished silver vase of great value, which the donor begs him to accept as a slight token of the gratitude felt by him and all his family for his brave and humane act of saving the lives of his two children. Mr Woodyear is now in his 75th year, but the emotion he voluntarily incurred as done him no harm, and we hope he may be spared for years to come to enjoy what he has so long possessed, the respect and regard of his friends and neighbours. 


9 November 1861

A series of accidents occurred on Saturday evening at New Village, owing to a heap of gravel having been left on the surface of the high road, after making excavations for a common sewer. There being no guard against it, several vehicles had been overturned, and the occupants sustained severe injuries, a Mr. Morris, of Chillerton, having had his shoulder dislocated, besides suffering from contusions.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS - John Young charged Benjamin Cooper and Robert Jackman with assaulting him on the Tuesday at the Freshwater Hotel tap. It proved, however, to be a mere public-house squabble, in the course of which the complainant got his face scratched. The Court fining Jackman 5s., and costs, 7s 6d., and discharge his mate.

RYDE – PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY - On the Monday evening last second lecture of the section was given at the Museum, Melville-street, by R. Hunt, Esq., F.R.S, F.S.A. The learned gentleman commenced a course of four lectures on “The Sun and the Earth.” The subject of the discourse on Monday evening was “The physical condition of the solar surface - the solar radiations - life, earth, activism, and chemical power.” This highly interesting subject met with a most judicious exposition, all present capable of estimating the difficulty of the enquiry being highly delighted with the treatment he received.

RYDE – SUDDEN AND AFFECTING DEATH OF MISS ELLIOTT - The inhabitants of this town were startled and saddened on Wednesday morning last at the sudden death of the above most excellent lady. Miss Elliott was a Roman Catholic, and most exemplary in her observation of all the duties of her religion. She was in the daily habit of attending Mass at St. Mary's Chapel. The day in question was exceedingly wet and stormy insomuch that her attendants suggested the propriety of obtaining a chair for her conveyance. She, however, stressed herself in feeling more vigorous than usual, and walked to the Chapel with the greatest ease. While upon her knees at her devotions, she felt faint, and was borne into the parlour of the priest’s residence adjoining the Chapel, where, within an hour, she expired. Mr. Bloxam, surgeon, was sent for, but every exertion proved in vain. Miss Elliott was 76 years of age, that remarkably robust for her age, and beloved and respected by all who knew her, the lamented lady was very wealthy, and with “a heart open as day to melting charity.” She liberally dispensed her wealth all who needed assistance, with the broad spirit of Christian love, utterly regardless of sect or creed. The poor have lost one of their kindest friends, and her loss will be deeply felt by the whole community.


16 November 1861

ELECTION OF MAYOR, &c. - The annual meeting of the members of the Town Council took place at the Guildhall on Saturday last, for the purpose of electing the Mayor for the ensuing year. The late Mayor (T.P.Mew, Esq.) was in the chair and the following Aldermen and Town Councillors were present, viz. : - Messrs. R.J. Jewell, F.Pittis, H.Waterworth, W.Way, E.L.Hackett, W.Lock, R Stratton, W.Dashwood, R.Pittis. J.George. and W.W.Buckell, and R.M.Wavell, Esq. the only Councillor for the South Ward present. - Alderman Jewell rose and proposed for the fourth time the name of Mr. Francis Pittis as a gentleman in every way fit for such an office. – The proposition, which was seconded by Mr. George Duke, was agreed to unanimously, and the Mayor elect having taken the oaths, was duly installed as our Chief Magistrate for the year ensuing, promising to act with strict impartiality in all matters which came before him, and thanking the Corporation for the honour they had conferred by placing him in the civic chair for the fourth time. - Alderman Waterworth then propose the best thanks of the meeting to their excellent and popular past Mayor, T.P.Mew, Esq., for the truly impartial conduct he had evinced during his Mayoralty, which was seconded by Mr. W. Way Buckell, and passed unanimously. - It was moved by Mr.E.L. Hackett, and seconded by Mr. George Duke, that all other business should be adjourned to the following Tuesday, which being fully agreed to, the meeting was adjourned accordingly. - The adjourned meeting of the Town Council was held at the Town Hall, on Tuesday, for the purpose of proceeding with the annual business. The Mayor (Francis Pittis, Esq.,) in the chair. The Town Clerk reported that the Treasurer had a balance in hand of the borough fund altogether amounting to £405 4s. 9d., and recommending a watch rate of 10d. For the ensuing quarter, which was granted. The quarterly meetings were arranged to be held on the first Tuesdays in February, May, and August, and the different committees were appointed, as well as a committee to devise measures to put a stop to the traffic through the cattle market during market hours, the frequent passing vehicles through the square on market days having occasioned many very serious accidents. The surplus gravel that was excavated in digging up the roads for the purpose of laying down a common sewer in the New Village, was ordered to be laid down at the back of the village, and it was agreed that the sewer should be extended to Clarendon-street and Melbourne-place. - The usual Corporation dinner was afterwards held at the “Bugle Inn,” T.P.Mew, Esq., the ex-Mayor, in the chair, when a most sumptuous repast was spread on the occasion by the Messrs. Mew, and was partaken of by about sixty of the principal inhabitants of the borough and the neighbourhood.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS – John Jenkins, the landlord of the “Smutty Brush,” beer-shop, at Ventnor, who was charged by P.C. Webster with keeping his house open for the sale of beer, on the morning of the 31st October, at one o’clock, was fined 20s. and costs 7s. 6d.

BOROUGH COURT - Before the Mayor (F. Pittis, Esq.), and R. M. Wavell and E. Way, Esqs., - George Coxhead, the landlord of the “Horse and Groom,” beer-shop in Pyle-street, was charged by P.C. Tarrant, Assistant Inspector of Weights and Measures, with keeping and using a crockeryware cup, which professed to hold 1 quart of liquid, but was upwards of a quarter of a pint deficient. Find 20s. and 5s. costs.

COWES - At a special meeting of the local Board on Tuesday evening, it was resolved that the reservoir, recently purchased for nearly £7000, being leaky, the water should be let off and proper steps taken to place the same in a sound state. This may involve the town in a heavy outlay, but it cannot be avoided, as the necessity of the work being done cannot be denied by the most rigid economist.

RYDE - The yachting season having been at length brought to a close, there is not now one yacht on the station, all been laid up for the winter. Arrivals, too, have nearly ceased, and Ryde is not likely to receive any great accession of visitors until the length in the days and genial weather of the summer of 1862.


23 November 1861

A CORONER’S INQUEST was held at Parkhurst Prison on Saturday, before F.Blake, Esq., on the body of John Harding, aged 17, who was committed for a twelvemonth in October, 1860, for housebreaking at Petersfield, and whose sentence had expired, but being in a deep consumption he was permitted to stay in the hospital until he died, having no friends to assist him. Verdict – Natural Death.

A great reduction in the staff at Parkhurst Prison is contemplated, the Governor (Captain Hall), the Medical Attendant (Dr. Dabbs), and the Farm Bailiff (Mr. Muncey), the Steward and many of the Warders having received official notice that their services will be dispensed with in March next, not that crime is diminishing in the country but that the numerous Reformatories lately established have so lessened the number of convicts at Parkhurst, that it will be found very unprofitable to carry it on much longer. The convicts now only muster 200, and as these are unable to cultivate the extensive farm attached to the prison, it is probable that the whole of it will be let off by tender at a very early period.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS –William Coleman, of Ventnor, charged George Jackman, grocer, with committing a felony, in stealing from a basket in the possession of one of his children, a few greens, which she was hawking through the streets but as it appeared that the defendant had only taken them to help outset a debt owing by the complainant, the Court directly dismissed the charge saying that there was no intent whatever for charging the defendant with felony, although he had not, perhaps, proceeded in the best way to obtain payment of a debt. - Defendant was next charged with committing an assault on Martha Coleman, the wife of the above complainant, who swore that defendant struck her on the shoulder in his own shop, and knocked her out as far as the opposite curb stone, when she went to him of his taking away the greens from the child. Defendants said they both came into the shop and abused him in a most shameful manner, her husband was challenging him out to fight, and the complainant was challenging his wife out, and as they refused to leave when requested, he took her gently by the arm and put her out, but he never struck her at all, which statement was corroborated by his witness. The complainant seems to have been a very pugnacious disposition, and kept interrupting the defendant throughout the whole his defence, when the Court said that from the way in which she conducted herself before them, it would prove that she was not a very peaceable woman, and they should also dismiss this case, the cost of the summons to be paid by her husband.

COWES - The battle between the rival steam companies appears to decrease in fierceness, and it is possible that hereafter an amalgamation may occur. On Friday, Captain Veitch, from the Admiralty, was at the Town Hall to hear any statement that any person interested in the piers should choose to make. Several members of the Local Board were present, as well as many directors of the new Steam Packet Company, and several shareholders of the old company. Many were the allegations pro. and con., to which Captain Veitch listened with due patience, and during the enquiry some warmth of temper was exhibited, but has no decision could then be given the gallant officer merely stated that he should report to the Admiralty what he had seen and heard, concluding with thanking those present for the information afforded him.


30 November 1861

THE TOLLS derivable from the different Turnpike Gates through the island, and the competition for using narrow wheels, were let by auction at the Dragon Hotel on Wednesday evening, by Mr. Francis Pittis, for the next three years to Mr.G.W.Locke, corn merchant, and the present lessee, at £2580 per annum, being an advance of £180 per annum on the previous letting. So much for the long talked of depreciation in the receipts by the construction of railways in the island, which are well known to men of experience to increase the number of vehicles instead of diminishing them.

HORRIBLE DEATH FROM BURNING - A Coroner’s inquest was held at the White Lion Inn, at Coppin’s Bridge, on Tuesday last before F. Blake, Esq., over the charred remains of the body of Ellen Hibberd, the wife of James Hibberd, one of the workmen at the Cement Mills, at Dodner, who came to her death from her clothes having by some means caught fire the day previously. Some of the neighbours were passing a house and observing a considerable quantity of smoke to issue from the front room, the door of which was locked, they made their way to the back of the house and smashed the window out and forced the door, when after some time they discovered the poor woman lying on the floor with the whole of her clothes burnt off her body except her stays, and her person also burned to the very bones, so that the flesh came off in their hands on attempting to move her. Medical assistance was directly procured, but it was no avail, and she died a short time after. It appeared that she was very subject to fits, and that she fell into the fire while suffering from one of these attacks. Verdict – “Accidental Death.”

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS – Edwin Clarke, of Portsmouth, the landlord of the Gurnard Bay Hotel, near West Cowes, was charged with keeping his house open for the sale of beer during Divine Service. – P.C. Tayler, being sworn, said - On Sunday last, about half-past 10 in the forenoon, I went to the defendant’s hotel, in company with P.S. Kent, when we found the back door open. We were in plain clothes, and I went into the first room, where I saw three men, one of whom was drinking, and a man who appears to manage the concern brought in another pint of ale and handed it to the other men, and I took it and tasted it. It was not the defendant. I then heard a knock at the front door, and a woman came in and told the man there was someone at the door, and he left the room, and when he came in again he said, “Now, my lads, look sharp, for the peelers are at the door,” and they emptied their cups, and he washed them out and placed them away. I know that these men belonged to Cowes, I asked the man if that was the way in which he conducted the business, but he made no reply. I then went and opened the front door to let in the sergeant, but he had gone round to the back door at which I had come in. The man was acting as landlord, and I believe he is put there to keep the house, but I do not know his name. The name “Edwin Clarke” is over the door, but I do not think he lives there. – Defendant said, “I do not deny that the articles were served, but it was done in my absence.” – P.S. Kent, Swan, said: I do not know who the man was, but it was not the defendant, who, I believe, resides at Portsmouth, and he has never lived in the house since the license was first granted, for I have visited the place several times, and I never saw him there, or ever heard the name of the man who does live there. I know that the men belonged to Cowes, and that they were not travellers. - Defendant said: I lived at Gurnard a fortnight after opening the house but in consequence of domestic affliction I was called home to Portsmouth, leaving my servant to conduct the business in my absence, with a strict injunction not to serve any person on a Sunday, and I had no idea that he had done so until I received a notice to appear. I am very sorry that it took place, and I shall not think of continuing him there unless I have a sufficient to guarantee that he will obey the laws in future. - The Chairman: It was made a matter of residence with you when we granted the license on condition that you lived in the house. We, therefore, fine you in the penalty of £5, and it will be a question for consideration of the Bench on the next license day whether they will continue it to you.

The Isle of Wight 150 years ago

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