The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.

Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.

October 1861

5 October 1861                 

A curious discovery was made at the George Inn, in Nodehill, on the evening of Monday last, when a top coat, the property of a commercial traveller, was missed from a small apartment adjoining the tap room, in which was seated a dashing looking lady, the wife of a sergeant stationed at Parkhurst. On being searched by the active landlady the missing garment was found to have somehow insinuated itself between the capacious boot of the woman's crinoline. She was speedily delivered of the article in question, but not confined, as the owner was in haste to reach Ventnor that evening, so the lady escaped a gaol nursing.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS.            Henry Kingswell, a partner in the employ of the New Steam Packet Company, complained of being assaulted by Richard Stephens, the captain of the Old Company’s Steam Packet Medina. It appeared by the evidence, that the complainant had ordered the luggage of a gentleman, who had expressed a wish to go over in the Lord of the Isles, to be placed on her deck, in doing which he had to cross the deck of the Medina, but the porter of the hotel put it down on the deck of the latter, and when the former attempted to remove it, the defendants took him by the collar, or his waistcoat, kicked him and turned him out of the vessel. Defendant denied kicking him, but expressed himself fully justified in turning complainant out of the vessel, urging that he used no more than necessary force. – Chairman - You must leave the Court to consider of that, but we consider the case proved, and you, as captain of a steamer, must be told that you have no right to assault any of the people who come on board. There is a proper remedy against all who offend if you choose to pursue it, but you are not to be allowed to take the law into your own hands. The charge is not of that very serious nature as to demand a heavy penalty, and, therefore, we find that you 2s. 6d. and 7s. 6d. costs, and don't let it occur again.

COWES. During the last fortnight our river and a roadstead have been swarming with fish, and many of the poor and unemployed have earned much money by the sale of the fish they have taken, consisting of whiting and other fish of very superior quality and size.

SUDDEN DEATH. - On Thursday morning a drunken navvy entered the Royal Oak Inn, in Cross-street Cowes, kept by Mr. Richardson, and demanded to be supplied with beer, and on meeting with a refusal he commenced behaving in a most outrageous manner, which so terrified the landlord’s mother that she fell to the ground a corpse. It is thought that the poor creature must have been afflicted with disease of the heart. The fellow has since been taken into custody by the police, after making a desperate resistance, during which the police received some injury.

VENTNOR. Prospectuses have just been issued, for a Company entitled Ventnor Pier and Harbour Company, capital £15,000, in shares of £20 each. This subject has been brought before the public several times, but always fell to the ground for want of a leader. The advantage to Ventnor by the formation of a breakwater, pier, and quay will be very great, both as regards landing of coal, timber, and merchandise, and also for passengers; as a daily communication with Portsmouth by steam would be a saving of considerable time and expense, and the advantage of for excursionists landing at Ventnor at all times of the tide would add much to the prosperity of the town and the convenience of passengers.


12 October 1861              

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - Jacob Gustar, of West Cowes, baker, charged George Bannister with an assault. There was a cross summons in which the position of the parties was reversed. Mr. Eldridge appeared for Gustar, and Mr. Beckingsale for the defendant for the third time in Court. The magistrates, on two previous occasions, recommended the parties to settle their differences out of Court, but without avail. It appeared that the assault in question arose from the defendant having entertained a suspicion that the complainant went a “caterwauling” after his wife during his absence from home, and he threatened to put “two feet of cold steel through him the very next time he caught him there,” but after a very long examination the Court said it was a most trumpery case which never ought to have been brought there at all, and dismissed it.

John Groves, of East Cowes, charge by John Hayles with allowing a ferocious dog to run at large was dismissed, the complainants not being able to prove any previous act of ferocity, and in his own case he admitted that he had first trod on the dog’s tail in the dark, when as a natural consequence the animal turned round and inflicted five ”incisions,” as he called it, in his leg.

LIFE-BOATS. - On Wednesday the local committee held the quarterly meeting in the resuscitating room adjoining the life-boat-house at Brooke station, present Mr. B. Cotton, of Afton House (Chairman), Admiral Crozier, Captain Crozier, R.N., Mr Catajar, R.N. (officer of Coast-guard), Mr. E. Watts (surveyor of roads), Rev. J. Pellew Gaze, rector of Brooke (hon. Secretary), and the hon. Treasurer, Mr. George Wyatt, of Newport. The tenders for the construction of a road (for life-boat purposes only) leading from Compton Bay to the old road near Grange Farm, were unsealed by the Chairman, and that of Mr. George Gosden, builder, of Freshwater was accepted. The life-boat carriage, gear, and stores were then inspected, and everything proved to be in good repair and in its proper place. An additional six fathoms of line was ordered to be put into store, and the Coxwain's salary, the crew and the assisters at the quarterly practice, with the bills for the necessary repairs, &c., were paid. The kind present of a suitable table, set of chairs, and stores, for the resuscitating room, the gift of Mr Robinson, of the furniture warehouse, Newport (successor to Mr. Francis Pittis), was thankfully received and appreciated. The life-boat, with her transporting carriage, having been re-painted, and of the year with stores restowed ready for service on the shortest notice, her appearance was in every way most satisfactory, the knowledge of which, now that the tempestuous and dark season is approaching, will doubtless give as great satisfaction to every one of the subscribers to this most inestimable charity, whose bounty has been placed at the disposal of the Committee of Management for providing, as effectively as possible, the best means of saving life (under Providence) by rendering assistance to the distressed, who may unfortunately be shipwrecked on the treacherous coast of the Isle of Wight. The fund for the about purpose is much in need of the liberal support of the benevolent, and contributions will be thankfully received by the hon. Treasurer, or at either of the banks on the island.

NEWPORT BOROUGH COURT - Patrick Gilman, a discharged soldier, was charged by P.C. Zeley with being drunk and disorderly in the streets of the town on Saturday night. It appeared that the prisoner by concocting a pitiful tale for the County magistrates a hours previous, had succeeded in duping them out of five shillings to take him home to “Ould Ireland,” and he directly went and got drunk with the money. Committed for 21 days.

COWES – AN ACT OF GALLANTRY was performed on Tuesday morning by Mr. Woodyear, an old and highly respected inhabitant of Cowes, which will reflect lasting credit on his name. Whilst Mr. Woodyear was walking in the vicinity of the Solent baths, he heard the cry of a woman in distress. Looking around, he saw a female smuggling in deep water, the tide carrying her rapidly out to sea. Without a moment's hesitation, after divesting himself of hat and coat, he sprang into the sea, and after a few vigorous strokes, succeeded in overtaking the distressed woman, who immediately grasped one of his arms. He then swam towards the shore, but became exhausted when almost safe, and sank with the one he was trying to save. Fortunately his energy compensated for absence of physical strength, and rising again to the surface, he managed to reach shoal water, and finally brought his prize on shore, both being more dead than alive. It appears the lady, while bathing, had ventured too far, and was swept off by the tide. What renders the act the more meritorious is that Mr. Woodyear is over seventy-four years of age, and has of late been very ill.


19 October 1861

A serious accident occurred near Branston on Monday to Mr. Alfred Allen, the under bailiff of the County Court, was overturned in his vehicle by the kicking of a vicious horse, and it is feared had sustained a fracture of the bones of the leg, besides several other serious injuries.

The County Court opens on Thursday, before C. J. Gale, Esq., with nearly 300 plaints and judgement summonses on the list, very few of which possess any public interest; three-fourths of the action being brought under the “tally system,” which fills our gaols with prisoners at the expense of the county, and plunges our labourers into insurmountable difficulties, by being suffered to contract debts they have no means of paying; and of the 21 persons ordered to be committed for different periods, two-thirds of them were poor men, whose wives had run their husbands into debt for dress and other articles, unsuitable for their condition in life.

INSOLVENT COURT. - Charles Pascall Atkey Drover, of West Cowes, tobacconist, came up for a first hearing, liabilities £266, assets £33, and was opposed by Mr. J. D. May, auctioneer, who elicited from the insolvent that he had goods of him in August last to the amount of about £16, none of which can be found in the house when the sale by auction took place, that that they were carried away in a van in the middle of the night and secreted in a house in Deadman's Lane, Newport. His Honor said that under the old law, he could have committed the petitioner to prison for fraud, but under the new law, he could only dismissed the petitioner, but this would be punishing the creditors instead of the criminal, as in this event, the assets in the hands of the Court must be given up to him, and would very probably be wasted in a week, whereas if the goods could be recovered, the creditors would most likely realize a dividend of half-a-crown in the pound. These should therefore suspend the hearing for six months, without naming a day for the final order, in the mean time the bailiff of the Court was to go and seize the goods so secreted, and have them sold for the benefit of the creditors. (The goods were recovered.)


26 October 1861              

The Cowes and Newport Railway is rapidly approaching completion at this end of the line, and a wooden bridge now connects Holyrood-street with it near the County police station, with an inclined plane from the terminus to the gaol.

In making the excavation necessary for a common sewer in Bedford-place, the workmen have just come across a number of huge elm trees in tolerable preservation, bored and laid it down as long ago as 1620 by a Mr. James, for the purpose of bringing the Carisbrook water into Newport. Either, however, through a defect in the principle or a failure in funds the experiment never succeeded and it remains to the present generation to carry into effect this highly necessary and beneficial improvement.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - Jeremiah Whittington, of Lower Calbourne Mill, licensed brewer and retailer of the beer, was charged by P.C. Hughes with keeping its house open for the sale of beer during the hours of divine service on the Sunday preceding, when the policeman discovered six labouring men in the bakehouse, and a quarter of beer in the flour bin! Defendant, who did not appear, was fined 10s., and costs, 7s. 6d.

Francis James Leveson, a private in the 41st Regiment, stationed at Freshwater, was charged with indecently exposing himself to a female child age four years, of the name of Maria Morris, at the George Hotel Tap, Yarmouth, on the evening of the ninth Instant. The Court, after much deliberation, sent the fellow to gaol as a rogue and a vagabond for the space of three months, with hard labour.

The Isle of Wight 150 years ago

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