The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.

Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.

August 1861

3 August 1861

NEWPORT   The Quarterly Meeting of the Town Council is to be held on Tuesday, but as the Isle of Wight Races are appointed for the same hours we understand that an arrangement will be made, if possible, to let business for once give way to amusement, and that an adjournment of the Council will be proposed till a more favourable opportunity occurs.

A coroner's inquest was held on Friday last, before Mr. Edward Blake, deputy coroner, on the body of Mr. Harnabas Heal, aged 77, the well-known carrier between Atherfield and Newport, who threw himself into a well in his garden on the Wednesday evening and was drowned. The evidence was given that he had been in a very desponding state for a long period, and that it had become necessary for a labourer to sit up with him at night, under the fear that he would commit suicide if left to himself; but seeming to get better on the Sunday previous, the caution was neglected, and the deceased, on the first opportunity, put an end to his own life. Verdict, “Drowned himself in a state of insanity.”

INFORMATION TO THE RELATIVES OF F. R. RANDELL – Another inquest was held the same day, at Grange Chine, by the same coroner, on the body (literally speaking) of a man unknown, and all the particulars that could be gleaned of him are embodied in the following evidence: - John Lowe, a  Coastguardman, station at Atherfield, said: I was on duty this morning that Grange Chine a little before four o'clock, when I found the body which has just been seen by the jury about 300 yards to the eastward. It has neither head, hands, nor feet, but round the body and legs there are the remains of a blue Guernsey frock, marked “F. R. Randell, No. 2,” and a pair of trousers, and it appears to have been in the water for some time. – Verdict, “Found drowned.”

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - Sarah Watson, barmaid at the Appuldurcombe Hotel, applied for the transfer of a license from James Atkinson, the late manager of the Appuldurcombe Hotel Company, to herself; but as an enquiry by the Bench elicited the fact that the applicant was only acting as a servant to the Rev. Mr. Leigh, of Winchester, who holds possession of the premises under a bill of sale, and that she was not the bona fide occupier thereof, the Court refused the transfer, as no responsibility whatever would rest on the applicant.

Henry King, a Mason’s labourer, was charged with stealing a jacket, the property of William Whittington, the keeper of the Baths, at Ventnor, and with disposing of the same to Henry Quynell, a marine store keeper, in the same town, for a shilling, the property being worth a much larger sum. The prisoner pleaded a drunkenness as an excuse, and entire ignorance of the offence in consequence. Chairman: It appears that you were quite sober enough to steal it, and carry it to a dealer in marine stores to sell it the same night and we commit you for six weeks to hard labour.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT. - As Mr. Barton, of Barnsley Farm, near Ryde, was returning from Newport on Saturday last, after having been sworn in as assessor, he was thrown from his horse, when, by some means, the animal pressed upon its unfortunate rider, breaking some of his ribs and of forcing them in upon his lungs. The unhappy suffer still remains in a very precarious state. A day or two previous, we understand, a little boy, son of Mr. Barton, fell into a threshing machine and broke his thigh.


10 August 1861

The Cowes and Newport Railway is so far advanced that the company had taken possession of and commenced preparations for laying down their rails through the meadow and Gardens at the rear of the Medina Tavern, in Sea-street, near which we are informed the terminus is to be erected shortly.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - The Rev. Mr. Leigh, of Winchester appealed to the bench for their reasons for refusing to transfer the licence of the Appuldurcombe Hotel to his servant, Sarah Watson, on the Saturday preceding. The Chairman said they were not bound to state their reasons for refusing any license. It was quite sufficient that they did not conceive the applicant to be a responsible party.

George Whitewood, John Whitewood, and George Kingswell, charged by Mr. William Hollier, of the Shanklin Hotel, with committing some disgusting indecencies in his tap-room , were discharged, the court having no power under the Act to deal with such an offence.

Isaac Drayton, aged 18, charged with stealing 5½lbs. of pork from his master, Mr. George Jackman, of Ventnor, grocer, pleaded guilty, and was committed for six weeks to hard labour.


17 August 1861

THE DRINKING FOUNTAIN recently elected in St. James’s Square, and purchased by private subscription, at a cost of about £80, was thrown open to the public on Friday, the 9th inst., after an introductory address by James Eldridge, Esq., on the necessity of adopting temperance habits. The proceedings closed with the National Anthem, performed on the occasion by the brass band of the Newport Rifles, after which the health of her Majesty was proposed and drank in pure Carisbrooke Spring water, and the three cheers from the assembled multitude proclaimed the free gift to all who choose to accept it.

A desperate attempt was made on Thursday, by a married woman, named Ann Arthur, to stab her husband, a vendor of watercresses, named James Arthur (who lodges at the White Lion), as he was coming out of a barber’s shop; and it was not until his hand was severely cut in attempting to ward off her blows, and the enraged woman was thrown on her back, that the knife could be wrested from her. She was then taken prisoner and brought before R. M. Wavell, Esq., who remanded till Monday for a further hearing. It is said that this mad act on her part is attributable to jealous motives.

THE HARVEST, which had proceeded rapidly since the return of fine weather on Friday, the 8th instant, was again retarded by frequent showers on Thursday last; but we are happy to say that a large breadth of corn has been saved in splendid order, that some scores of goodly ricks now grace our farm-yards, and we hope soon to see the remaining portion, with a return of sunshine, added to their number. The turnip crops are luxuriant, but every day adds to the potatoe blight, whether the dug or remaining in the ground, and the injury this season is far beyond anything which the Islanders have ever before experienced.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - Henry Pool, the master of the collier brig, Pioneer, then lying in the Cowes Harbour, was charged by P. C. Taylor with being drunk that same morning, at the hour of four, in the High-street of Cowes, and with knocking the policeman's hat of when he wished him to go on board is vessel. Fined 7s. 6d.

COWES – THE TOWN REGATTA came off on Monday afternoon under the guidance of one of the most efficient Committees that ever presided over our aquatic sports. Her Majesty was expected to be present but was prevented, owing to the arrival of the King of Sweden. With the usual courtesy that marks all the royal actions, a message was sent to the Committee that the sport should not be delayed as it was not in Majesty’s power to attend. Never in the 30 years have we witnessed these amusements wasn't there a fine day, a great assemblage of spectators, or a better program published, than on Monday. The steamers from Portsmouth, Ryde, Southampton and Lymington, brought an immense number of passengers, and the Parade from the Watch House to the R. Y. S. Castle, was more closely packed with visitors than was ever known before. At 2 o'clock p.m., the signal gun was fired and the sports commenced. All were delighted, and we believe much money was lost and won on the various matches. All of the boats were good, but we must especially notice the Elphinstone, of Portsmouth which beat everything opposed to her. She is a fine craft and manned by a stalwart crew, who showed by their deeds what gospel amateurs can do. (The results were appended that are not transcribed here.)


24 August 1861

A labourer, named Richard Fleming, whilst engaged in loading timber on board a vessel in the river on Monday afternoon, was pitched overboard, and had the misfortune to fracture his thigh in a most shocking manner. He was afterwards taken to the hospital.

THE HARVEST. - A week of glorious sunshine, though not entirely unmixed with partial showers, has enabled our farmers to save the great bulk of their crops, and we are in hopes that on the evening of this day will witness the conclusion of the wheat harvest on many farms in the island in most capital order. Of course, with such a variety of soils as our little piece of terra firma exhibits, from the poor, wet, and heavy clays of the north, to the mellow and rich sands of the south, - from the black peat of the east, to the white chalk of the west, and with all the differences between “Mount Pleasant” on the one hand, and “Mount Misery” on the other, it is almost impossible for us, without a personal visit to each estate, to arrive at a definite conclusion as to the general produce; but, from what we can glean from intelligent and unbiased observers, there is little doubt that there exists a full, average yield of wheat, barley, and oats, and that it comes to scale both plump and weighty, whilst the straw is strong and luxuriant, qualities which, we trust will prevent how again borrowing from the brother Jonathan the enormous importation which we have witnessed within the last few months.

THE ANNUAL LICENSING DAY for the County of the Isle of Wight was held on Wednesday last at the Town-hall, before Sir John Simeon, Bart., Chairman, Captain Hamond, R. C. Sheddon, T. M. Leacocke, and F. W. Popham, Esqs. Renewal licenses were supplied to the occupants of about 180 hotels, inns, and public-houses in the Island and several applications were adjourned till the 31st instance. The landlord of the White Hart, at West Cowes; the Ferry Boat, at East Cowes; and the Crown, at Shorwell, were cautioned to be more careful over their conduct in future; and the licenses of the Sloop Inn, at Wootton, and in the Wheat Sheaf, at Ryde, were transferred to Mr. A. Vanner and Mr. Edgar James. No application was made for the renewal of the licence to the Appuldurcombe Hotel Company. The household goods are all to be sold by auction in the month of September, under the powers of a bill of sale given to the Rev. Mr. Leigh, of Winchester, and that ends a speculation which has disappointed the shareholders and deceived the creditors. The following new licences were granted, viz. to Mr John Cuppe, of the Traveller’s Joy, beer-shop, at Brading; to Mr. Edward Warren, late of the Spirit Stores, French-street, Southampton, for a new in called the “Britannia” on Honey-hill; to Mr. Robert Sprake, for the “Star,” beer-shop, at Chale; to Mr. Charles Mundell, for the “Bee-hive,” wine and ale stores, at Ryde; to Mr. George Wills, for a new hotel in Pier-street, Ryde to be called “Will’s Coffey House;” to Mr. Albert Kemp, for the “Strand, ”beer-shop, Ryde; and to Mr. Edwin Clarke, of Southsea, for a new hotel at Gurnard Bay to be called the “Gurnard Bay Hotel.” A licence was refused to Mr. John Richard Dawson, of Cowes, on account of the want of accommodation, and the Bench express themselves unanimously of the opinion that on all occasions they had only to look at the character of the applicant and the accommodation he could offer to the public; that the same principles which regulated other trades - namely, supply and demand - would regulate the trade in public-houses, and that the number of public-houses would eventually be regulated by the wants of the public, which occasioned Mr. Field (who appeared on behalf of several vested interests to oppose the grant of more licenses) to exclaim “Then Othello’s occupation’s gone; and I'll now make my best bow to the Court, and bid them farewell for ever.” The Court then adjourned to Saturday, 31st inst.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. – Sarah Nobbs, charged with assaulting Charlotte Reynolds, at Gurnard, was dismissed, it being proved by a witness that the women had a fair fight over their differences.

RYDE. - We understand that Mr. W . J. Lacy, of the Arcade, Ryde, has been honoured with the command of Her Majesty to attend at Osborne House for the purpose of taking photographic portraits of the Royal Family and visitors at Osborne. He has been successful in obtaining a very excellent portraits of the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, Princes Beatrice, Prince William of Prussia, Princess Charlotte of Prussia, Baroness von Dobeneck, Baroness Brahl, the Countess Desart, the Hon. Miss Stuart Wortley, Count Furstenstein, and others.


31 August 1861

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. – Mr. Broadley Way, grocer, applied to the Court for a license for a new canteen under the provisions of the Mutiny Act, to supply the troops in camp at Freshwater, who are employed in making the roads to the different fortifications. The Court granted the licence in the name of George Bland, an assistant to Mr. Way.

NEWPORT BOROUGH COURT. - George Read, a journeyman mason, was charged with committing an outrageous assault upon Mr. John Read, the host of the “Lamb Inn” in St. James's-square. It appeared that the defendant, at a late hour, having commenced kicking up a row in the house, ordered him out, when the defendant immediately struck him a tremendous blow, which left its impression on the face, and was swollen for a week afterwards. The Court very leniently find of the defendant only 10s. and costs, 5s.

RYDE - ROYAL ISLE OF WIGHT INFIRMARY BALL - Last evening (Friday), the annual Ball in aid of the funds of the above useful Institution took place at the Victoria Rooms, under the most distinguished patronage of the locality. The rooms were tastefully decorated and numerously attended, the company comprising the elite of the beauty and fashion of the Island. We trust that the funds will be largely benefited by the efforts made on this occasion.

The Isle of Wight 150 years ago

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