The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.

Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.

March 1863

 7 March 1863

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - William Groves, butcher, was charged by the Inspector of Weights and Measures with using an unjust pair of scales, and Superintendent Horan, being sworn said: I went on 20th February to the defendant’s shop, at Ryde, and inspected his scales, which I found to be 2 ounces against the purchaser. Defendant: I do not attend to the shop personally, and my young man says he was not aware of it, but he supposes that when he cleaned the scales in the morning, he forgot to put on the ball that adjusts them. I have been in business 25 years, and this had never happened before, and wouldn't have happened even then had I been aware of it. The Chairman: Our duty is to protect the public, and if you are obliged to trust your business to a deputy, you take greater responsibility on your own shoulders, and must depend on his honesty. We do not for one moment believe that this was a wilful fraud on your part, or we should levy a much heavier penalty, and for your own security we would caution you to look oftener at the conduct of the parties in care of your other establishments. Fined 20s. and 7s. 6d. costs.

Charles Chessel, a copesman, and Alfred Allnott, coachman to Lady Clare, at Ryde, were charged with stealing three faggots and three oak poles, the property of Major Verner, of Quarr. Mr. F. Blake appeared on behalf of Allnott. Allnott bought an excellent character from his employers, and as it was sufficiently proved that he had no idea that Chessel had no right to dispose of the property, he was discharged but as Chessel himself claimed a right to it, according to the copesman’s customs of being allowed a burden of wood every day when cutting, the Court committed him to the Assizes to allow him to prove its legality.

Thomas Riding, charged with leaving his wife and family chargeable to the Guardians of the Poor, at a cost to the ratepayers of £10 11s. 11½d., was committed for one month. Charles Chadwick, of Cowes, ditto, for £14 11s 10, was liberated on the promise to take his family out of the House.

RYDE. – ANTI-TRAMWAY AGITATION. – The opponents of the tramway are making extraordinary effort to get signatures to a petition to Parliament, to prevent the Railway Company from obtaining a tramway from the Pier to the Terminus. They are not very confident in the success of their opposition, it seems, or, as they obtained a majority in the board of commissioners, it might have been supposed that they would have rested satisfied with their victory. The tramway, however, is so essential to the public convenience, that it is no wonder they deem it necessary to bring every effort to bear upon their Parliamentary opposition to give it a shadow of success. The bill comes before the committee, we believe, on Friday; hence the necessity for haste and zeal.


14 March 1863

The members of the “Hand in Hand” Friendly Society, to the number of about 80, celebrated their forty-fourth anniversary at the Wheat Sheaf Inn, on Monday last, by partaking of one of Host Read’s substantial dinners, Dr. Foster in the chair, and the cloth being cleared, we have pleasure to hear from the clerks that the society, which is now numbered 242 members, still maintained its prosperous position and that its stability was most fully established, although it had paid out during the last year £180 for sickness and death, an increase of £208 had nevertheless taken place in the stock fund, which now amounted to the sum of £4179 13s., after having paid out during the forty-four years it had been established nearly £5000 for sickness, funerals, superannuation, and medical attendance.

RYDE. – ACCIDENT AT THE R.V.Y. CLUB-HOUSE. –On Tuesday a slight accident took place at the above establishment in consequence of the escape of gas in the butler’s pantry. There was a pipe outside the wall which leaked, and the escaped gas filled a small cavity in the wall, which oozed through into the room. A light came in contact with it and an explosion took place, which blew off a few feet of plaster from the wall and ignited the latter, which was instantly extinguished.


21 March 1863

At the vestry meeting of the parishioners of Carisbrooke, held on Thursday last, Mr. Henry Wadham, broker, was elected as an assistant overseer, in the room of the late assistant, Mr. Edmund Pope Smith, who absconded about three weeks since with a large amount of the poor rates in his possession, collected in the short time during which he had been in office, his whereabouts not having been as yet discovered. Through some unaccountable neglect the usual bond with securities had not been executed.

Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales paid a visit to this town on Saturday afternoon, although the weather was most unpropritous, it raining heavily at intervals. The streets were crowded, it being market day, and the newly married couple were received with the most enthusiastic cheering throughout. The Mayor (F.Pittis, Esq.) having previously signified to the inhabitants his wish that the decorations furnished on the wedding day should remain, many of them were re-arranged for the occasion in expectancy of the Royal visit, and the High-street presented the appearance of a vast bower, the sides of the street being planted with growing trees from the Forest of Parkhurst, which formed an extensive and pleasant Avenue, which, with the numerous triumphal arches and an immense display of flags of every nation and every hue, caused one of the prettiest sights imaginable. The happy pair, in an open carriage, and unattended except by one solitary outrider, drove through the town as far as the Lamb corner at a walking pace, and then turned off for Cowes, the Princess bowing continually to the loud and fervent greetings of the populace, and the bridegroom appearing equally as well pleased as his fair bride. In commemoration of the event the town was again most brilliantly illuminated in the evening.

COUNTY PETTY SESSION. - John Newbury, a farm labourer, in the employ of Mr. John Way, of Woolverton, was charged with having unmercifully beaten two of his master’s horses, - it is supposed out of revenge for his brother having been sentenced at the latest Assizes to 3 years’ penal servitude for sheep stealing. The charge being clearly proved, the court sentenced the prisoner to 6 weeks’ hard labour.

Alfred Stubbings, the landlord of the Olive Branch, public-house, at West Cowes, charged by P.S. Kent with having it open for the sale of beer, &c., before five o'clock on Sunday afternoon, was fined 20s and costs 7s 6d. Defendant pleaded that when the police came into his house Divine service was over, and, as his license only expressed that he shouldn't sell during divine service, he submitted that he had committed no offence. The court said they had nothing to do with the license. The law laid down that all public houses should be closed from three to five o'clock, and by that law both magistrates and public and must abide.

BOROUGH COURT. - Jane Read and Fanny Andrews, a brace of “unfortunates,” charged with being drunk and disorderly, were fined 12s 6d. each, and in default of payment committed for 14 days.

COWES. - There Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales honoured our town with a visit on Saturday afternoon, on their return from Newport, greatly to the satisfaction of the residents. As the royal party proceeded through the streets at a very slow pace, all had an excellent opportunity of seeing the royal pair. Owing to some mistake the address from the inhabitants of West Cowes did not reach Osborne quite so early as that from Newport. However, on Tuesday last we were favoured with an acknowledgement of the receipt of the address from General Knollys, and an assurance that it had been most graciously received. As it was rumoured that the Prince and Princess would attend divine service at Whippingham church on Sunday morning last, hundreds crossed the ferry and walked to Whippingham to see the royal party. The path from the high road to the church was strewed with flowers, the greater part of which were afterwards gathered up to be preserved as mementos of the day. The Prince and his bride looked well and happy.

RYDE. – COUNTY COURT. - The town of Ryde is about to receive a great boon by the alternate sitting of the County Court in conjunction with Newport. Hitherto the inhabitants of Ryde have had to travel to Newport in order to transact the business. This change will not only save them both trouble and expense, but act as a check upon those who now calculate upon impunity in consequence of the time and money required to compel payment in Newport.

RYDE. - INQUEST. - On Tuesday afternoon an inquest was held at the Strand Tavern, before F. Blake, Esq., on the body of Charles Vinen, steward of the steamer John Tom Taylor, who was drowned on 4th January last. It appeared in evidence that the deceased had been drinking freely, and on arriving at the sure he found the boat gone, and is supposed to have endeavoured to reach of the ship by swimming. The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned, but how or by what means there was no evidence to show.” The body had been washed ashore on the day previous.

RYDE - THE TRAMWAY. - The anti-tramway men have for the present gained their point, as on Thursday the committee of the House of Lords, pass the Isle of Wight Railway Bill minus the tramway. These very opponents of a tramway at Ryde are highly pleased that the Portsmouth Corporation have been successful in obtaining one, because it is likely to facilitate travelling to the island. We need not characterise as it deserves such inconsistency. The motive is transparent enough.

RYDE – THE ADDRESS TO THE ROYAL PAIR. - The good people of Ryde have been sorely disappointed at the Prince and Princess of Wales leaving the island without driving through the town. The address of the commissioners was not a sufficient attraction to bring their Royal Highnesses, as in reply to a communication from the clerk to the board, it was stated that the address would be received through the Controller of the Household, General Knollys. Accordingly it was posted to that functionary, who replied to it in the cut and dried official style. False reports as to a visit were circulated, which filled our streets with the curious several times; it is needless to add people were disappointed.

28 March 1863

A GRAND MILITARY CONCERT was given at the Queen’s Rooms on Monday evening, in aid of the funds for improving the Garrison Chapel and Cemetery. The concert was fashionably attended, and the performances elicited great applause. The overtures to “Stradella” and the “Barber of Seville” were beautifully executed by the band of the 18th R.I. regiment, the members of the Philharmonic Society, Messrs. Yelf, Roche, and Smith rendering efficient support in the vocal department. The duett in “Guillaume Tell,” violin and piano, by Mr. L. Gubbins and Mr. J. T. Mew, received a well-merited encore, as did a flute solo by Mr. Herr Bergman, the conductor of the band. The evening’s entertainment concluded with the National Anthem.

COUNTY PETTY SESSION. - John Richard Dawson, of West Cowes, charged with trespassing on the Cowes and Newport Railway, having apologised for the offence, was admonished and discharged.

Martin Kirwan, a private in the 18th reg., charged with stealing a gold pin, the property of Captain Clark, of the 50th reg., was committed to the Sessions.

George Richards, convicted of drunkenness, was fined 12s. 6d., and in default of payment to be committed for seven days.

COWES. - The master of the Collier Samson, of this port, when on his voyage from Sunderland to Cowes, was lost overboard whilst the vessel was lying to off Eastbourne. How or in what manner it happened we cannot yet satisfactorily learn.

RYDE. – INQUESTS. - On Tuesday, two inquests were held in this town before F. Blake, Esq., Coroner for the Island. The first took place at the Oakfield Tavern, upon the body of William James Seymour, who was drowned on Friday night near the projected fort at Spithead. The unfortunate man was hauling his anchor when a sudden squall swamped the boat, and although Seymour was an expert swimmer he was drowned. Verdict “Accidental death.” - The second was held at the Strand Tavern, upon the body of Frances, the wife of Mr. Nathaniel Ashford, a woman advanced in life, who was found dead in her bed on Sunday morning. From the evidence of Mr. Woodward, surgeon, it appeared that death took place from natural causes. Verdict accordingly.

RYDE. – MEETING OF PIER COMPANY. - On Monday last a numerous and influential meeting of the old Pier Company took place at the Pier Hotel, George Young, Esq. in the chair. The business of the meeting was to take into consideration the report of the directors, which recommended “the construction of a harbour and branch Pier at the North East end of the tramway.” The report was read by Mr. W. E. Ratcliffe, clerk to the directors. Mr George Garnett proposed the adoption of the report, to which an amendment was moved by Sir A. S. Hamond. The chairman answered all the objections brought forward, and ultimately the report was adopted by a large majority. Complaints were made of the nuisance created by touting on the Pier, even by servants of the company. The chairman said the annoyance complained of should be removed.

RYDE. – FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Tuesday afternoon a boy, named Tewkesbury, about 13 years of age, living at Wootton, was sent by his master to Newport for a doctor as he (the master) had been taken suddenly ill. The boy, as Lambert's coach was passing, got up behind for a ride, when by some mischance his foot slipped, he fell, and became entangled in the spokes of the wheel. Before he could be extracted from his perilous position one of his thighs had been fractured and he had received fearful injuries. Dr. McLachlan, Esq., was driving past at the time, when he immediately stopped his carriage and kindly had the poor boy wrapped up in a horse-cloth, placed in the bottom of it, and drove him at once to the Infirmary. Upon his arrival the gentleman drove to Messrs. Bloxam and Penninger, surgeons, who were speedily in attendance, and amputated one leg and set the other, and did everything that medical skill could suggest, leaving the patient to the kinder care of Mr. J. Jones, house surgeon. This was about five or six o'clock on Tuesday evening. The patient never rallied, and expired on Wednesday morning at ten o'clock.



Charles Chessell was charged with stealing a quantity of fagots and wood, at Binstead, near Ryde. The prisoner was employed to clear wood from a copse; some he had sold and some he appropriated for his own use. Guilty. Six months’ imprisonment.

George James Notten pleaded guilty to being with two other persons, then and there armed with guns and sticks, entering a copse called Whitefield Wood, at Brading, and was sentenced to one months’ imprisonment.

Jane Hollier and Mary Manners were placed as the bar on a charge of stealing a watch and chain at Newchurch, on 18 February, 1863. They were both found guilty, and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment each.

Eliza Byrne pleaded guilty to stealing a petticoat at Newport. Previous conviction. One years’ imprisonment.

George Newberry was found guilty of the charge of stealing one she at Shorwell, the property William Harvey. Three years’ penal servitude.

Ann Snow was placed at the bar on the charge of the wilful murder of her new born female child at Freshwater on 20th January. Mr. Beetham conducted the prosecution, & the prisoner was defended by Mr. Sanders at the request of the Judge.

The prisoner was kitchen maid at the Needles Hotel, Alum Bay. It appeared that on the evening of the 19th January she said to Maria Wickens, a chamber maid at the same hotel that she should go to bed. She went, and the next morning she (Wickens) saw the prisoner sitting by the kitchen fire. She said to her “why do you not open the house, it is so late.” Prisoner did not reply, but went about her work. They had breakfast at nine o'clock. Wickens then went into the wash house and saw some water discoloured. She asked the prisoner what it was and she replied “where she had washed herself.” There were streams  on the carpet and floor. She then asked her what she had been doing and she said nothing. Prisoner and witness went to an out-house together and the prisoner asked her “how often it was emptied,” and was told pretty often. The woman Wickens then went to Mrs. Meaning and they together went to the out-house, let a candle down, and on the top of the soil saw something wrapped up in a cloth. The two women then went in doors and on returning saw that the bundle had been found further under the soil and some ashes put over it. They got the bundle out with a pair of tongs and found it was the body of a dead female child. Wickens then fetched the prisoner and asked her if that child was hers, she said “yes,” and then said “don't tell the govenor of it.” Mr. Bensley, the master, also went and the prisoner said the baby was hers, and that she was not ashamed of it. They all went back to the kitchen and when asked why she tied the string round the little thing’s neck, she replied because she was afraid she could not keep it. Round the body of the child was a cloth with the name of an Snow upon it, the tongue was protruding and froth coming from the mouth. In reply to a question put by Wickens, prisoner, who was crying at the time, said “she did not know her time was so near,” and that when it was so “she intended going into the house.”

Mr. Sanders address the jury for the prisoner, after which his Lordship summed up, and the jury found her guilty of concealment. Twelve months’ imprisonment.

The Isle of Wight 150 years ago

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1 March 2013