The Clovelly Storm of 1838, One Place Hanging Out, C17th London and Other Matters

With hurricanes forecast for the night of 27th/28th October, it is a good time to ask for help with one of my (many) research projects. Exactly 175 years ago there was a bad storm off Clovelly. In a direct response to the loss of life in this tragedy, in 1839, the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent Society, better known as the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society was founded. This was set up by Charles Gee Jones and John Rye, in order to raise funds to assist the fishermen’s widows, orphans and parents. I am attempting to identify those involved, both victims and survivors and trace living descendants of any of these men. There is plenty of information available about the storm of 1821 but much less about that of 1838. Newspaper reports are inconsistent about the number of boats and men who were caught in the storm and the number of victims.

One version of the list of those who were lost includes the following:-

From Clovelly:-  James Britton senior; James Britton junior son of the above; John Britton, son of James senior; John Shersel, a married man; William Shersel, brother of the above, a married man; John Lewis who left a widow and family; Thomas Jenn and Richard Lane.

From Bucks Mills:- John Braund, left a widow and 3 children; James Veale; John Bagelhole, left a widow and child.

From Hartland:- Hugh Bayley; Thomas Trick, left a widow and 2 children; Philip Cowell, left a widow and family.

Also:- James Radford from Ilfracombe, left a widow and family; Mr Carpenter from Ilfracombe, left a widow and family. James Kelly from Appledore, left a widow and 6 children; Richard Lock from Appledore, left a widow and 3 children; Henry Pooley from Bideford, left a widow, his body was recovered; Richard Parker from Bude; An unknown Cornishman.

Unfortunately, for those whose bodies were not recovered, there can be no death or burial records. So tracing these men and their descendants is difficult.

Last night I had my first experience of participating in a Google+ Hangout on air, on the topic of One Place Studies. The result is now available on YouTube. I have no idea why I sound so out of breath and hesitant – it was past my bedtime – that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it! Good fun though and a very productive discussion.

Not too sure about the variations on ‘Scarborough Fair’ as a musical accompaniment but as someone who lives in the seventeenth century, this new game (at least I think it is going to be a game) was of interest. All about the Streets of London – now wouldn’t that have been a better track? – great fan of Ralph McTell me. Do play the video. It could even persuade me to start computer gaming. Mistress Agnes would have put it on her Christmas list but I have pointed out that not only have computers not yet been invented but Cromwell is about to ban Christmas.

Some very interesting documents have been loaned to me lately. I am currently guarding with my life some old school registers and the archive for the local WI. The latter includes a wonderful survey of the village in 1965 and contains a very unusual picture of my house.

Coles Manning 1965 Lloyd Prance - WI

This is particularly strange as my house was thought to be make of cob, as the walls are two feet thick. This clearly suggests that there are bricks involved.

Anyone worried about Halloween needs this seventeenth century preventative:- The thumb of a hanged man in your left shoe wards off witchcraft.


2 comments on “The Clovelly Storm of 1838, One Place Hanging Out, C17th London and Other Matters

  1. I have been asked to write a song (!) about the formation of the SMFS and the Clovelly storm of 1838, for the 175 anniversary .. could you get in touch with me please – I need all the help I can get !

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