Shipwrecked, with Diane Gaston!
I’d come across accounts of shipwrecks in my Annual Registers . The Annual Registers, a bit like almanacs, covered everything noteworthy from the preceding year, such as the issues before Parliament, general history, literature, and announcements of marriages, births, and deaths. Included is a section called Chronicles, which lists news events of the previous year. These accounts can range from events that have made their place in history, like the Peterloo Massacre, to events that seem trivial in comparison:
“Thirty fine ewes in lamb, the property of Mr. Minchin, Bramdean, were killed in a meadow at Alresford, by a dog. Only two or three of them were bitten, but the timid animals were driven into a ditch, and kept so close together that they were smothered.” (August, 1814)
I own Annual Registers for the years 1810 to 1820, the decade of the English Regency. Even though they are in horrible shape, they are among my greatest treasures!
Here are some samples of accounts of shipwrecks from my Annual Registers:
“The brig Leaner, Fish, 236 tons per register, of and for Shields, from London, in ballast, being driven northward by the late furious gales, found himself embayed in the dreadful storm from S.E. in the night between the 4th and 5th inst. And soon after struck, about 1 a.m., an outer rock on that dreadful part of the coast at Longside, near Slains-Castle. The vessel being thereby thrown on her beam ends fell with her gunwale under a shelving rock on the main land, on which at this awful moment, two of the crew jumped, and had with difficulty only just secured themselves, when looking round they found their unfortunate vessel, with all left on board, eight men and a young woman, passengers, had totally disappeared.” (March, 17, 1818)
“Fraserburgh. A shocking spectacle presented itself this morning on the north side of Kinaird’s-head light-house, where during the night the brig Adonis, of Liverpool, had been driven on the rocks and dashed to pieces, and all on board perished; the wreck of both vessel and cargo strewed along the shore, exhibiting an awful catastrophe, the cargo consisting of hemp and tallow. Several dead bodies were repeatedly seen this forenoon, dashing against the face of the rocks by the violence of the waves, one of whom had the appearance of having been a passenger, as he had on a long black cloak. Several articles of children’s clothes have been also washed on shore.” (Oct 25, 1819)
Of course, I can’t find the accounts I’d read before, the ones saying all the women and children perished...but I did just read of murders and robberies, fires and riots...and a baboon escaping...and a balloon ascension.
Thank you for having me as your guest at History Hoydens!
Do you have any questions about shipwrecks or Annual Registers? Or anything?
One lucky commenter picked at random from my two days of being a History Hoyden guest will receive a signed copy of The Vanishing Viscountess, the book that earned Mary Blayney’s high praise.
* Ship Image - a painting by Robert Salmon, 1821, courtesy of Athenaeum