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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History






The story of Captain John Adams and the Saltfleet Tragedy in the October 2006 issue of the Knottingley Digest, prompted me to illustrate the heavy price paid by our local maritime community. When carrying out research in a local area much can be learned by visiting church burial grounds, and the local cemetery.

Wesleyan Chapel Burial Ground, Ropewalk

Epitaphs for both Charles Coward who died on 29th October 1862 aged 67 years, and Richard Swan who died on the 20th February 1879 aged 55 years:

I've sailed my last voyage
My soul is at rest
Death cut my cable
I hope for the best
Christ is my anchor
And heaven my port
Angels my bulwarks
Jehovah my fort.

George William Fish, aged 18 years, was drowned off Peckfield, Suffolk on the 10th February 1871, (the day of the 'Great Storm'), and was interred at Lowestoft.

Joseph Henry Fish, drowned on the 26th November 1883 aged 30 years; he was the son of Joseph and Eliza Fish.

William Watson, drowned at sea on 12th November 1895, aged 21 years, and was interred at Steeple in Dorset. He was the son of William and Isabella Watson.

James Duffil Moody, was accidentally drowned at Blacktoft on the 8th November 1859, in the 21st year of his age. He was the son of John and Sarah Moody.

Joseph Weatherall jnr, was lost at sea near Cape Finisterre on the 22nd April 1872, in his 24th year. He was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Weatherall.

Rhodes Chappell, was lost at sea on the 14th April 1876, aged 50 years; and was interred at Lynn on the 14th May 1876.

Captain David Wright was drowned on the 10th April 1863, aged 35 years.

John Husband Tate was lost at sea on or about the 8th May 1883, aged 27 years.

James Pybus, a Mariner of Knottingley, was lost at sea with all hands in August 1912, aged 49 years.

Ambler Arnold of Primrose Hill, died at sea on 25th May 1887, aged 26 years. He was the son of Joseph and Ann Arnold. [He was serving on the schooner 'Elite', under the command of Captain Hargraves, on a voyage from Brazil to Hull when he died of typhoid fever on the 25th May 1887, and was interred at sea.].

St. Botolph's Church Burial Ground:-

The inscription for John Rhodes who died on the 12th July 1830, aged 42 years is:

Sacred to the Memory of
JOHN RHODES Mariner who
departed this life the 12th day
of July 1830 aged 42 years
Upon the troubled ocean wide
A life of toil I've spent
Now I am harbour'd here below
To all my friends content
My anchors cast my sails are furl'd
And here I am at rest
Of all the harbours in the world
Sailors this is the best.

The inscription for William Flower who died on the 26th September 1843 aged 57 years is:

to the Memory of
who departed this life the
26th day of September 1843
aged 57 years
Tho' boreas blasts and raging waves
Have toss'd me to and fro
In spite of all by God's decree
I'm harbour'd here below
Where I now safe at anchor ride
With some part of the fleet
But once again I must set sail
My Saviour Christ to meet.

The same verse was used for Samuel Martin who died on the 6th September 1793, aged 26 years.

Edwin Lee and Sarah Ann Lee [nee Servant], lost at sea on the 26th September 1851, both aged 23 years. [ the vessel would have been the sloop 'Madeira'.]

John Bayes, who was drowned off Sunderland on the 3rd January 1857, aged 22 years. He was the son of Richard and Caroline Bayes, and Caroline was the Innkeeper at the Duke of York in the Holes for many years.

William Farnill, who was drowned at sea on the 15th December 1815, aged 37 years. He was the son of Paul and Elizabeth Farnill [Farnill is a name which still exists to this day, and was used extensively as a Christian name].

John Brashaw, who was wrecked with the whole of his crew from the vessel 'Symmetry', on the 7 October 1857, on the Island of Ushant, off the coast of France. He was interred at Lampaul on 9th October 1857, and he was the son of John and Hannah Brashaw.
The inscription for George Tomlinson who died on the 26th September 1853 is:

In Memory of
who was drowned at sea near
Blakeney on the 26th Septr 1853
aged 15 years
Also HANNAH wife of the above
who died December 29th 1854
aged 46 years
Happy voyager thou art landed
The victory now thy soul as won
Thy bark will here no more be stranded
But join in heaven thy darling son.

Part of the inscription from a stone that includes William Rhodes who died on the 18th July 1839 is:

WILLIAM RHODES who was drowned
off the Coast of Lincolnshire July 18th
1839, his remains were found near
Huttoft on the 27th and interred in the
Churchyard there aged 27 years
Also JOHN TREE aged 36 years, BENJAMIN
of whom suffered from the Sloop Faith.

Knottingley Cemetery, Womersley Road

The inscription for John Cawthorn, who died on the 31st January 1893 aged 84 years is:

In Loving Memory of
the beloved wife of
who died Decr 4th 1891
Her end was peace
Also of the above named
who died January 31st 1893
aged 84 years
Tho' boreas and neptune waves
Have tossed me to and fro,
Yet by order of Gods decree
I am harboured here below.
Here I lay at anchor safe
With many of our fleet,
Expecting shortly to set sail,
My Admiral Christ to meet.

John Brown, Master Mariner, son of John and Elizabeth Brown who was lost at sea from the vessel 'Quiz' of Lynn, in January 1884 aged 33 years.

Richard Cawthorn, Master Mariner, the son of Joseph and Sarah Cawthorn who was lost at sea on the 28th October 1880, together with his own son Christopher aged 14 years [my note: mother was Sarah Jane].

George Spence, Master Mariner of Knottingley, who was lost at sea on the1st November 1898, aged 61 years.
Edward Colverson, aged 38 years, also Isabella his beloved wife, aged 41 years [my note nee Masterman], also Benjamin Perfect aged 31 years, who were all lost at sea on the 8th December 1872.

Captain James Harvey, foster son of John Naylor, aged 27 years, also Eliza wife of James Harvey, aged 22 years, also Daniel Harvey, uncle of the above, who were all drowned at sea on 14th November 1874, with the foundering of the 'Ebeneezer' of Goole.

George Adams, aged 49 years, who was lost at sea on the 29th August 1857. [this would be from the sloop 'Truth,' lost four miles off Cromer].

John Harrison who originated from Knottingley lost three sons; James, Joseph and William, who perished at sea on the 5th January 1867.

Edward Spence the son of Edward and Ann Spence, who was accidentally drowned in the River Thames on the 20th December 1866, aged 33 years, and was interred at the Tower Hamlets Cemetery.

Tom Eastwood who was washed overboard from the 'S.S. Neptune' and drowned in the English Channel on the 10th March 1891, aged 40 years.

Horace Eastwood, the son of Captain Charles Eastwood, who was lost at sea with the ship 'Loch Vinnachar' in September 1905, aged 15 years.

Edwin Coward, the son of William and Mary Ann Coward, who was lost at sea on the 7th October 1904, aged 39 years.

John William Branford, aged 26 years, who was lost at sea with all hands on the 24th October 1882, on a voyage from Hartlepool to West Mersea in Essex. [my note: vessel was 'Sarah'].

William Hargrave, aged 33 years, the son of John and Elizabeth Hargrave, who was drowned at sea with all hands near North Sunderland on 8th or 9th January 1897, with the loss of the ketch 'Elizabeth'.

George Howram, the son of John and Mary Howram who was lost off the sloop 'Laurel' off Killingholme during a heavy gale on the 28th October 1880, aged 21 years.

Ned Howram who was drowned at Grimsby on the 27th July 1870, aged 9 years.

John Howram son of John and Mary Howram was drowned off the sloop 'Jane' on the16th November 1885, aged 17 years.

Fred Howram the son of John Hanson and Mary Trueman Howram of Grimsby, who was drowned off the sloop 'John & Mary' on the 22nd August 1913, aged 42 years.

William Ramskill, who was drowned off Sunderland on the 3rd January 1857. He was the husband of Dinah Ramskill, who was the sister of Caroline Bayes, and her son John was lost at the same time [see St. Botolphs supra above].

Although there is no memorial stone, Edwin Sarvent, aged 21 years, was lost with the sloop 'Henry' of Goole, near Withernsea on the day of the 'Great Storm,' 10th February 1871 [he was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth]. This incident prompted a Mr. G. Dennison, a witness at the scene, to write about the incident and the following was copied by Evelyn Hawkins, a relative, from a handwritten note that her old aunt had kept, and is reproduced with her kind permission:

A painful story I'll relate
Of a dreadful scene I saw
Upon the beach at Withernsea
Some little time ago
The 'Henry of Goole' struck on the beach
The sea ran mountains high
"What can be done to save the crew?"
Was the universal cry
They launched the lifeboat full of hope
And pulled with all their might
The raging billows all defiled,
It was a fearful sight.

The captain plunged into the deep
Got on a piece of wood,
And safe at last
Was brought ashore
By the hand of god
"Lord save the rest" my heart replied
But that was not his will
He sways the mighty ocean deep
To work his sufferance still
One man drowned aged 21
Another seventeen
The captain lost a lovely boy,
His age about thirteen
"I've lost my son" the captain cried
"My hope in years to come"
"My boy! my boy! my lovely boy"
"My brightest hopes are gone."

He lost his clothes, his money too,
He'd nothing left to pay
His present help, his future too,
All! all! were washed away
A good samaritan stood by said
“Take that man away
Let him have what' ere he wants
And come to me for pay."
God graciously affects us all
Yet bares the broken reed
And when our trust in him is stayed
He find's a friend in need.

Whilst church burial grounds and local cemeteries bear monument to the tragic loss of life suffered by Knottingley mariners, incidents at sea were often recorded in great detail by local newspapers, and we will also feature some of the reports that Ron Gosney has obtained detailing the fate of Knottingley ships and seamen.

Ron Gosney


Also by Ron Gosney:

Christopher Rowbotham & Sons
John Harker Shipyard
Captain George Colverson


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