The Jane Cathrine – 1872





A terrific gale has been raging here ever since Friday night, the wind blowing a hurricane from the south west, with blinding showers of rain, and it has been attended with the total destruction of a schooner and all onboard.  The sea in the West bay was unusually rough, the waves dashing with the wildest fury on the Chesil Beach. About half past 2 o’clock this afternoon a small schooner, of about 120 tons burden, was seen three miles from the beach with part of her mainsail and topsail clewed.  She appeared to be coming up Channel, but it was deemed a matter of certainty by the men on shore that she would not be able to get out to sea gain, as the wind was dead against her.  She rapidly drove towards the dreaded Chesil Bank, although two or three times the crew endeavoured to turn her head to sea, but without avail.  After this she was steered for the shore, and within an hour afterwards struck, the sea carrying her to within 60 yards of the beach, where the Wyke Coastguard, under the direction of Mr MERRIFIELD, the Chief Officer, with the rocket apparatus, and a large number of fishermen were assembled to render assistance, but the was was running so high that this was impossible.  Shortly afterwards the schooner drove with great force on the shore, and was carried so high on the beach that she was within a stone’s throw of those persons who were there assembled.  One of the men who was in the bow jumped and tried to reach the land, but unfortunately he was unable, an immense wave overtaking and engulfing him, and he was not seen again.  Two of the crew held to the rigging, but every wave broke over them and completely hid the vessel from view.  Six or seven seas passed over her, after which her masts gave way with a fearful crash, carrying with them the poor fellows who were clinging to the rigging for safety, while the next sea smashed the hull of the vessel into small fragments.  Only about five minutes elapsed from the time the schooner struck until she was completely made into matchwood, so that there was not time to use the rocket apparatus.  It was a piteous sight, indeed, to see the crew of the ship appealing for help to the persons on shore, who, although within speaking distance, were utterly unable to render the slightest aid.  Shortly after the vessel had broken up a paper was washed on shore, and by this means fortunately her name was ascertained.  She proved to be the JANE CATHERINE, WILLIAM JONES, Master, of Port Madoc, but from what port she had sailed or whither she was bound cannot be made out.  In order to show the violence of the waves on the Chesil Beach it may be stated that two or three minutes after the vessel went to pieces the body of one of the crew was seen divested of all clothing.  The place where the schooner struck was off Shanklin Point.




The weather on this part of the coast still continues to be exceedingly boisterous, the wind blowing almost due south.  About 2 o’clock this afternoon a large ship or bark had a very narrow escape from coming on the Chesil Beach.  Throughout the day rain had been falling fast, while at sea there has been a very dense fog.  At the time stated a very fine craft was seen by the Coastguard on the look out to come within 1000 yards of the beach, the fog doubtless having prevented the crew from seeing the shore.  Fortunately, however, they discovered the dangerous position there were in and succeeded in bringing the ship about and making for the Westward.  Her situation was considered so dangerous that the Coastguard under Captain DRUMMOND, were on the beach with the rocket apparatus in case the vessel came onshore.  One of the bodies belonging to the schooner JANE CATHERINE, which was wrecked on the beach on Saturday, has been cast ashore.

70 ton Welsh Schooner – Captain R. Hughes. Cargo, salt. (LARN) – Smashed into the Chesil Bank between Wyke Regis and Fleet. All the crew were drowned. May be local information at her destination at Port Madoc. Good report in the DCC: 28/11/1872. Other ref. Lloyd’s Register: 1869 No. 152(J).

Day of Loss: 23

Month of Loss: 11

Year of Loss: 1872



Approximate Depth: