THE GREAT STORMS OF 1795-6
A CUMBRIAN VIEW, continued
Continuing the presentation of items from the "Cumberland Pacquet" newspaper, illustrating the effects of the tempestuous weather on communities and shipping in Cumbria, at the beginning of 1796. Most items are quoted verbatim, with spelling unmodernised [editorial comments bold, in square brackets]; note that it was customary, when referring to ships, to insert the master or captain's surname immediately after the ship's name.
The wall between Mr Rumney's house and the sea was demolished by a large piece of timber, which (tossed by the waves) acted against it like a battering-ram. It is a matter of astonishment, as it ought to be of gratitude, that great mischief was not done in the market-place by a similar agency; for (as we observed in our last) several large pieces of timber were left there on the ebbing of the tide.- The water was at one time three feet deep upon the Custom-House Quay, and broke into the King's Cellars; in which, we understand, there was, amongst other things, a large quantity of tobacco.
This way to map and index of places outside Whitehaven
CP 2 Feb 1796: The pier, commonly known by the name of the New Quay, (which is the outer work on the north-west side of the harbour) is demolished from the Fort to that place which forms an angle, pointing towards the North Wall, or outer pier on the north-east side of the harbour. The part destroyed is about seventy yards in length.
The adjoining fort is very much shaken, and the remaining part of this pier (above-mentioned) left in imminent danger. The Old Quay, a fabric, as we understand, much inferior to the other, is by this accident greatly exposed, and its standing rendered extremely hazardous.
The mole, which extended from the Half-Moon Battery a considerable way into the sea, is totally destroyed. While it stood, the New Quay received little damage; but immediately on its giving way, (as was observed by numbers of spectators) the sea began to make the impression upon the latter. From the great injury done to the foundation of the Old Fort, it may be concluded, that it could not have resisted the storm much longer. Its fall would have greatly exposed the shipping.- The New Tongue is very much shaken, from one end to the other; chiefly on the side next the Bulwark; and the railing torn off in several places, on both sides.- The pavement of the greater part of Marlborough-street is loosened, and the ground washed away from the ends of the houses on the east side, and along by the end of New Lowther-street.
The part of the Bulwark, yet undemolished, is of little service.- The ground, which formed a kind of breast-work between this bulwark and the North-Wall, is washed away, in some places to the depth of six or eight yards. The flagged part of the North-Wall, though most exposed, has stood this furious shock of the elements with small marks of injury: but the pavement in the other part is torn up in many places. The water flowed under the ships upon the stocks; over the plat-form, where it moved some of the forty-two pounders, and into Mr Brocklebank's rope-walk.
The principal damage was done on Monday (the 25th) when the tide was higher than it had been on the preceding Saturday. The tide of Monday night was moderate; but, on Tuesday, it again covered the market-place.
There was a great deal of lightening in this neighbourhood, particularly on Tuesday, and heavy showers of hail in several parts of the country.- Some hailstones were taken up in Workington, which measured each an inch and a half in circumference. [more]
The accounts from other places, upon this coast, are truly distressing, and withal so numerous, that we can only present our readers with a sketch of what has been communicated to us.
At Parton, the quay, which had suffered considerably some weeks ago, is entirely destroyed: two houses washed down, and some others much injured. Several articles of furniture swept out of them, and lost: many chimnies blown down, and houses unroof'd.- The fair face of nature is here fully disfigured.- The gardens, adjoining the beach, (of which there were some very handsome, and cultivated with great care) are entirely desolated, and laid waste. A gentleman, of this town, who had occasion to go there on the Monday morning, was admiring the appearance of these, and the early promise of spring, displayed in them: but this destructive tide was approaching; and in less than two hours, he beheld "The well-known spot where late the garden smil'd," first deluged with the foaming surge, and then covered with stones, sea-weed, and wreck.- A transition more quick has seldom been known: a sight more deformed can scarcely be imagined.
At Harrington, the quays were destroyed, and the channel blocked up; but the rubbish has since been chiefly removed.
Harrington.-Further accounts state that the lower end of the south-quay is entirely washed away, and some damage done to the north-quay.- The Mary, Milliken; Endeavour, Atkinson; and New Ellen, Fisher, have suffered considerably.- A house, at the Salt-pans, was washed down, and the furniture lost in the sea.- John Anderson, the tenant, (a poor, labouring man, with a large family) has sustained great loss. [more]
At Workington, there is much mischief done, and some damage amongst the shipping in the river.- During the storm on Monday, two boys who were launching a boat from near Mr Falcon's building-ground were dragged into the water. From the force of the torrent, their attempt to return might have proved fatal. One of them, with great presence of mind, as well as great intrepidity, encouraged the other to proceed, as the tide set to the opposite side of the river. They accordingly swam, or rather were swept by the flood, across the Clofficks, and were thrown ashore near the road leading to Maryport, without receiving any material injury.
The Hope, Piggs, belonging to Workington, which had sailed from thence about a fortnight before, (coal-laden) was forced from her anchors in Ramsey-Bay, and returning on Monday, in the midst of the hurricane, was got safe into port; an event which, it is judged, could not have happened to a light vessel.- This was one of the ships left in Ramsey Bay (Isle of Mann) by the Ellis, as mentioned in our last.
Workington.- Further particulars relative to the storm.- Several inhabitants, at the lower end of the town, were obliged to remove their furniture out of the houses, or into the upper-stories. Many articles were totally lost. One William Jackson, a cartman, distinguished himself by his intrepid perseverance in rescuing mady women and children from imminent destruction: and particularly in taking out of her house Bridget Hayton and family, at the great hazard of his horse and cart, and even his life. Boats were plying for a considerable time in the streets, for the same humane purpose; and, we are happy to add, their efforts to preserve life were everywhere successful. the tide flowed as high as Seaton Iron-Works. several walls were washed down. Some damage was done to Chapel-Bank Colliery; the water got into the fire-house, as far as the boilers, and undermined a wall, by the falling of which one man was unfortunately killed. He has left a widow and eight children. Mr CURWEN, to secure the works from such further damage as might be apprehended, mustered all his people, and went with them into the place of danger, where he remained for several hours, not only superintending their operations, but assisting in the labour. By the most vigorous exertions, persevered in for several hours, such a temporary repair is given to that valuable colliery as, it is hoped, will secure it till an effectual barrier can be raised against future invasions of this kind.
The road from Workington to Maryport was impassable for several hours. The view of the shipping in the harbour, so tossed as they were in this tremendous hurricane, was truly distressing.- It is supposed that the rabbits, in the warren between these two places, are nearly all destroyed, from its being so long covered with water. [more]
At Maryport, the damage in the harbour is still greater; considerable loss in Mr Wood's building-yard; and in a tanyard near the place.- In the last, it is said, one man lost his life.
Still following the coast further to the northward, the havoc is dreadful. Much damage among the houses near the sea, at Allonby, as well as from the high winds.- The depredations, throughout all the neighbourhood, are deplorably great.- The hotel at Skinburness, to which many genteel families have of late been accustomed to resort in the summer, (for the benefit of sea-bathing) is totally in ruins. [sequel]
At Carlisle, on the Saturday night, we learn, that some damage was done; but the most tremendous part of the storm was from nine in the morning of Monday, till about one. It is impossible to give a detail of the damage done by it; scarce a house throughout the neighbourhood, for many miles, escaped without some mark of its fury. Some dwellings were blown down; some, near the rivers or the sea, were swept away; others unroofed. Some stacks of corn were removed entire, to a considerable distance from where they had been first place, and without loss or much injury: but, alas! others were scattered abroad by the wind, and some swallowed up by the devouring flood!
At Appleby, on the Saturday, there was a most dreadful storm of wind, rain and hail; but little damage done, except slates, &c. being thrown down by the violence of the wind. A thatched house in Bondgate, inhabited by a widow and two or three children, was blown down in the evening, but before they retired to rest; so that they had time to make their escape. Most of the poor widow's furniture was buried in the rubbish, but afterwards dug out.
On Wednesday there was a tremendous storm of thunder and lightening upon Stainmore: it began in the morning and continued at intervals during the whole day. The passengers in two of the coaches felt its effects very sensibly. The force of one of the shocks was so great as to affect with a swelling the leg of a passenger in the south-mail, and the coachman received it with such violence on one of his elbows as deprived him of the use of his arm for a short time.
On Thursday, the tops of the mountains, to the North-East of Appleby, were covered with snow: a circumstance which has not occurred for some weeks past, and which is generally considered as the prognostic of frost. This thunder-storm was not felt at Appleby till the evening, when it was less violent than upon Stainmore.
The accounts from the southern parts of this coast are not less melancholy.- At Ravenglass, one house is said to be demolished, and two others greatly injured.- All the courts, gardens, &c. next the sea laid open, and filled with sand and wreck; the windows of the houses (even of the second stories of many) demolished, and the water in one part has forced a passage across the street.- The inland reports are of the same melancholy nature; the rivers, in many places, have occasioned much damage, and the wind in all.
A vessel belonging to Maryport, in ballast from Dublin, was put on shore on the 25th ult. near Ravenglass. [sequel]
In Millom, several fences have been thrown down, particularly about Salthouse, Rottenton, Burrow Craits, Patern-Field, &c. but the loss is not great. In many places, they were obliged to turn the cattle out of the cow-houses, &c.- In one part of this lordship, two channels, at a considerable distance from each other, up which the tide flows, were united for the first time; at least there is no tradition of their ever having joined before; and the water increased so that it covered more than forty acres of ground. An old ingabitant of one of these houses relates, that her father, who died several years since at the age of ninety, frequently said, that "the water would never hurt them; for that only once, when he was a boy, (in such a flood as had never been known before) the tide came to the threshold of the door:"- but in this memorable storm, the tide was four feet deep within the house.
Some damage was done to a wear at Kirby, in the neighbourhood of Broughton in Furness.- At Broughton and Ulverston, the rise of the water was not attended with any extraordinary effects: but some small damage was sustained in many parts of the neighbourhood, from the high wind and heavy rain.
A large ash-tree at White Keld, near Embleton, well-known by the name of Crow-Nest, was blown down, and falling upon the barn, demolished one side of the roof, and also a chimney of the dwelling-house.
At Millthrop, Westmorland, the tide rose to the greatest height ever remembered: but no material damage was done.
[Brief reports from Liverpool and Lancaster, longer accounts from Tyneside, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Isle of Man, Dublin. The next passage may refer to events at Dublin or Workington:]
On Thursday night, about eleven o'clock, the boys belonging to the Pallas, Wilson, of Workington, were crossing the river in a boat, to the north side, where the vessel was lying: the Devonshire, Cannon, lying at the south side, was moored across the river at the north side. The tide was out, and the current very strong. One of the boys, John Dunophon, at the bow of the boat, attempted to throw the penter over the Devonshire's cable, but failing in the attempt, and endeavouring to lay hold of it with his hands, (which he unfortunately effected) the current dragged him out of the boat. He called to his fellow-servants, but they could render him no assistance, and he perished. The body was found the next day.
The vessel wrecked near Harrington (as mentioned in our last) was the Neutrality, Capt. Elisha Turner, belonging to New York, in ballast.-The hull and materials are to be sold.- see the advertisement [auction sale to be held on the beach, Feb 5]
[Report of the wreck of Workington ship the Neptune, north of Cork]
[Also mentions severe storm damage at Plymouth, Falmouth, Yarmouth etc.]
CONTINUE THROUGH FEBRUARY 1796