[From Recollections of an old Manxman, 1906] 


From internal evidence much of the text would appear to date from 1895/1897 though one section would appear to date from 1891; Cubbon dates its publication to 1906 - it would appear that publication was delayed to avoid threat of libel by the Gawne family (of Kentraugh) about whose activities in acquiring land by foreclosing on mortages after encouraging farmers to turn to drink, William Hudson is highly critical


William Hudson bp 25 Feb 1827, Kirk Christ Rushen [IGI].

Parents William Hudgeon and Eleanor Hanson, married 16 September 1826 Kirk Christ Rushen [IGI].

Married Ann Garrett 2 March 1850 Kirk Malew [IGI].

1881 census:

HUDGEN Ann Mill St Head M 55 Fishermans Wife Marown
HUDGEN Emily Mill St Daur - 14 Domestic Servant Castletown
HUDGEN Thomas Mill St Son - 11 Scholar Malew
CLUCAS Joseph Mill St Boarder - 2 --- Castletown
HUSON John Mill St Boarder M 66 Fisherman Braddan
QUILLIAM Elizth. Mill St Boarder U 70 Washerman Castletown


p7 - Presumably Hudson is referring to the new dry basin constructed at Castletown and also criticised by Captain Washington in his 1851 report as "With the exception of Castletown, all the above works were necessary and proper. ... in 1844-5 a sum of 2,7001. upon a dry harbour or basin at Castletown, not recommended by the engineers, Mr. Walker or Sir John Rennie, nor sanctioned by the Treasury or the Admiralty ... Put an immediate stop to any further expenditure on the new harbour at Castletown."

p7 - 'The Folly' - Quayle's Folly, a square tower-like building with a pyramidical roof built from the local limestone stood on the Castletown-Douglas road near where Ronaldsway Airport now stands. It was demolished early in WW2 as it was on the line of a runway. Apparently built by the Quayle family of Bridge House. (see Jenkinson's guide of 1874)

p22 - Mr Ferrier - Rev E Ferrier ran the Castletown Voluntary Poor Relief Society so presumeably Hudson was annoyed at not getting any parish support.

p25 Brines - Sarah Brine ran the Crown Arms on the Quay, at the corner of Quay Lane, where that little street joins it, and on the left-hand side as you look up the Lane with your back to the harbour. Ceased to be a pub pre WW1.

p4x - under the Castle - the narrow road that now takes traffic into Castletown along the side of the Castle was not built into late 19th century though the 'New Quay' under the Castle walls was built c.1815 - possibly he means the narrow stretch as one passes the Castle Arms



Hudson would appear to have seen many and been involved in several more - the following are those mentioned with additional details taken from Aidrian Corkill 'Dictionary of Shipwrecks off the Isle of Man' issued on CD-ROM 2001 (ISBN 0-9540115-0-3) an excellent and obviously well researched database but without any reference as to where the information came from (thus removing much of its strength as a work of reference) - in some cases I can add further information.

p7 John Fairfield - Wooden Brig (247 tons) enroute on its maiden voyage from Liverpool to Havanna with a valuable cargo (estimated between £30,000 to £50,000) of calicoes, clothes, linen, blankets, fouling pieces, lamps and earthernware. Left Liverpool on Monday 3rd November1834 and because of poor weather took shelter in Ramsey bay until the wind turned upon which she headed south, the wind turned again and she was again heading north when caught in a gale on Friday 7th November 1834. On seeing the Calf lights Captain Winby again decided to seek shelter in Ramsey bay. However he mistook some lights for Douglas Harbour and imagining he was leeward of Langness hove to, but almost immediately struck rocks in a gulley on the Pool-Vaish side of Scarlett head. The Primitive Methodist report written in 1835 actually mentions wreckers, as does the Castletown Chapel Vestry Book so the lights may have been deliberately set.

Luckily the crew and passengers managed to get off but wreckage was strewn over a 2 mile stretch of coast. The Vestry book records:

The people were so daring that it was absolutely necessary to call out the Constables and Military, and provide them with arms and ammunition to protect the wreck, the consequence of which was, that on the 14th of November, about fourteen days after the vessel was stranded, John McHutchin, Junr., son of the Clerk of the Rolls, who had gone to see the wreck and was in one of the boats employed in saving the same, was accidently shot by a soldier named Thomas Rigby, to the great grief of his parents and all persons who heard of the catastrophe.

A very full description is given by Peter Davy [P. Davy "A nineteenth century export ceramic assemblage from Poyll Vaaish" pp281/302 in Recent Archaelogical Research on the Isle of Man BAR #278 1999 (ISBN 0-86054-946-1) which includes extensive quotes from the press both concerning the wreck, its plunder and the trial of Thomas Rigby, as well as discussion on the cargo.

p7 Racehorse - wooden Royal Naval Brig (18 guns, 385 tons) - She was on her way from Millford Haven to Douglas, for the purpose of convoying His Majesty's cutter Vigilant, which had been considerably damaged upon " Connister," in Douglas Bay, on the 6th October preceding. She made the Calf of Man Lights at 5 P.M. on the 14th December 1822. Some time afterwards another light was distinguished, which the pilot believed to be that on Douglas pier head. It turned out, however to be the Castletown pier-head light. The brig had at this time got into the entrance of Castletown Bay, and before Captain Suckling could get out of the difficulty he was in, the vessel struck upon a rock at the south point of Langness. [see Manx Soc vol 21 p134] and Journal IoMFHSoc vol 6 no 4 p126/7 for names and MI's

p7 Wilhelmina - wooden schooner (135 tons) built Glasgow 1842 enroute Glasgow to Leghorn (Livorno, Italy) with 8 crew and 3 passengers, struck rocks near Fleshwick bay early morning 27 January 1845. Her crew took to the riggings but as she was again dashed on the rocks the masts gave way and they were thrown into the water. By this time spectators on the ground could see what was happening but could do nothing to help as she broke up very quickly. Her cargo of calico prints, earthernware and poultry was washed up along the beach. Six bodies were later recovered and buried at Kirk Rushen though later that of one of the passengers was removed to Scotland. His family at the time, made accusations of plundering and murder of the crew.

p19 Two Vessels - probably April 1st 1853 during a severe easterly gale , William and Henry and the Provider. William and Henry was a schooner bound Preston to Ardrossan, wrecked on Fort Island with loss of 1 crew. The Provider was also a schooner bound from Liverpool to Glasgow with a cargo of salt - the master and 3 crew were lost (1 being saved), wrecked on outside of Langness.

p19 James Crossfield - iron clipper (979tons) bound Liverpool to Calcutta carrying a highly insured cargo (£125,000) including much specie. Ran aground at Dreswick on 5/6th January 1867 with total loss of vessel. The 30 crew and two passengers plus the captain's son all perished.

p22 Village Girl - wooden smack (16 ton, 40 ft) with Hudson as master ran aground on rocks at back of Langness on 20th March 1857. Was laden with coal - causes were fog and low water. Built 1843 and owned by Thomas Fargher.

p22 Countess of Derby - wooden smak (18 ton 39ft 6in) under owner and master George Sansbury struck rocks off Santon Head on 20th March 1857. All crew saved




Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001