The Great Storm of 1859

RCAHMW aerial photograph of Cwm-yr-Eglwys. The remains of the church of St Brynach comprise the standing west wall  and stone from the church which has been incorporated into the seawall that defends it. Of note is an incised stone believed...
This ballad was written by John Evans, 'Bardd Tysilio Môn' or 'Bardd Cocos' (1827-1895), and refers to the tale of the 'Royal Charter' ship which was wrecked off the coast of Anglesey, near Moelfre, on 25 October 1859. The 'Royal Charter' was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a devastating hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool,...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
In October 1859, the British Isles were struck by a fierce hurricane. Within two days, no fewer than 133 ships were sunk and about 800 lives were lost. The 'Royal Charter', a 2,700 tonne steam clipper that sailed between Australia and Liverpool, was...
Beach scene, boats, church, houses.
A picture of the original Llandudno Pier, with Llandudno North Shore and the Little Orme visible in the background.  This pier was built in 1858 and severely damaged after extreme weather in 1859.  The pier was then repaired and used for...
  The Royal Charter Memorial, situated in the churchyard of St Allgo's church, Moelfre, is an obelisk memorial erected in memory of those who perished in the wreck of the Royal Charter off Moelfre on 26th October 1859. For more on...
Gibbs, Bright & Co was established in Bristol in 1818, when George Gibbs and his son (also called George) began an association with Robert Bright. The Gibbs family made its first fortune in the late 1700s as Bristol wool merchants - trading...
The Royal Charter wrecked on the coast of Anglesey in October 1859 had to be salvaged and its cargo reclaimed from the sea. The people of Moelfre and other villages in the surrounding areas had rushed down to help recover bodies from the wreck, bringing...
The image shows two of the main streets of the city of Melbourne, Collins Street and Bourke Street, which contained several of the city’s hotels as well as government and official buildings such as the post office, police station, town hall and...
This image shows the cover of the magnificently-bound volume of proformas recording vessels registered at the Port of Cardigan between 21 January 1850 and 30 April 1855.  Each page contains detailed information about individual vessels: 1)...
The Reverend Stephen Roose Hughes was the Rector of Llanallgo church on Anglesey. Following the wreck of the Royal Charter nearby in October 1859 he rushed down from his church to assist in the rescuing of its passengers by the villagers of Moelfre...
The map shows the city of Melbourne, the Capital of the State of Victoria in Australia, in about 1855. The ROYAL CHARTER could make the trip from Liverpool to Melbourne is under 60 days, whereas other slower ships could take 90-130. It had been sailing...
Burial registers showing the burial of bodies in the weeks following the wreck of the Royal Charter in the parish of Penrhosslligwy by the Reverend Hugh Robert Hughes.  Over 400 people perished on the Royal Charter when it sank off Anglesey on...
At the time of the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859, the Board of Trade had the responsibility for ensuring that statistics were gathered each year about shipping casualties. The statistics for 1859 were made available on 11 February 1860, when...
During the 19th century, shipbuilding was carried out at several locations on the River Dee – Mostyn, Baglit, Flint, Connah’s Quay, Queensferry, Sandycroft, Saltney and Chester. The ill-fated steamship ROYAL CHARTER is associated with...
The documentation associated with the bankruptcy of George Cram, proprietor of the Sandycroft Ironworks, provides an invaluable insight into the facilities, machinery and tools that iron ship builders used in the middle of the 19th century. George...
For its first voyage to Australian, the ROYAL CHARTER became a large practical experiment for one of its passengers, Rev William Scoresby.  Scoresby was an Arctic explorer, a natural scientist and a clergyman. He was an active member of the...
The picture shows the wreck of the Royal Charter which was washed ashore near Moelfre, Anglesey in October 1859. The ship had been sailing for Liverpool from Melbourne, Australia, with a cargo of gold and over 400 passengers on-board when she was caught...
Many of the UK’s great natural history institutions can be traced back to the Victorian passion for exploration, collecting and cataloguing.  One such Victorian gentleman was onboard the ROYAL CHARTER on its first voyage to Australia - the...
Some readers may find this item distressing, but it is included in the Great Storm of 1858 collection as an example of the newspaper reporting of the wreck of the ROYAL CHARTER. Identifying the bodies of the victims of the Royal Charter wreck was...
This image shows a page from journal of Rev Scoresby who undertook a voyage to Australia on the ROYAL CHARTER. It recalls an incident when part of the running rigging failed and the topsail yard dropped onto the deck.  All the able crewmembers...
The ABEONA was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859 It was a wooden smack built by George Bowen at St Dogmaels in 1852.  Its port of Cardigan shipping register entry (shown in the image above) provides...
The BEE was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter gale, 25-26 October 1859. Its Port of Aberystwyth Shipping Register entry shown in this image provides a technical description: 33.57 tons burthen. 1 deck, 2 masts, length 50ft,...
The BETSEY AND MARTHA was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was a wooden sloop built at Liverpool in 1817 and its port of Caernarvon Shipping Register entry (shown in the image above) provides...
The BEATRICE CATHERINE was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was wooden smack built at Bangor in 1845. The vessel’s registry documentation at Pwllheli provides us with a set of technical...
The CHARLES HOLMES was a full-rigged ship built at Rockland, Maine, in 1851. It became one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale. If you pass the magnifying tool over this image of the CHARLES HOLMES’s register entry from the...
The most famous of the survivors of the ROYAL CHARTER shipwreck was the Guzeppi Ruggier, anglicised to Joseph or Joe, Rogers or Rodgers. He was a Maltese sailor who had sailed on the Royal Charter for several of its previous voyages. His work title...
The schooner JOHN SAINT BARBE was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was built at Rye, East Sussex, in 1827. Its port of Cardigan registration entry (shown in the image above) provides us with a technical...
The smack MORNING STAR was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was built at Aberystwyth in 1826. Its port of Aberystwyth registration entry provides us with a technical description: 38 378/3500 tons...
The SWANSEA TRADER was a wooden smack built at Bideford in 1828. It became one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter gale, 25-26 October 1859. The term ‘Smack’ is a 19th century word used to describe a form of traditional...
The schooner WAVE was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was built in 1856 at Pownal Bay, Prince Edward Island, for the merchant James Reddin of Charlottetown. Its port of Aberystwyth Shipping Register...
The smack CLAUDIA was built at Leri Bridge, Ynyslas, in 1850, and was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. Its port of Aberystwyth Shipping Register entry (shown in the image above) provides us with a technical...
The schooner KENDAL CASTLE was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was built ay Frodsham by William Hughes & Co in 1839. It was registered at Lancaster during the early part of its service life and...
The sloop MARGARET was built at Ceibach near Newquay in 1841 and was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. Its port of Cardigan registration entry provides a technical description: Official number 24103....
The smack MARGARET LLOYD was built at Aberystwyth in 1854 by Thomas Watkins and became one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. Its port of Aberystwyth registration entry provides a technical description: ...
The sloop PRISCILLA was built by Hugh Evans at Leri Bridge, Ynyslas, in 1845, and is one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. Its port of Aberystwyth registration entry provides a technical description: ...
The sloop VICTORIA built at Aberystwyth in 1845 and was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. Its port of Aberystwyth registration entry provides us with a technical description: Official Number 10661....
The schooner ELIZA AND JANE was built at Traethbychan, Merioneth, in 1839, and is one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. Its port of Caernarvon Shipping Register entry provides a technical description: ...
Nineteenth-century passenger ships were like microcosms of Victorian society – complete with class systems. The First Class passengers paid the most money for their fares, received the biggest cabins, and were waited on by the ROYAL CHARTER’s...
The AGNES was a wooden brig built at Neath in 1818 and one of the ships lost during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. The vessel’s registry documentation from the Port of Beaumaris provides us with a technical description: 116...
The schooner LAUREL was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was built at Prince Edward Island in 1849. For the early part of its service life, it was registered at Bridport. However, its port of Beaumaris...
The brig MARIA may have been one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. A brief reference to a large ship going ashore in Red Whard during the gale in a contemporary newspaper and in a well- respected by book...
The sloop ORION was one of the shipping losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. It was a wooden sloop (or smack - sources differ) completed at Nefyn in April 1849. The sloop’s port of Caernarvon Shipping Register entry (shown...
A schooner called the TWIN SISTER or TWIN SISTERS was lost near Aberystwyth during Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. According to the Board of Trade report into shipping losses for the year, the vessel was registered at Liverpool. But could they...
West wall of St Brynach's church, Cwm-yr-Eglwys. The rest of the church was washed away by the tremendous seas generated by the Great Storm of 25-26 October 1859. The earliest surviving document for the parish and possibly the church is the...
At the side of the Castle Theatre, at Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, there is an earthen bank which displays some of the gravestones that have been moved to the side of the former churchyard of St. Michaels. The graveyard is now a recreation space for the...
This image shows the small bay of Aberbach, Pembrokeshire, where materials salvaged by divers from the wreck of the CHARLES HOLMES were auctioned on the beach in October 1860. The CHARLES HOLMES was a full-rigged ship and had left...
Amongst the graves in the churchyard at Granston church, is a memorial to Captain Charles Halket Nathaniel Bowlby and the crew of the CHARLES HOLMES, which was wrecked off on the coast nearby. The CHARLES HOLMES was one of the casualties of the...
The harbour at Aberystwyth, on the west coast of Wales in the county of Ceredigion, has a complex history. The sandbar that extended from the estuary was such that it was necessary to wait for winter storms and floods to wash away part of the bar....
During the Royal Charter Gale of 25 October 1859, several ships were lost off the coast of Aberystwyth, including the MARGARET LLOYD, MORNING STAR and SWANSEA TRADER. Following the gale, an inquiry was set up into the mounted neglect of the harbour...
This photograph was taken by the company Maull and Polybank in the early 1860s. At this time, Robert FitzRoy was developing the meteorological department of the Board of Trade and had been tasked with implementing a storm warning service to help save...
This image shows a copy of the weather map drawn by Thomas Henry Babbington under the direction of Robert FitzRoy from the archives of Met Office at Exeter.  It is now a very precious document and, after many years of being folded, too fragile...
Copy of the Granston church burial registry recording the burial of two unknown bodies recovered from the wreck of the Charles Holmes at Aberbach on October 25th 1859. Burials in the Parish of Granston in the county of Pembroke in the...
Copy of the Granston church burial registry recording the burial of eight unknown bodies recovered from the wreck of the CHARLES HOLMES at Aberbach in 1859. Burials in the Parish of Granston in the county of Pembroke in the...
Copy of the Llanwnda church burial registry recording the burial of two unknown bodies recovered 'Llanverran land' (Llanferran) and believed to be from the CHARLES HOLMES wrecked at Aberbach in 1859. Burials in the Parish...
Part of one of the name boards from the Gibbs Bright steamer, ROYAL CHARTER, has been recovered and gifted to the Llyn Maritime Museum, Nefyn. Photograph courtesy Jamie Davies, Trustee, Llyn Maritime Museum http://www.llyn-maritime-museum.co.uk ...
A few lines printed in the Illustrated Usk Observer and Raglan Herald on 10 December 1859 provide a clue to the mystery of why the terrible news of the loss of the ROYAL CHARTER did not reach Liverpool via the Liverpool-Holyhead Telegraph. Rather,...
This image from the Illustrated London News shows the then largest ship in the world - Brunel’s GREAT EASTERN – shortly before the Great Storm of 25-26 October 1859.  Hurricane force winds and monstrous waves destroyed the section...
The EAGLE was one of the vessels lost during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. Most poignantly, the consequences of the loss were recorded in the master’s own words in a letter her wrote to the editor of the Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald...
The HECTORINE was reported to have been wrecked near Conway during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. However, documentary evidence suggests that the schooner continued in service after going ashore  – but at a high cost to...
The MARY ANNE of Cardigan was driven ashore with several other vessels at Newquay during the Royal Charter Gale of 25-26 October 1859. The devastation caused by the storm was reported in the newspaper Baner Amerau Cymru '.. Below Fron-Wig,...
The MATHILDIS was one of the vessels lost during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. The vessel was built and completed at New Quay in June 1842. Its technical and configuration specifications are given in the ship port of Cardigan Shipping...
The ORIENTAL was one of the ships wrecked during the Royal Charter gale, 25-26 October 1859. Luckily, the crew was saved by the Rhyl Lifeboat. The ORIENTAL was a schooner, built by Andrew Stevens at Pugwash, Nova Scotia, in 1852....
The story of the SYPLH is one of long service, despite being reported wrecked in the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. The vessel was described as a brigantine. It was completed at Newquay by Owen Owens on 21 April 1855. Technical and configuration...
The story of the ROBERT is that of long service, despite being reported wrecked in the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. The vessels was described as a sloop and built at Frodsham in 1831 by Hayes and Mirman. Technical and configuration specifications...
The above image from the collections of the Mersey Docks and Harbours Board, National Musuems and Galleries on Merseyside, shows a typical Mersey Flat of the early part of the 20th century. Although later in date, the above vessel would have been very...
The BRITANNIA was a wooden sloop built at Cardigan in 1797. It was one of the losses during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. The BRITANNIA's technical and configuration specification is given in the vessel's port of Aberystwyth...
The Reverend Charles Vere Hodge was a passenger onboard the ROYAL CHARTER on her last fateful voyage. The ship was wrecked near Moelfre during a hurricane on 25-26 October 1859. The Rev Hodge's journal was washed ashore and extracts were...
During the Royal Charter gale of 25-26 October 1859, the unique Rhyl lifeboat shown in the image above took part in rescue of the crew of the schooner ORIENTAL of Lancaster. The schooner was driven ashore by Foryd Telegraph Station and the lifeboat...
This .pdf contains longitude and latitude positions extracted from the voyage journal of Rev William Scoresby, which was written on the ROYAL CHARTER's first voyage to Australia and back. it also contains instructions on how to recreate that route in...
In the aftermath of the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859, the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian printed a report that the 'little smack called the Merlin, which was employed in carrying lime stones from Barry to Cardiff was lost, and the captain and...
The Reverend Charles Vere Hodge was a passenger onboard the ROYCAL CHARTER on her last fateful voyage. This engraving, a little browned with age, hangs on the wall of vestry at St Saviour's Church, Retford. The Rev Hodge’s journal was washed...
ELIZA BEYNON was reported to have been wrecked at the Mumbles during the Royal Charter Gale, 25-26 October 1859. However, documentary evidence suggests that the sloop was a survivor, continuing in service for many subsequent years. The ELIZA BEYNON...
The images shown are the pages 'Indenture’ or legal document which sets out the rights of his creditors to take possession signed by Septimus Ledward, Roberts Roberts, John Williams and George Cram in the presence of two solicitor’s clerks, John Smith...
The documentation associated with the bankruptcy of George Cram, proprietor of the Sandycroft Ironworks, provides an invaluable insight into the facilities, machinery and tools that iron ship builders used in the middle of the 19th century. George...
The documentation associated with the bankruptcy of George Cram, proprietor of the Sandycroft Ironworks, provides an invaluable insight into the facilities, machinery and tools that iron ship builders used in the middle of the 19th century. George...
The documentation associated with the bankruptcy of George Cram, proprietor of the Sandycroft Ironworks, provides an invaluable insight into the facilities, machinery and tools that iron ship builders used in the middle of the 19th century. George Cram...
The documentation associated with the bankruptcy of George Cram, proprietor of the Sandycroft Ironworks, provides an invaluable insight into the facilities, machinery and tools that iron ship builders used in the middle of the 19th century. George...
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