copyright ©
Stephen Gavin
2003 - 2011
brig Elizabeth Jane
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Brig Elizabeth Jane - launched Nova Scotia 1817 - Lost July 1854 off the coast of Yorkshire - Found Robin Hood's Bay, July 2003
Latest News 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2013
30th December 2009
A Latest News page for 2010 has been added.
30th December 2009
A feedback form has been added to this site.
16th December 2009
There was a severe easterly gale on the NE coast on January 6, 1854, which was reported in the Newcastle Courant January 13, 1854, p2
BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.—THURSDAY SHIPWRECK AT NEWBIGGIN - It was supposed that all the distressing account of losses of life and prosperity by the late gales had been received last week; but it appears that at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, a calamitous disaster took place on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 7, which resulted in the total loss of a Norwegian ship called the Embla, bound from Portugal to Christiana, 350 tons burden, with a cargo of salt, and having a crew, it is supposed, of twelve or thirteen men. The text of this article has been added to this site's Newbiggin Rocks page. The Elizabeth Jane was also caught in the storm and was washed onto Newbiggin Rocks where she remained until the Spring Tide of April 15th.
26th November 2009
Video of Port of Registration Board now on YouTube
30th October 2009
All the information I currently have about Ebenezer Robertson has been added to his page. It still needs to be formatted and proofed. Photographs of pages from his Bible recording family births and deaths will be added soon.
30th October 2009

Searching my folders with Picasa recovered an image of part of a newspaper item I had found when searching 19th Century Newspapers Online but had not included in the site. I'm not sure now if this was or was not 'my' Elizabeth Jane. nor do I know when the item was published; so I must check its source. On reflection, and given its significance, I guess I would have made more use of it if I had thought this was EJ. It does say 'of Sunderland' not 'from'.

It might be worth contacting the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariner's Society to see if they have any record of this event.

29th October 2009
I have added an 'Image Gallery' to the lost brig site. I did a 'search' of jpeg files from the website folders; copied these to a new folder; got Picasa to catalogue these and built a website from the files found. I have not yet made links from the images back to the website. I am thinking about how I can do this, easily, on a regular basis. The original Image Gallery is still on the site.
29th October 2009
I have recently received, from the North East Lincolnshire Archives,  the registration document of the  Samuel of Grimsby. The Samuel  rescued the crew of the  Elizabeth Jane  when she was abandoned in July 1854. The Samuel was built by  Samuel and George Bennett in 1849 and was registered at Grimsby on the 17th July 1850. Her registration document shows that she was a sloop .

Thanks to the work of a descendant of the Bennett brothers, I now know that the Samuel was built at the  Barnby Basin which was at the end of the Barnsley Canal Cawthorne and Kexborough are the closest modern settlements to its remains. The site of the Barnby Basin may also be seen on Google Maps.

The Barnby Basin is now filled in, but there are  photographs of remaining cottages at Barnby see:  . A link from this page provides much  information about canals in the area  at the time of the Samuel . Google Books has much contemporary information about the Barnby Basin and its surrounding area:

20th October 2009
I have recently been in contact with Richard Pinner a descendant of Ebenezer Robertson's family. He has given me interesting photographs from a family Bible detailing births and deaths in the Robertson family over about a century. This information is closely related to William Read's will and the chart of William Read's immediate family. The photographs from the bible, a transcription of the recorded births and deaths, and the biblical texts mentioned will be published soon. Please note: In William Read's will 'Ebeneezer' is spelled with two 'e's; in the family bible 'Ebenezer' is spelled with one.
17th October 2009

All the names in William Read's will have been added to the Key People page of this site. Those who are related to Read have had their relationship explained by using MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder's website to build text relationship charts which explain each individual's relationship to Read. It is possible to search this site for each name or individual.

The confusion as to the identity of Read's Executors is now clear: they cannot be the William and Thomas Taylor who are bank clerks as Read's exceutors are separately listed as beneficiaries. The two remaining candidates are therefore Thomas Taylor grandfather of the clerks and his son William who is father of the clerks. Read therefore was able to protect the interests of his wife by appointing her brother William and his son (her nephew) as Executors.

I have begun to add some images to the Stockton on Tees page; including a print of the port Stockton in 1825 which is two years before the Elizabeth Jane was registered there. Stockton is important in the history of the Railway and this connects in well with Read's later journey to Liverpool, the introduction of steam as a motive power, the start of the demise of sail and the rise and rise of coal.

11th October 2009
I have removed Twitter from my contact page. I tried to use the lostbrig contact page 'as a visitor' this morning and was asked for 'authentication'. I'm not sure what the implications of this might have been for others, but it might have stopped them contacting me.
9th October 2009
By reading William Read's will I have, together with some addition information found at, been able to build a chart of William Read's immediate family. William Read looks quite isolated on it. He appears to have had no children with his wife Mary, though Maria Hare's child was (I think) judged to be his by a court. His sister Sophia is the only direct relative mentioned in his will, though she was already dead when Read wrote it in 1866. I do not yet know the order (or status) of Read's mother's relationships to Mr Mack, Mr Gill and Mr Read, though she clearly had children with them.
6th October 2009
I have begun to analyse William Read's will hoping that the characters named will reveal and suggest new lines of enquiry.
18th September 2009
William Read commented that 'the "Orwell"... ...landed her passengers, having completed her passage of 100 miles'. Today I investigated this further by retracing the paddle steamer's voyage from Ipswich using a Google Map and its Distance Tool. It appears that Read probably disembarked at Billingsgate Market. This point on the Thames was close to the Spread Eagle Inn and is, according to Google, 97.7634 miles from Ipswich.
17th September

I recently read William Read's letter to the Editor of the Suffolk Chronicle of 2nd Nov I839 describing his 56 hour, 600 mile return journey from Ipswich to Liverpool. I first heard about this letter in Hugh Moffat's Ships and Shipyards of Ipswich 1700-1970. Read took the paddle steamer Orwell from Ipswich to London, an Omnibus to Euston Square, and then a train from Euston to Liverpool. He returned by the same route. On his outward journey he 'took tea' at the Spread Eagle Inn in Gracechurch Street near Leadenhall Market. Read's article appears to be a early advertisment for 'letting the train take the strain'. Read was clearly impressed by his experience and soon after he and Enos Page made an offer to built the paddle steamer Orion.

The period from 1839 to 1844 was no doubt a challenging time for William Read. He was in court twice: first charged to provide maintenance for a child he was accused of fathering; and secondly accused of inciting the master of the Collina to sink her. Read and his partner Enos Page also had their shipyard compulsorily purchased.

At this time Enos Page bought Francis Hammond's share of the Elizabeth Jane, and Read & Page 'diversified' to make iron steam-powered ships as well as wooden sailing ships.

From Lee Jackson's Victorian London: Spread Eagle, Gracechurch-street, was rebuilt after the Great Fire. Of this inn we find Taylor, the Water-poet, in his Carrier's Cosmographie, 4to, 1637, mentioning "The Tabard near the Conduit," and "the Spread Eagle," both in "Gracious-street." The latter was taken down in 1865, but remained to the last nearly entire, within its outer galleries to the two floors. The plot of ground which it occupied contained in all 12,600 feet, 5600 feet of which were leasehold for a long term, and the rest freehold. It was sold for 95,000l, The ground is surrounded on three sides by Leadenhall Market. There is a good view of the old inn in the Illustrated London News, Dec. 23, 1865.

The Spread Eagle besides being an early carriers' inn, became famous as a coaching-house; the mails and principal stage-coaches for Kent and other southern counties arriving until departing from here. It was long the property of John Chaplin, cousin of William Chaplin (Chaplin and Horne), who began life as a coachman at Rochester, served as Sheriff of London and Middlesex, and sat in Parliament for Salisbury. He died chairman of the London and South-Western Railway, and worth a quarter of a million of money. He was occupier, at one period, of five inn-yards in London, possessed 2400 horses, and his receipts for booking parcels amounted to 8000l. a year.

14th September
'Key People' page added to site - a work in progress. A list of individuals whose names have appeared in the Elizabeth Jane story hyperlinked to return all instances of their name on this site.
13th September

More photographs have been added to the Bridlington page using a Google Picasa Web-Album. These photographs were taken on the 155th anniversary of the loss of the Elizabeth Jane and the setting-down of her crew at Bridlington Quay, then about three miles from Bridlington town, by the Samuel of Grimsby. To date nothing is known about this vessel. Bridlington seemed very sad that evening. Few people were there, and bars and cafes were empty. In 2009 The George is the pub nearest to the harbour and seems likely to have been there in 1854. Did Captain Archer treat his crew to a drink to celebrate, or were they 'teetotal' or 'temperate'?

From The Sailor's Magazine and Naval Journal 1833

While writing and looking-up teetotal etc., I came across Henry Vincent, who has connections with Hull and Yorkshire, and in 1842 stood for Parliament at Ipswich in 1842and 1847 as an independent. He was a printer by trade and knew Tom Paine, and was influential in the early Working Men's Association and campaigned for universal suffrage. See and Chartist Newspapers online.

According to the print of 'French and English Sailors...' at The George, English and French sailors wore the same uniform. Presuming these are navy men, what did merchant seamen wear?

28th August
I've wanted to make an INDEX for this website for while. Inviting users to 'SEARCH' a site is fine but what do they search for if they don't know what's there? How will they find those 'unknown unknowns'. I could find no affordable software that would do the job and undoubtedly it would need a lot of manual editing and updating. It occurred to me that I could adapt the current Google Search page and add an Index Page of predefined searches. This will need little upkeep and will represent my intentions and knowledge of the site. When a hyperlinked index item is clicked, Google will return a search more up-to-date and thorough than I could manage.
27th August

It occurs to me that using javascript to put orphaned files back into the 'index' page is not such a good idea after all. If a search engine shows a user a page they are interested in they will not have the chance to read it before it is hidden again in the menu of the index page. I will take out the javascript and put a small 'HOME' link on each iframed page. Searchers will then be able to read what the search engine has found for them and then decide when and if to go on and browse the site.

I changed my mind too about the 'image if the month' idea and have begun to modify the front page of the site using the same iframe techniques but with links that look at sections of the site and/or Elizabeth Jane's story.

Francis Hammond
By carefully reading of the trials (trial 2) associated with Francis Hammond I have been able to identify the location of his rented shop in Oxford Street: 'I am waterman (who waters horses, not to be confused with a man who works on the river) of the coach-stand in Oxford Street, at the corner of Argyle Street (spelt 'Argyll' on Google Maps), opposite the prosecutor's shop'. We also know that his 'shop-woman' was called Mrs Bean. In 1856 he was 'in partnership with Mr. Middlemist as lightermen, (see also Watermen) at No. 82 Lower Thames Street', near Billingsgate Market (wiki). Francis Hammond would have known the area before the first Billingsgate Market building was built on Lower Thames Street in 1850. According to the Billingsgate website this proved to be inadequate and was demolished in 1873 to make way for the building which still stands in Lower Thames Street today. The current market is at Trafalgar Way, London, E14.

See Lee Jackson's page on Billingsgate at his . Mogg's Strangers Guide To London 1834 shows the area that Hammond could have passed through to reach his shop, and Billingsgate.

26th August

Added quite a lot more to the 'index' page of this site using iframes but suddenly worried that search engines might present these pages to searchers as 'orphaned' and disconnected from containing page. Thankfully a little piece of code in the template of the pages that are loaded into the iframes solves the problem:
<!-- Begin
if (window == top) top.location.href = "home.html";
// End -->
Now, when the potentially orphaned page is loaded it calls for its containing page too!

21st August
I had the unanticipated opportunity to go hunting at Whitby for the site of George Weatherill's painting of a beached brig, unfortunately without a copy of Weatherill's watercolour or a print of what appears to be the same site, the Scaur at Whitby. I will add a discussion about locating images in landscapes soon.
21st August
Re-built 'Index' page of this site using 'iframes' and introduced idea of 'Image of the Month'.
21st August
The WolframAlpha Search engine tells me that on July 8th 1854 the night of Elizabeth Jane's loss, the moon was 'waxing gibbous'( 92.36% illuminated) and that there were nearly 17 hours of daylight on that day.
14th August

Meeting on the River of Life - Mohawk and Loyalist Exchanges
May 22 to May 30, 2009
The Tyendinaga Economic Development Centre, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
and June 6 to July 6, 2009
The Archives and Collections Society, “The Victory”, 205 Main Street, Picton

This exhibition sounds very interesting as early settlers were often helped by the natives of the land they settled and in many cases would not have survived without their help. The exhibition 'traces the 11,000 year history of human occupation along the Bay of Quinte and reexamines the relationship of the Mohawk and Loyalists neighbours who settled here 225 years ago.' The parent of Thomas Hugh arrived in Nova Scotia at about this time.

'The secondary theme of this exhibition is to commemorate the special relationship between the Mohawk
Nation, which settled at Tyendinaga, and the Loyalists who sought a new life in the County and the surrounding
region. The two very different peoples were joined together in common interest in the original Mohawk
homeland in the Mohawk Valley. United as allies, the Mohawk and Loyalists also shared the Silver Covenant of
Peace, an alliance that cemented their friendship together.'

However, also see: Solidarity with Tyendinaga and Six Nations and Statements from Six Nations Confederacy members on Tyendinaga stand-off and No One Is Illegal-MONTRÉAL

12th August
A page listing Maritime Museums has been added to this site.
30th July

Added information and links to Sierra Leone page. Elizabeth Jane sailed there in 1823 soon after Freetown had become a British Crown Colony (1808). Sierra Leone was a source of slaves and became a home for freed slaves, but it has had a troubled and difficult history, and its people still suffer today. Many interesting, sad and moving items can be found on the Sierra Eye site which claims to be a collection of 'the most interesting, curious and funny articles published around the internet related directly or indirectly to Sierra Leone.'

By chance today: Journey without Maps. Humphrey Hawksley retraces the journey undertaken on foot by Graham Greene from Sierra Leone across Liberia in 1935. Hear whether West Africa has changed. Is it better or worse than it was 70 years ago? BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents was broadcast on Thursday, 30 July, 2009 at 1102 BST and was repeated on Monday, 3 August, 2009 at 20:30 BST. See Sierra Leone Timeline at the BBC.

24th July
Books are back on the menu above. Even if visitors don't buy them, I'm afraid I do.
23rd July
Some newspaper research added to Timeline.
15th July
A page called Identifying Francis Hammond's House at Leicester Square has been added to this site. It shows Francis Hammond's house (he was a staymaker and once part owner of the Elizabeth Jane) and enables maps and views of Leicester Square to be compared. See also: Leicester Square
10th July

Very interesting information about John Cutler Ramsden arrived.

8th July
A trip to Bridlington on the evening of the 155th Anniversary of the loss of the Elizabeth Jane and her crew being put down at Bridlington Quay by the 'Samuel' of Grimsby. and to compare a print from 1830 with the same view of the town today.
4th July
The 'make-over' has begun. First a new banner, and in the coming weeks much information about individuals involved with the Elizabeth Jane and documentary evidence.
4th July
A photograph of Elizabeth Jane's port of registration board has been added to this site.
Stephen Gavin 2009
30th June

Many thanks to Tim Bryars of Tim Bryars Ltd who sells rare and antiquarian books, maps and prints at Cecil Court which is near Leicester Square. Tim showed me a detail of Richard Horwood's 32 sheet, 26 inch to the mile, 1799 map of London, which shows the house of Francis Hammond at 8 Leicester Square. In 1830 Hammond became part-owner of the Elizabeth Jane at Ipswich. He was a stay maker who perhaps got his supply of whale bone from Ipswich, which for a short period was a whaling port, or from Hull which in 1830 was a significant whaling port. Indirectly, because of his interesting research into the history of Cecil Court, Tim directed me to the on-line Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913, where I found a record of a burglary at Francis Hammond's shop on the 6th April 1826; also 'Stealing from Master' in 1856.

Tim Bryars Ltd at Cecil Court, London, also sells original atlases and maps of all regions of the world; classical texts and translations; natural history and typographical prints.

I am also researching the history of Leicester Square. See Google Book research and Lee Jackson's interesting Victorian Dictionary which contains much information about London in Elizabeth Jane's time as well as links to relevant sources and Lee Jackson's own books. It has to be wondered whether the British Library's On-line Newspaper Collection might reveal more about Hammond and his life.

22nd June
First findings from the British Library's On-line Newspaper Collection now on this site. We have learned that the Elizabeth Jane was washed onto Newbiggin Rocks, north of Blyth, during the storms of January 1854, and held there until April 1854 before she returned to Ipswich in 'a leaky condition'. However, she soon returned to sea and was lost about a month later. The British Library's British News Paper On-line also give a very useful overview of nineteenth century history.
26th May
First draft of the Story of the brig Elizabeth Jane
18th May
The WolframAlpha Search engine was launched recently. It might offer some interesting insights into the loss of the Elizabeth Jane and other ships. Her crew appear to have abandoned her on the evening of Saturday 8th July 1854. They were picked up by another ship and taken to Bridlington. A search for 'tides, whitby, 9th July 1854' with the WolframAlpha engine reveals (if it's accurate) that the sun set on the Saturday 8th July 8.37 pm and rose the next day at 3.38 am. The engine shows that the second high tide on the Saturday was at 2.03 pm and the following low tide was at 8.29 pm. The information it provides about sun, moon, and tides, makes it possible to more knowingly imagine the ways and circumstances in which Elizabeth Jane might have come ashore, been unladen, salvaged, and her remains taken back to Robin Hood's Bay.
28th April
Last Will and Testament of William Read - Ship builder & owner, of Ipswich has been added to this website.
21st April

I have been busy this week finding out what I can about William Read's Colina. I was surprised to find, when reading Hugh Moffat's Ships and Shipyards of Ipswich, that he spelt the name of Read's deliberately-sunk ship as 'Collina', not 'Colina' as it appeared in the Nautical Magazine's 1844 account of the trial of William Read and the Colina's master, William Simpson. Hugh Moffat quoted from a number of local Ipswich sources such as the Ipswich Journal, so it seemed likely that his spelling would be right; so how did the High Court and the Nautical Magazine get the spelling wrong?

On-line searches found a brig called the Collina sailing between Canada and Bideford in Devon. At first she seemed, from my first view of the dates of her voyages, to be the ship that Read later bought, but further in the records I found this ship sailing the Atlantic when William Read already owned a 'Colina/Collina' at Ipswich. Gary Carroll of Canada pointed out that the Bideford Collina was lost on about the 16th November 1840, sailing from Prince Edward Island to Bideford. It is recorded that she 'drove ashore near London...' and '...the whole of her crew, except two, were drowned.'

As Read's Colina/Collina was lost off Holland in 1841 they must obviously be different ships. In Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping (1st July 1841 to 30th June 1842), found through a Google Books search, a reference to Read's (spelt 'Reed') Collina shows that she was also built at Prince Edward Island; but in 1827. It is interesting, if confusing, that two ships could have been built in close proximity and be given the same name.

The Nautical Magazine's spelling: 'Colina', could be explained by them transcribing speech, though they also made a mistake with the name of Read's lawyer, calling him 'Cobbs' rather than 'Cobbold', but how does this explain the use of 'Colina' in the printed version of William Simpson's indictment in official court records?

See for more detail.

16th April
Links made from the Timeline pages on this site, to World Chronology on the site which gives the key events in each year of Elizabeth Jane's life.
12th April

Permission given by Mike Shaw, of The Sutcliffe Gallery Whitby, to show on this website a photograph by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe of the brig Mary & Agnes called 'Flag of Distress', which is copyright The Sutcliffe Gallery ©

The Mary & Agnes appears to be about the same size as the Elizabeth Jane. She was blown ashore at Whitby in 1885. This photograph should be seen together with George Weatherill's watercolours of beached brigs, which date from the same period as the loss of Elizabeth Jane.

9th April

Permission given by the Pannett Art Gallery Whitby, to show on this site, George Weatherill's watercolour paintings of wrecks close to Whitby. George Weatherill (1810-90) lived at Whitby.

31st March
with thanks to
Donna Barraclough
and Liz Wallace.

Contact made with descendants of Thomas Hugh, Mariner and joint owner at first registration in 1817 of Elizabeth Jane at Guysborough, Nova Scotia. Thomas Hugh (b: 1783 d: 20 Mar 1860) married Jane Aikens ( b: Nov 1788). They had two daughters: Elizabeth Sarah b: 1810 and Sarah Jane b: 1812. Jane Aiken's mother's name was Elizabeth.

Nothing is yet know about Charles Brown who jointly owned Elizabeth Jane at this time.

22nd March

Saw George Weatherill's paintings of wrecks on the coast near Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay. No doubt they evoke Elizabeth Jane's final days. Unfortunately they are not extensively reproduced. Some originals can be seen at: Pannett Art Gallery
14th March

More contemporary added events to 'Timelines' and also an eclectic 'Books & Music 1817-1854' section to Elizabeth Jane's Bookshop. This is intended to provide historical context.

21st February
Much information about Page & Read shipbuilders found in Hugh Moffat's - Ships and Shipyards of Ipswich 1700-1970 and added to Timelines 1817-29 and 1830-54
18th February

BLOG and Book Shop added to site

29th January
from Guildhall Library,
London EC2P 2EJ
With thanks to S.C.

Lloyd's List, Monday 10th July, 1854, No.12570, p7, col. 18
Bridlington, 9th July. The ELIZABETH & JANE, Archer, of and for Ipswich, from Sunderland, was abandoned last night leaky and with pumps choked: crew landed here.

Lloyd's List, Wednesday 12th July, 1854, No.12572, p2, col. 17
Whitby, 10th July. The ELIZABETH & JANE, of Ipswich, coal laden, came ashore yesterday at Peak, derelict, and in a sinking state. (See Bridlington paragraph in List of 10th July.)

The fact that the pumps were choked suggests that they struggled as long as they could to pump the vessel out until the water, in the parlance of the time, "gained on them". A hole made in the vessel was the normal method of deliberately sinking the vessel, rather than sabotaging the pumps.

"In a sinking state" sounds like a contradiction in terms when the vessel came ashore, but refers to the water gaining on the vessel. You often see that a vessel has "sunk on the beach", where she filled completely with water at high tide.

"Derelict", also mentioned in the ref from Shipwrecks UK, is wreck-ese (like flotsam, jetsam, etc.) - the earliest use I know of, in that sense, is 1339; it refers to the abandonment of the vessel, rather than her condition.

The version of the name given in LL and in the Shipwrecks UK ref is quite a common occurrence, where two feminine names are "partitioned" in this way.

The leak may even have started (or been started!) soon after leaving Sunderland but the vessel must have been abandoned fairly close to Whitby, as it only took a day for the wreck to wash ashore at Peak, especially given the wind at NNE. Bridlington was either probably the nearest suitable place for the SAMUEL to land the crew in the wind conditions, or may have been where the SAMUEL was heading anyway.

English Heritage has five other wrecks that we know of on Peak Steel between South Cheek and Blea Wyke Point - there are probably more, it is just a question of uncovering the evidence. So many contemporary sources will just say "near Whitby" or similar.

23rd January 2009

With thanks to
Shipwrecks UK

Information provided by Shipwrecks UK

8 July 1854 - Elizabeth & Jane, of Ipswich. 133-ton brig, Sunderland to Ipswich with coals, in fine conditions wind NNE Force 5, was abandoned at sea in a leaky condition; she drifted on shore at Robin Hood's Bay as a derelict, crew saved by the 'Samuel'.

Reference to a brig Samuel at Google Books confirmation needed.

This loss was reported in Lloyd's List and Coastguard Records and recorded in the Admiralty Wreck Return for 1854 page 60/61.

24th November 2008
The remains of Elizabeth Jane are now in the records of English Heritage.