Parkgate fishing 2

Stormy Weather – Newspaper Articles 1

Chester Chronicle – Friday 14 October 1808

…A great deal of damage was done the same day to the shipping at Parkgate and in the neighbourhood. The sloop King George, M’Carthy master, loaded with coal, for Dublin, burst her cables in Beer House Hole, and was driven on the bank opposite Parkgate, where she was soon filled, when her people, 5 in number, look to the rigging, but were soon extricated by the laudable exertion of several sailors at Parkgate, and were brought safe on shore. The sloop Ardent, Morgan master, also with coals, for Dublin, ran on a bank opposite Flint, and sunk; her crew, consisting 4 men and 2 boys, and a woman passenger, (excepting one the boys who was washed overboard) were rescued from their perilous situation by the same sailors, and brought on shore, but the other poor boy soon after expired. Notwithstanding the vessel was not more than mile from the Flintshire shore and there is a most excellent revenue boat belonging to the port of Flint, none of the people there attempted to render any assistance to the unfortunate sufferers, otherwise, in all probability, one or both the boys might have been saved…

Chester Courant – Tuesday 10 December 1822

PARKGATE, Monday, 9th November. [from correspondent.] I am sorry to inform you, that the damage done in this neighbourhood by the storms on Thursday night last, is greater, I believe than ever was known.—The chimney belonging to the house occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Bowen, at Parkgate, was blown down upon the roof, which broke through into the room, where Mr. and Mrs. B. were in bed ; several of the neighbours hearing of it, hastened to the spot, where they found both buried the ruins. Mr. B. was taken out without being hurt, but I am sorry to say his wife has got one of her legs broken, and severely bruised all over her body; they were in the ruins upwards of two hours.—Neston Mills have received great injury, the top of one of them is quite off, with all of the works in the upper story .—The top of the other Mill was greatly shaken, had it not been for one of the sails which caught the ground, the whole of the mill would have been down.— Nearly the whole of the windows in Parkgate, and this neighbourhood are broken.—A shippon in Parkgate was also blown down, and buried calf only two days old, in the ruins, but to the great surprise of the owner, the calf was taken out not in the least injured.—’The chimney belonging to a house in Neston, was blown down upon the roof, which broke through in the room where a poor woman was sleeping; she being alone (excepting her cat), immediately run into the pantry with her mewing companion, where she prayed the whole of the night.—A poor unfortunate man left the Golden Lion, in Neston, and was obliged to crawl home upon his hands and knees, a distance of half a mile; had he not done so, we cannot tell where the gale would have driven him.

Chester Chronicle – Friday 10 July 1829


To the Editor of the Chester Chronicle.

Sir,—Nothing could exceed the consternation excited in this place on Saturday morning last, when the fatal effects of the gale of the preceding night were known throughout the town.—On examining the shore, there appeared at the north end, a few yards clear of the termination of the wall, a large vessel of the coasting class, called the Liver of Liverpool, forced from her anchors, and lying high and dry upon the beach, her sails flapping loose, and she bore all the marks of being deserted by her crew, although in other respects had suffered little damage. Further on towards the south end, the scene of destruction began to thicken, and close by the Old Bath House there lay two of the Parkgate fishery fleet, of the smaller order, closely jammed together on the foot of the wall, and so much damaged as to be scarcely worth repairing. Further on still, and nearly opposite the Hotel, was discovered ; the wreck of the pleasure boat, Elizabeth, strewed in atoms on the beach ; and at the south end of the wall two more the fishery craft were found ashore, the one completely destroyed belonging to Crowder the boatman the other in a very disabled state, but repairable—The most calamitous part of the narrative will apply to Lemuel Evans, the owner of the ———– as intrepid and hardy a seaman, as ever took a trick at the helm, or spliced the main brace. She had been his companion, for some ten or a dozen years, and of others before his time,—had weathered so many hard gales, as to be called “ the lucky,” and was considered beyond the reach of casual disaster but Lem, although he now and then gets a few points in the wind, when he happens to make a lucky hit in any of his excursions on the Dee, either for pleasure or profit, is yet a provident kind of fellow and on this occasion following the example of the Dutchman, (who from motives of ‘economy, left his best Bower at home, and lost his ship in consequence) had substituted old cable for new one, little thinking that the month of July would prove so boisterous; and he thus became the victim of his own precaution. In addition to this misfortune, one of the small craft forced ashore, and badly damaged, belonged to him also; indeed he himself narrowly escaped among the disasters of the night being sent to Davy’s Locker; for when roused from his sleep by the fury the storm, his forebodings approaching danger suddenly burst on his imagination, and divested of every incumbrance, he rushed forth, and boldly dashed into the foaming surf, hoping still save his old companion, assisted that sagacious and experienced seaman, Ned Gill, who had been also roused from his rest the same cause; but all his efforts were in vain, and the struggle between himself and old father Neptune had nearly proved fatal to poor Lem.

As it is not the compassion so much as the liberality and generosity of those who may feel interested in favour the place, either by a temporary or a permanent residence, which it intended to excite by this humble tale of calamity ; neither was it necessary that the colouring of the picture should partake of that sombre character, which the facts themselves, none of which are exaggerated, might otherwise justify. All the seafaring men belonging to Parkgate have been at one time or other in the service of the navy, and fought and bled in defending the liberties of their country. Such men are not disposed to throw themselves lightly on the charity of the public, however they may be willing to share its liberality. “NAUTICUS.”

Chester Chronicle – Friday 06 December 1833


Parkgate, Nov. 1833.

In consequence of the dreadful gale of wind yesterday, number of boats have been lost and injured belonging to several poor fishermen (whose names are as under) at Parkgate, which calamity has deprived these unfortunate people of the means of supporting their families during the ensuing winter. It is therefore hoped that humane generosity of the public will kindly enter into subscription for their relief, and it respectfully proposed that each individual shall receive, from such subscription, an equal proportion to the loss sustained.

John Bedson, fine new half-decked boat; also, a four-oared boat, totally lost.

John Mathews, a boat totally lost.

George Peers, boat too much damaged to repaired.

Robert Bithell, ditto      ditto      ditto

Samuel Evans, boat much damaged but repairable.

George Brierly, a boat injured, and material lost.

William Cathrall, ditto                        ditto

William Brierrly, ditto                          ditto


Subscriptions £ s d
Joseph Hayes Lyon 2 0 0
Mrs Husband 1 0 0
Rev John Husband 1 0 0
Mr Charles Monk 1 0 0
Mr Henry Rowland 1 0 0
Mr Bushell 1 0 0
Miss Glegge 1 0 0
Mrs Bond 1 0 0
Mrs Hutchinson 1 0 0
Captain Barton 1 0 0
Mr George Yates 1 0 0


Cheshire Observer – Saturday 15 December 1883

The Gale.— The gale of Tuesday night was severely felt at Neston and the neighbourhood. Several fishing boats have been sunk and damaged, and one or two completely destroyed. A valuable one belonging to William Campion was among the latter. The low wall in front of Ashfield House Academy, and a high wall in Liverpool-road, were blown down. A large elm tree in Poplar Wynt, measuring seven feet in circumference, was snapped off two feet from the ground, and tore down two strong walls in its fall. Another large tree in Leighton-road met a similar fate, and fell across the road, impeding the traffic. The roofs of several houses and buildings were almost stripped of slates. At midnight on Wednesday two boats floated up to Parkgate, and are in the possession of the fishermen. One appears to have been the punt of a flat, and bears the names ” William and Alice “; the other is a ship’s gig, about 25 feet long, bearing the name of ” Catherine.”

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 12 October 1889

PARKGATE. THE STORM: GREAT DESTRUCTION OF FISHING BOATS. The storm of Monday morning last was severely felt along the Cheshire coast, and the full force of the gale must have fallen upon Parkgate. In the early hours of the morning the inhabitants were roused by the tempestuous blast which swept across the Estuary, and the fishing community were soon astir to prepare for the forthcoming onslaught upon their little fishing fleet. It was anticipated that the incoming tide and gale combined would severely try the moorings of the little craft, and every precaution was taken to enable them to ride out the storm. The mussels raked on the Saturday evening were bagged and carted to the quay, and the empty boats were anchored as securely aa possible. As the tide rolled in, however, it was evident that some at least of the boats were doomed, and a group of some thirty fishermen and others gathered upon the shore to render such assistance as was possible. The waves rushed in upon the quays with almost un-exampled severity, and soon the spray was being hurled over the roadway and splashed upon the houses upon the opposite side. Boat after boat began to drag its anchor, and soon several of them broke loose and headed straight for the wall. An exciting scene ensued. The tide, lifted by the wind, scaled the parapet and flung wave after wave high in the air, while the boats that had broken from their anchorage charged at the quay like so many animated battering rams. Three boats (vis , Cunningham’s and Herbert’s, sen. and jun.) committed suicide at the bastion or donkey stand together, and the spectators could do nothing to save them. Webster’s trawling boat and Fewtrell’s punt came to grief at the same spot, and such was the fury of the tide that the punt in a shattered condition was thrown into the bigger boat, and there it remained.

Meanwhile an exciting scene was being enacted at the Square opposite the Hall. William Mealor ‘s punt bore down upon the wall at this point, and the band of workers succeeded in throwing a boathook with a rope attached into it. By this time the tide was rolling up the Square, and a glimpse of the parapet of the quay wall could only be gained at intervals; yet the united strength of the whole party could not draw the boat on shore. The waves were rolling over the lamp-post and amid the screams of the women, who fully expected some of the party to be washed into the river, the rope was made fast about the boat. A favourable opportunity shortly afterwards arose, and the boat was dragged in triumph up the Square. Another boat (Joseph Taylor’s) that was anchored off the Convalescent Home broke loose, and, passing the Square, stopped opposite the master’s door, and made desperate efforts to leap the wall. This freak was so noticeable, that one of the fisherwomen, taking in the humour of the situation, bawled out ” Why don’t the open the front door and let her in the parlour ?” By the efforts of the fishermen this boat was landed in the roadway by its owner’s door without receiving any damage. Several boats were lifted by the tide upon the wall, and after resting there an instant were swept back and destroyed. Many of the houses were inundated, and in one instance, where a child was being washed at the fireside, a wave entered by the front door, swept away the washing mug, and passed out through the back door. It is needless to say that mother and child beat a hasty retreat in the same direction.

When the tide went down and the storm abated somewhat it was found that 23 boats were either beaten to pieces or shattered beyond hope of repair. The total damage, including the loss of tackle, will be about £200 ; and in many cases, particularly where a family have lost two boats, the consequences will be very sad. In many instances the fishermen find themselves instantly deprived of the means of making a livelihood, and this too at a time when mussels, one of the staple industries, are plentiful. Only a very small proportion of the sufferers will receive assistance from the ” boat club” (Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society). The following is an almost Complete list of the boats totally wrecked :— Thomas Jones trawling boat; Thomas Robinson, trawling boat and punt; John Bedson, trawling boat; William Handley, trawling boat; C. Cunningham, two punts (one rigged aa a trawler). The following lost punts only :— Herbert (senior and junior), Benjamin Higgins, Wm. Campion, William Jones, Christopher Jones, Michael Murray, jun., Samuel [Lemuel?] Mellor, senr., Harry Peters, Wm. Peters, Edward Brown, and George Fewtrell.

BODY FOUND IN THE DEE. About six a.m. on Thursday, three Parkgate fishermen named John Mealor, John Smith, and John McMahon found the body of a man washed ashore near the West Hoyle Bank, and conveyed it to the Sawyer Arms, Parkgate, where an inquest was held on the body yesterday (Friday) by Mr H. Churton, county coroner. The body had apparently been in the water two or three days. The sum of 12s 6d was found in a purse in the pockets. It has since been identified as the body of Charles Roscoe, captain of the ill-fated schooner ” The Primus,” of Chester, lost with all hands off West Hoyle during the late gale. “The Primus ” was bound for Connah’s Quay. Parts of the wreck have come ashore, the figure-head and punt, the latter bottom upwards. Captain Roscoe was formerly in the service of the Hon. H. Holbrook, of Parkgate, and married a daughter of Mr Campion, of Parkgate, and lived at Connah’s Quay.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 23 July 1892

FEARFUL EXPERIENCE OF A DEE FISHERMAN. Jonathan Mellor, a Neston fisherman, was knocked overboard from his fishing boat during the storm on Tuesday, while engaged in trawling off the Point of Ayr, and was rescued, iv a very exhausted condition, by his son (a boy), who accompanied him. He thus simply and graphically describes his exceedingly narrow escape:— “After getting the net in all right, in the heaviest of the gale I was standing by, waiting to see if it would go any better, but a heavy sea coming over us all roads, I went forard on the forcastle to back the jib over so as to let the boat come round, and the jib sheet struck me and threw me overboard. This was in the heaviest of the wind and rain, and I remained in the water as near as I could guess half an hour before my son could give me any assistance. When I could see him I told him to get the bight off the trawl rope to throw over me, and he threw it several times and missed me, but the last time I repeated the Lord’s words two or three times, and he threw it over my head and I caught it. I struggled hard, and at last got it over my body, and then my son hauled me to the side and fastened me. I told him what to do to get me aboard. I told him to get the jib halliards down to hook any part of my clothes, but there was nowhere only the oilcoat buttonholes. My son hoisted me till I told him to stop, and then he got hold of my legs and rolled me in the boat. I had no help in me, but I had my good senses, and it made me worse to see my son in such a way when I was in the water. I thank God ! I am very sore with knocking against the boat, and I remained in my wet clothes from ten o’clock till six at night, when I returned home — and thank God to see home ? ” Our correspondent adds that Mellor has given a very modest account of what is known to have been a most marvellous deliverance from the very jaws of death.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 17 February 1894



The oldest fishermen in Parkgate state that the storm of Sunday far surpassed in violence anything ever experienced in the vicinity. The wind blew a perfect hurricane in the afternoon, and the tide rushed in with fearful violence, the waves being lashed into foam long before they reached the shore, and breaking at last on the quays with great force. During the worst gusts the waves were lifted by the wind and carried over the house tops, falling fully half-a- mile inland in the form of rain. Shattered roofs, broken chimney pots, and the slates strewn about the roadway speak eloquently of the havoc wrought among the property, but by far the most serious damage was among the fishing community, several members of which are hopelessly ruined, unless generous outside help is forthcoming.

The little fishing fleet was moored off Gayton, and as the full fury of the storm burst upon, it the boats were sunk and scattered in all directions, only a few of the larger and better-built craft riding out the gale in safety. Many of the little boats dragged their anchors or broke from their moorings, colliding with each other, until one or the other sunk. The sandbanks were lifted to such an extent by the waves that almost immediately a boat went down it was buried in sand. The fishermen assembled in a body, endeavouring to save their property ; and, after the tide ebbed, the strange spectacle was seen of numbers of fishermen digging with spades to disentomb their boats before the next tide should again submerge them. Many of them worked until midnight, the most generous and ready help being forthcoming from those whose boats had escaped, but in some instances the sand ran in as fast as it was dug out, and on Monday night several of the vessels were still deeply embedded.

The despairing aspect and gestures of some of the fishermen as they realised that their boat were injured beyond the possibility of repair was touching in the extreme, and in some instances middle-aged men who had large families burst into tears, the scene in one instance being heart- rending. Most of the heaviest sufferers are steady, industrious fishermen with large families, with nothing now before them but destitution. In a few instances they will receive a few pounds from the ” boat club,” as it is locally termed. In the case of the John and Betsy, about four tons (owner Tom Robinson), the masts were seen to break off and plunge through the side, sinking the vessel as if a cannon shot had gone through it. A valuable trawling net was totally destroyed. The Edith and Ann (owner, Dan Roscoe), about the same size, dragged her moorings and went ashore, and on being dug out was damaged. A smaller boat, the property of ” Bill” Higgins, was sunk and injured beyond repair, having been sunk several times previously. A trawling boat, the property of ” Bill ” Higgins, purchased for him by Mr. Haigh (” the fisherman’s friend “) and others a few years ago at a cost of £20, he having lost his boat in endeavouring to save that of a comrade, is a complete wreck. “ Jack” Campion’s Tom Sayers, about four tons, was buried in the sand and badly damaged, and is supposed to be past repair, while a trawling boat, owner John Lewis, was totally wrecked near the old boathouse. These are some of the principal losses among a host of minor casualties, and a number of little boats were sunk, some of them being broken up.

It is suggested that a series of entertainments in aid of the sufferers should be given in the local town hall. There is little doubt but that any suitable movement would be adequately supported, the cases being of a most deserving character.


The amount of damage at Neston to property exceeds anything previously experienced. When the storm was at its height in the afternoon the blasts struck the district with terrific force, levelling a number of walls to the ground. and blowing windows bodily into the houses. Numbers of chimney pots and chimney stacks were overthrown, and in the neighbourhood of the older properties there was a continuous hail of slates anal brick-bats, many of the roofs being almost entirely stripped.

There were numerous hairbreadth escapes from the falling debris, and in at least one instance there was a very serious accident. Gladstone-road, a new street erected only a few years ago, suffered considerably. About four p.m. seven of the backyard walls collapsed at once, and a boy named James Carruthers, son of Mr. B. Carruthers, of Hinderton-road, who happened to be passing, was flung into the adjoining ditch and buried beneath the ruins. When he was extricated it was found that he had sustained shocking injuries. His thigh and leg were broken, and his head was severely cut by the bricks. After being attended by Drs. Blunden and Yeoman, the boy, who is ten years of age, was conveyed to Chester Infirmary, where he is progressing as well as can be expected.

At the other end of the street the yard wall of Mr. Adamson’s house fell, and two doors away the window, chimney stack, and roof were forced into the back bedroom, greatly terrifying the occupants. In the neighbouring thoroughfare of Brook- street (locally known as “Snig-lane”) was a garden wall, belonging to the old Vicarage, some 20 yards long and nine or ten feet high, built of brick, and of great thickness. This has overhung the road for some time, menacing the safety of the passers-by ; and about eight p.m. the entire length fell with a tremendous crash, narrowly missing a gentleman who was passing.

The chimney-stacks on some very exposed property in the upper portion of High- street, belonging to Miss Webb, gave way during the afternoon, and a number of bricks fell among the Sunday School scholars, who were walking in procession to church, the escapes being most miraculous. About five o’clock a window in the villa occupied by Mr. W. Busby blew in, and immediately afterwards the chimney-stack fell, and partially forced its way through the roof, quite a cartload of brick descending on the front lawn. Fortunately no one was hurt, but the family were compelled to take refuge with the neighbours. At Ashfield House, Mr. McLean Graham’s residence, a chimney-stack fell through the roof into a bed in the servants’ room, which was fortunately unoccupied at the time. In the case of two old residences at Moorside (Mr. Grindley and the Rev. J. Towert, the late occupiers), there was a perfect deluge of slates.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 27 February 1897

PARKGATE. ‘ The Storm -. — Great havoc was wrought among the fishing boats here by the storm which took place during the early hours of Sunday morning. The tide happened to be a very high one, and the tremendous gale which came with it carried it far over the quay and into many of the houses, the spray rising over the roofs. A trawling boat of about five tons, belonging to John Lewis, was washed over the wall and into the roadway, the first instance of the kind ever known as regards a boat of this size. A trawling boat belonging to Peter Whitehead came into collision with that of Robert Bushell, and the two remained locked together until Whitehead’s boat was completely wrecked; Bushell ‘s boat was seriously damaged. Much sympathy is felt for Whitehead, who is thus suddenly deprived of his only means of support, and a subscription list, beaded by the vicar of the parish and a local magistrate, has been opened, with a view to assisting him to get another boat. W. Milner lost two punts, while a third fell into the hands of the Coastguard at Dawpool, and punts belonging to the following were also destroyed viz., James Ollerhead, Jane Price, Joseph Mellor James Bedson, James Maddox, W. Jones. W. Brierly (Heswall), and John Ollerhead (Heswall) sustained a similar loss. In addition to the above, many other boats were damaged. A flat loaded with lead, belonging to Messrs. Muspratt, came ashore near Dawpool, and the crew of two men and a boy were lashed in the rigging for several hours.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 07 January 1899

NESTON AND PARKGATE. The gale raged with much violence in the Neston and Parkgate district on Monday evening. In the former town a number of roofs suffered, and a house at the end of Gladstone- road, occupied by Mr. Thomas Johnson, was partly unroofed and the chimney-pots were dislodged. In Pyke’s Wint, familiar to readers of Neston police intelligence, a wall about 12 yards long and 12 feet high fell about 9pm and covered the upper portion of the Wint with brick and debris. The cottagers opposite were fortunately all in doors at the time. The full fury of the storm, however, fell upon Parkgate. Numbers of boats broke from their moorings and were driven ashore, while others sank, and the fishermen were busily occupied on Tuesday morning in digging the damaged boats out of the sands. Many boats are seriously damaged, and several are missing. Some idea of the force of the gale may be gained from the fact that as a well-known Parkgate gentleman was making his way along the Cheltenham-walk, or Rope- walk as it is popularly called, his spectacles were blown off his face and carried to some place as yet unknown.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 14 January 1899

DISASTERS IN THE DEE. YACHTS MISSING AT PARKGATE. Our Neston correspondent wires : — The storm beat with terrific fury on the Cheshire Side of the Dee Estuary. A two-masted schooner was driven ashore at Thurstaston, while many small fishing boats and yachts are missing at Parkgate. The tide swept over the quays and invaded houses on the parade. George Bedsons’ trawling boat lies buried beneath a dozen feet of sand, and the top of the mast only is visible. It will be a total wreck. Mr. T. Combers’ coachman was blown off the box while driving from Neston Cricket Ball.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 23 September 1899


The recent strong winds, coupled with the high tides, have been productive of some stirring spectacles on the Dee Estuary. Perhaps the finest of these was witnessed on Wednesday forenoon,, when the wind rose to a gale, and brought up the tide with tremendous force. For miles along, the Cheshire coast enormous white breakers could be seen in the act of being discharged, with the force of a battering ram, far inland. A magnificent scene was witnessed at Parkgate, gigantic waves breaking over the quays on to the roadway, and sending their spray far over, the house tops. Numbers of spectators watched the tempest from various sheltered vantage points, but great anxiety naturally prevailed among the fishermen, as their little fishing crafts were tossed aloft and tugged and strained at their moorings. Some broke loose and one, a punt belonging to John Robinson, Little Neston, committed suicide on the quays by battering itself to pieces. “ Bob ” Bushell’s trawling boat, after, wrestling itself free made for a similar boat belonging to “Lem.”* Mellor, as if it had a personal spite against it and gave it several resounding blows in the ribs, which will necessitate a “-doctor’s bill” of probably £5 to £6. A similar state of affairs- existed on the Heswall beach. A big boat, belonging to John Wright got adrift, and bore down upon the little fishing fleet as if bent on their, destruction, but by a kindly fate, or though the kindly offices of ” the little cherub who sits up aloft,” it threaded its way in the most marvellous, fashion through them, without doing any damage.


Two Stormy Petrel have been shot this week in the neighbourhood of Parkgate, by Mr. William Jones, the professional wild fowler, and it is reported that another specimen has been secured by one of the Kemps of Burton- It is some four or five years since these birds of ill-omen have been seen here before, and, in accordance with the popular belie!, their present visit is said to presage heavy storms

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