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Description

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 he wrote to the editor of the Caernarvon and Denbigh Herald thanking the people of Abergele and Llandrillo yr Rhos for their generosity and kindness towards his shipwrecked crew.

The EAGLE was built at Newquay, Cardiganshire, in 1817. Its technical and configuration specifications are given in her ship registration documentation (an image of which is shown above):

24 40/100 tons burthen; 1 deck, 1 mast; length from the inner part of the main stem to the stern post; aloft 38.4ft; her breadth in midships is 12.4ft; her depth in hold at midships is 6.7ft, that she is a sloop rigged with a running bowsprit, is square sterned, carvel built.

It was sold to David and Evan Jones, both mariners of Aberystwyth on 17 January 1838 by shareholders John Phillips of New Quay; James Jones of Pendw; Anne Jones of Llanafeth; Elizabeth Rees of Clynerth, and the executors of David and Morris Davies. David and Evan Jones owned the EAGLE until 2 January 1845, when they sold their shares to John Richards the elder of Borth, mariner. John Richards used a loan from the merchant, Thomas Jones of Aberystwyth, to complete the purchase. John Richards subsequently passed ownership to Evan Richards of Aberystwyth.

It is likely that it was Evan Richards who wrote the following letter to the newspaper:

'Dear Sir, my vessel, THE EAGLE of Aberystwyth having been totally wrecked during the late gales off Llandrillo, and my poor wife and child drowned on the sad occasion, I shall feel extremely obliged if you will allow me through the medium of your paper to communicate my most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to those humane and hospitable people of Abergele and Rhyl, on whose hospitable shore I was cast, for the benevolent and hospitable conduct they manifested, and the assistance they so readily afforded to me in the mournful and distressing condition I was placed in. I was received in the middle of that stormy (and to me and thousands of others sadly memorable night), by Mr Hugh Jones, gardener of Bryndunoedd, from who I received every attention and assistance that my case required and to whom and his kind employer my gratitude is especially due. And those who took such deep interest in my behalf and enabled me to bury my wife and child, and supplied me with food, clothing and the means of returning home, I am especially grateful to Lady Hesketh, Gwrych Castle, the Rev Mr Hughes, Llandrillo, Fosketh esquire, Mr Richards, wine merchant, Abergele, Mr Owen of the Harp, Mr Hughes of the Ship, both of the same place, Captain Edward Roberts , West Parade , Rhyl, and Messers Robert and Rees Rees of the same place, jewellers. These kind and benevolent persons used their utmost influence to solicit subscriptions for me, rendered me every comfort and assistance in their power, and I may add their kind sympathy, and to each of them individually, and all others who assisted me, I return my heartfelt thanks assuring them that their timely aid, and kind sympathy will never be erased from the memory of.

Yours, very true servant Richards, late of the Eagle'.

Sources include:
Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald, 19 November 1859, Pg3 Col 1
Campbell-Jones, S, 1974, Shipbuilding at New Quay 1779-1878, Journal of the Ceredigion Antiquarian Society, pg299
Port of Aberystwyth Shipping Register 1832 - 1840, Ceredigion Archive Service AT/SHIP 2, folio 140
Port of Aberystwyth Shipping Register 1840-1853, Ceredigion Archive Service AT/SHIP 3, folios 76 and 279


Was John Richards the elder the father of Evan Richards? How might one use census returns and parish records to explore if there was a family link between John and Evan?

Evan Richards mentions the kindness of Lady Hesketh. To which particular female member of the extensive Hesketh family might he be referring?

Evan Richards refers to several traders in Abergele and Rhyl. How might we use historic trade directories to explore what other services were available for local people at that time?

http://www.historicaldirectories.org/hd/b1.asp

Comments (2)

Telescopecollector's picture
I have bought a telescope on Ebay (Jan 2016) that is reputed/quoted to be from the wreck of the Eagle. The descrition was: "THIS WAS BOUGHT IN AN ANTIQUE SHOP IN RHYL NORTH WALES OVER 20 YEARS AGO. IT WAS SAID BY THE OWNER OF THE SHOP TO BE TAKEN FROM A SHIPWRECK IN THE 1850/60s CALLED THE "EAGLE" NEAR ABERGELE." I collect such telescopes and will write up what I can find out on www.telescopecollector.co.uk when possible.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales's picture
That's amazing! Thanks for posting. If you find out more please post it here and it would be great if you could upload a photo of the telescope to this site (our maritime officer would be delighted) Helen (moderator)

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