Author Topic: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay  (Read 357 times)

Offline Ian Nelson

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Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« on: Monday 02 November 20 19:41 GMT (UK) »
Does anyone have access to newspapers or coroner's report of 1843/44?  My 4GGrandfather James Dickinson of Bolton-Le-Sands died on the sands in March 1843 yet his body washed up in May 1844.  His wife Ann (Newsom) had died in 1840 aged just 44.  Was it accidental or suicide?
 
One of his daughters was my 3rd Great Grandmother, Jane Dickinson (b 1832) who married John Cathcart in Preston in 1853.

If you can point me in the direction of where to find some more details I would be grateful, regards, Ian.
Norfolk, Nelsons of Gt Ryburgh, Gooch, Howman, Ainger, Couzens, Batrick (Norfolk & Dorset), Tubby ( also of Yorkshire) Cathcarts of Ireland, Lancashire & Isle of Wight) Dickinsons of Morecambe and Lancaster. Proctor & Threlfall of Westmoreland and Lancs, Wilson of Poulton-le-Sands. Mitchells of Isle of Wight. Hair of Ayrshire, Williamson of Tradeston, Glasgow. Nelsons in Australia with Haywards Heath connections.

Offline Christine53

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #1 on: Monday 02 November 20 19:46 GMT (UK) »
Reports in the newspapers around 26 March 1843 state that he was shrimping with two other men when they were overtaken by the flowing  tide and all three drowned.
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Offline Christine53

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #2 on: Monday 02 November 20 19:51 GMT (UK) »
Lancaster Gazette 11 May 1844

The Calamity of Bolton Sands last year :

Our readers will remember that in April last year , on the night of the earthquake , 3 unfortunate men lost their lives whislt engaged in their occupation as fishermen.....Tuesday last a corpse was washed up which has been identified as James Dickinson , one of the poor sufferers.... he was identified by his clothing.
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Offline Drosybont

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #3 on: Monday 02 November 20 19:56 GMT (UK) »
Hi Ian,

There are short reports in two newspapers on BNA (and FindMyPast presumably):  the London Evening Standard of 20 March 1843 and the St James Chronicle of 21 March 1843, the reports being reprinted from the Lancaster Gazette.  James Dickinson was out shrimping with two other men also from Bolton-le-Sands and they were overtaken by the tide and drowned.  The sands of Morecambe Bay are sadly notorious for accidents of this kind.  There is a short report in the Lancaster Gazette of 11 May 1844 saying his body had been found at Grange the previous Tuesday, identified by his clothing and his relatives had gone to collect it for burial.

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Hotham, Guilliatt, Brown, Winter, Buck, Webster, Mortimore
Richards, Meredith, Gower, Davies, Todd, Westmacott, Hill
Mid C19 Cardiff and Haverfordwest, the Marychurch family.

Offline Ian Nelson

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #4 on: Monday 02 November 20 20:22 GMT (UK) »
many thanks for your quick replies. 
" on the night of the earthquake"
is it possible that the earthquake was so localised that it caused a disturbance in the flow of the tide as he would have been very well experienced having been born and bred and brought up on the Sands.
Thanks for solving another of my ancestors' mysteries.  I've still got others to follow up, regards, Ian
Norfolk, Nelsons of Gt Ryburgh, Gooch, Howman, Ainger, Couzens, Batrick (Norfolk & Dorset), Tubby ( also of Yorkshire) Cathcarts of Ireland, Lancashire & Isle of Wight) Dickinsons of Morecambe and Lancaster. Proctor & Threlfall of Westmoreland and Lancs, Wilson of Poulton-le-Sands. Mitchells of Isle of Wight. Hair of Ayrshire, Williamson of Tradeston, Glasgow. Nelsons in Australia with Haywards Heath connections.

Offline Drosybont

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #5 on: Monday 02 November 20 23:27 GMT (UK) »
Missed the reference to the earthquake when I replied before!  I've now found the report in the Lancaster Gazette, Saturday 18 March 1843.  It's a bit more detailed, says that cries of distress were heard on the shore about half past eight or nine o'clock in the evening on the Thursday.  "The night was at that time calm but with a very thick atmosphere, and the tide setting up like a mill-race." 

It seems the earthquake in North West England was felt at 1 am on the morning of Friday 17 March, so about 3 and a half or 4 hours later.  The Lancaster Gazette certainly thought there might have been a connection between the accident and the earthquake, saying " a dense fog came on, and that may have bewildered the poor sufferers, but we find also that the tide set in with unusual rapidity, and no doubt there would be a premature high tide." 

Drosybont
Hotham, Guilliatt, Brown, Winter, Buck, Webster, Mortimore
Richards, Meredith, Gower, Davies, Todd, Westmacott, Hill
Mid C19 Cardiff and Haverfordwest, the Marychurch family.

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 03 November 20 00:17 GMT (UK) »
many thanks for your quick replies. 
" on the night of the earthquake"
is it possible that the earthquake was so localised that it caused a disturbance in the flow of the tide as he would have been very well experienced having been born and bred and brought up on the Sands.
Thanks for solving another of my ancestors' mysteries.  I've still got others to follow up, regards, Ian

In answer to your question, yes I do think that an earthquake could have affected them.

Vibration such as that occurring during an earthquake could have liquified the sands which was already well saturated.

How do I know that?

I was born and bred in Morecambe and the sands were my playground and one thing we used to do was stand to on the sand and vibrate a foot, we learned this technique to determine how safe or otherwise it was to walk where we did.

If you are standing on unstable sand and it is vibrated you could become stuck very quickly and the way the shrimpers operated was particularly dangerous.

The method of shrimping at the time of the tragedy was for the person to push a net through the shallow water of a channel, the more successful shrimpers has a horse and cart and a net was dragged.  Hence you may be able to visualise how easy it would be to become stuck.

As it is the sands are constantly shifting and are still dangerous to the unwary.  Remember the 23 Chinese Shrimpers who lost their lives in the Bay back in 2004.

The Cross Bay walks that are popular and organised by The Guide To The Sands go from Hest Bank (next to Bolton le Sands) over the sands to Grange, the safe route is tested and marked by The Guide.


Offline Gillg

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 03 November 20 10:31 GMT (UK) »
The tide comes in on a bore wave incredibly quickly round that part of Morecambe Bay.  At Arnside, where my parents lived in the 60s, a siren would be sounded to announce the arrival of the bore and the beach would be evacuated immediately.  On one occasion a friend's little son got stuck in the quicksands and had to leave his wellies behind on the beach as his mother pulled him out.

Shrimping is done in the river channels which line the bay, probably the most dangerous part, even for experienced shrimpers.  It is possible to cross the bay on foot at certain times, but this has to be done under the watchful eye of a guide - a post created centuries ago and paid for by the Crown.  Even then, there can be deep water to wade through in places and it take several hours to walk across the bay.
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

FAIREY/FAIRY/FAREY/FEARY, LAWSON, CHURCH, BENSON, HALSTEAD from Easton, Ellington, Eynesbury, Gt Catworth, Huntingdon, Spaldwick, Hunts;  Burnley, Lancs;  New Zealand, Australia & US.

HURST, BOLTON,  BUTTERWORTH, ADAMSON, WILD, MCIVOR from Milnrow, Newhey, Oldham & Rochdale, Lancs.

Offline Radcliff

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Re: Death on the sands of Morecambe Bay
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 05 November 20 22:11 GMT (UK) »
His burial states he drowned on the Sands March 1843 and was washed up on May 7th 1844 , buried on May 10th 1844,
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