Saturday, 31 March 2007

Samuel Steer Cruwys

A number of people seem to disappear from the English records and it is often difficult to establish if they have gone overseas or are simply in hiding under a previously unconsidered mis-spelling of the Cruwys surname. Samuel Steer Cruwys was for a long time on my list of missing persons. He disappeared after the 1871 census and there was no record of his death in the GRO indexes. I have now finally managed to track him down in Australia.

Samuel was born in 1850 in Halberton, Devon. He was the youngest of six children born to Sarah Steer and Robert Cruwys from the prolific Mariansleigh Cruwys family. After a short spell as a publican at the Stuckley Inn in West Worlington Samuel's father became a farmer. The family lived at Alstree Farm in Halberton, which is probably the present-day Alstree House in the Lower Town. By 1871 Samuel had left home and found employment as a wine merchant's assistant working for William Bartlett, a wine merchant and town councillor living in Fore Street, Tiverton. We know that Samuel married in 1873, either to Sarah Ellis or to Marion Helen Jamieson. It was probably around this time that Samuel set himself up in business as a tobacconist and ale, wine and spirit merchant in Bideford. His business did not prosper and Samuel's final appearance in the English records is in 1878 in the London Gazette when his business goes into liquidation. We next find Samuel's name in the indexes to wills in the Queensland State Archives in Australia

I have been unable to find out anything further about Samuel's life in Australia. There are, however, seven people with the surname Cruwys living in Queensland who are listed in the current telephone directory who might well be Samuel's descendants.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Margaret Cruwys

Details have arrived from Devon of the marriage of Lewis George Cruwys and Margaret Campbell Speke Abercrombie from the registers of St David's, Exeter. Margaret Cruwys is of course well known as the author of A Cruwys Morchard Notebook and for her writings in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association and Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries.

The engagement of "Captain L G Cruwys and Miss Abercrombie" was reported in The Times on 17th July 1917:
An engagement is announced between Captain L G Cruwys of Cruwys Morchard, Tiverton, Devon, and Margaret Campbell Speke, elder daughter of Colonel A H Abercrombie, late 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers, and Mrs Abercrombie.
It must have been impossible to make proper plans for a wedding during the war. Consequently no formal invitations were sent out and an open invitation was published in The Times on 6th November 1917: "No invitations are being sent, but all friends will be welcome at the church".

The marriage is recorded in the registers of St David's Exeter on 19th November 1917. At the time of the marriage Lewis George Cruwys, 36, was a Captain in the Recruiting Office and was living at Cruwys Morchard. Interestingly Margaret C S Cruwys, then aged 23 and living in St. David's, Exeter, was working as Lewis's clerk. The witnesses were R G Cruwys (Lewis's brother, Robert Geoffrey Cruwys, who was by this time the Rector of Cruwys Morchard) and A… Abercrombie. The identity of the second witness is uncertain and the writing was indistinct, but it was probably either Margaret's mother or father. The service was conducted by the Reverend Bell-Salter.

Lewis joined the army after graduating from Exeter College, Oxford, serving with the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and spending some time out in India. He resigned his commission in 1907 but volunteered for service with his old regiment at the outbreak of World War I. It would appear that he did not serve overseas and instead spent most of the war in Devon. The London Gazette records his appointment as "Chief Registration Officer of an Area" on 12th December 1916. It was perhaps around this time that his future wife, the young Margaret Abercrombie, came to work for him.
Margaret Cruwys is fondly remembered by the parishioners of Cruwys Morchard. She was a true "gentlewoman" without any airs and graces. For many years she ran a small farm at the Manor House. She was not afraid of hard work and used to milk the cows herself. Margaret was always very involved in parish affairs. The annual Cruwys Morchard flower show was held on the Manor lawn, where the exhibits were displayed on the squire's best Crown Derby china. The parishioners inspected the items with much trepidation, hardly daring to breathe! The photograph above shows Margaret Cruwys outside the parish hall in Cruwys Morchard with some of the local boys. The photograph was taken in 1935 around the time of the Silver Jubilee celebrations for King George V.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

More on Jeremiah Cruse the land surveyor

I have been advised that Jeremiah Cruse (1758-1819) has a few mentions in a recently reprinted book Memoirs of William Smith written by his nephew John Phillips in 1844. William Smith, the geologist, was in partnership with Jeremiah Cruse in Bath. The 2003 reprint of the book was issued by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in a very limited edition in 2003. The reprint contains additional material compiled by Professor Hugh Torrens, recently retired Professor of Geology at Keele University, and the author of the article "A family's origins and an incredible coincidence: the Cruse family of Bath, Avon and Warminster, Wiltshire". The book also contains a photograph of the Trim Bridge property where Jeremiah worked with William Smith. Further details of the book can be found on the website of the Royal Bath Scientific and Literary Institution.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Alfred Brace Cruse of India and Ceylon

David Cruse has sent me some wonderful material about Alfred Brace Cruse which I am delighted to publish here. Alfred was born on 21st September 1843 in Warminster, Wiltshire, and was the son of Thomas Cruse, a land surveyor and estate agent, and Ann Brace. Alfred married Elizabeth Ann Fonseca on 23rd February 1864 in Blacktown, Madras, India. At the time of the marriage he was described as a coffee planter. Alfred and Elizabeth had two children: Annie Florence, born in 1874 in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Arthur Edmund Cruse, born in 1879 in Ceylon. Arthur's wife died of sunstroke on 25th April 1880 in India. On 7th September 1880 he married Emma May Luttriel. They were married for just four years before Alfred died of cholera on 7th October 1884. Alfred is another illustrious descendant of the tree which originated in Rode, Somerset. Melanie McNaught, Alfred's great-granddaughter, has very kindly supplied the photograph.

The following obituary, transcribed by David Cruse, was published in the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers (Vol. Ixxxii. Session 1884-85. Part iv) and provides a fascinating account of Alfred's distinguished career.
ALFRED BRACE CRUSE, born on the 21st of September, 1843, was the eldest son of Thomas Cruse, of Warminster, Wilts, land-agent and surveyor, and grandson of Joseph Brace, of Bath, who for many years was associated with Sir John Rennie, Past-President Inst. C. E. in engineering works. He was educated at Lord Weymouth's Grammar School, Warminster, and then entered his Father's office in which he remained until July 1860, when he sailed for India, under a three years' engagement with Mr. Alpin Grant Fowler, owner of coffee estates in the Neilgherry Hills. Having completed this engagement, and finding the position, after Mr Fowler's death, not altogether advantageous, he removed to the city of Madras, where he gained the notice of some influential friends, and through them a situation with the Madras Railway as Inspector of Works, being stationed for two years at Cuddapah. In November 1866 he entered the service of the Madras Irrigation and Canal Company, under Mr. J. H. Latham, M. Inst. C. E., the Chief Engineer, and was first employed on the surveys of the Nellore branch, 100 miles in length, and subsequently as Assistant Engineer on the construction of the Pennair Anicut; also in laying out the line and on the construction of 8 miles of navigable canal, with its connected aqueducts, locks, bridges, and culverts. In 1871 he left the continent for Ceylon, having obtained an appointment as Assistant Engineer in the Public Works Department. At this time his principal work was constructing tanks and canals near Matara, in the Southern Province, upon which many hundred coolies were employed. In 1872 he had charge of the construction of the Elle Halle Tank, in doing which he found it hard work to make the surveys, and run the levels, through thick jungle (abounding with leeches innumerable), and to follow contours of the hill-sides some 30 or 40 miles round. This tank contained 240 acres of water surface. In the following year he was in charge of 400 miles of roads, besides buildings, and five taluks. He afterwards went to Denegama, where he completed the Ellawela irrigation works; superintended those in Upper Gangaboda Pattuwa; improved Kekanadure channels, to facilitate the distribution of water, and by December 1876 finished the repairs of the Denegama Tank.

In 1878 a famine occurred in Ceylon, which greatly taxed the powers of those in authority in providing food and labour. In 1879 Mr. Alfred B. Cruse was employed on some surveys for village tanks near Panadura, in the Western Province. He had also charge of the relief works near Colombo, upon which about two thousand villagers were employed. The work (one of several schemes surveyed by him) was a flood-outlet at Talpitiya, about 19 miles on the road towards Galle, by which lands in the Ratnapura and Kalutara districts were drained, and rendered capable of being cultivated. In 1880 he was at Beregama, surveying for a channel 7 miles long, running through dense jungle.

Early in 1881 he was, at the instance of his old chief, Mr. J. H. Latham, appointed divisional engineer of the lower part of the Madras Irrigation Canal, 82 miles, then in thorough working order; but some masonry works, including a large wharf and warehouse, as well as divisional office, docks, and foreman's hut, were in progress. Next he became Local Fund Engineer at Cuddapah, and had charge of 63 miles of canal, which was used for both irrigation and navigation, and in 1883 accepted a similar appointment at Ongole, 75 miles from Nellore. In 1884 he removed in the same capacity to Ellore, and in October of that year he obtained an advanced post, and went to Cocanada to take over the charge of his new position; but on returning to Ellore he was seized with cholera, and died, after a few hours' illness, on the 7th of October, 1884, leaving a widow and two children.

Twenty-four years' continuous residence in the East, especially in unhealthy parts of Ceylon, had caused Mr. Cruse to become a victim to temporary attacks of neuralgia and fever, but few men of an English constitution could so long have endured the Indian climate, with the amount of labour and responsibility which he sustained. He was regarded as a hard-working, intelligent, and trustworthy officer, of unimpeachable character, and was a valuable acquisition on any staff. He was warm-hearted, and kept up constant communication with his home friends.
The following testimonials, again transcribed by David Cruse, are all in the collection of Melanie McNaught:

Reservoir Surveys, Bellary
Shemoga, May 3rd, 1869.

Mr. A. B. Cruse has on my recommendation been appointed Assistant Engineer on the Co.’s staff. He is very accurate and methodical in all he does and his stated facts can be thoroughly relied on. For the whole of the setting out of the Canal near Cuddapah, its anicut, aquaducts, in fact the whole of the work, whether masonry or earthwork, I relied and properly so on him, and he is as good in office as in out-of-door work, and his delineation of work on Paper is admirable. I speak from the experience of some Years.

M. Inst. C. E.

Madras Irrigation and Canal Co.,
Shemoga, November 3rd, 1869

My Dear Roberts,

Cruse, whose name I think I must have mentioned to you, and who has been with me 3 years or more, wants your interest.

He is Assistant Engineer with our Company but wants to leave if he can make interest elsewhere. He is an Englishman, thoroughly understands all that has to be done in work, is very correct and is a first rate field hand. Can you get him something worth having with West or whoever has charge of the new lines, or in another way can you forward his views. I strongly recommend him.

Yours sincerely,

No. 520.
Madras Irrigation and Canal Co.,
Pennnair Division,
Adamapully, 29th April, 1870.

A. B. CRUSE, Esq.,
Assistant Engineer.


Herewith I have the honor to forward to you two letters received from the Agent and Manager yesterday evening.

One of which, No. 111, is the usual form of notice that your services with this Company will terminate on the 31st October. I need scarcely add, how very sorry I am that such notice is rendered absolutely necessary on account of diminution of the Company's funds, and how very sorry I shall be to lose the services of so able an Assistant Engineer as yourself.

I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient servant,
Executive Engineer.

Madras Irrigation and Canal Co.,
Pennair Division,
Adamapully, 29th April, 1870.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. A. B. Cruse for nearly three years, and during a portion of this time he has been serving on the above Works under me as Assistant Engineer.

I cannot speak too highly of his abilities. He is zealous, accurate, and painstaking in all his work. He is thoroughly competent to carry out the duties of an Assistant Engineer. I have had many opportunities of witnessing his energy and method of working. He is quite competent in laying out Works, Surveying and Levelling, and generally of Superintending Works. Some of the largest masonry works on this Division have been most creditably executed under his immediate superintendence. For more than twelve months he has had charge of over eight miles of Canal — including earthworks and masonry — and the manner in which this length has been conducted reflects the highest credit upon him.

The general reduction of the Staff of Engineers, owing to the approaching completion of the Works is the cause of his having to leave.

I feel confident that wherever Mr. Cruse is employed he will give the same satisfaction as he has hitherto done, not only to myself but to the other Engineers who have had charge of the Pennair Division under whom he has been serving — all of whom speak very highly of him.

M. Inst. C. E.

Madras Irrigation and Canal Co.,
Chief Engineer’s Office
Kurnool, 6th May, 1870.

Mr A. B. Cruse was appointed 28th November, 1866, as Surveyor on the Nellore Surveys, and was transferred from Nellore to Pennair on the 13th April, 1867, to assist in the construction of the Main Canal and Anicut across the Pennair. His salary was increase on the 17th February 1868.

Promoted from Surveyor to Assistant Engineer on the 17th August, 1868 with increased salary.

Salary increased again 5th March, 1869.

Mr Cruse fairly won his promotion by the success which attended his energy and care when engaged on Works in the Pennair Division.

His superior's wishes seem to me to have always been faithfully and prudently carried out, his field work has always been highly valued by his Divisional Engineer.

I regret that under present circumstances of the Company have not been able longer to defer his discharge.


To A. B. Cruse, Esq.
Chief Engineer.
Ootacamund, 13th May, 1870

I have great pleasure in testifying herewith to the value of Mr. A. B. Cruse’s services. He has been employed on the 10th section for upwards of three years, a great part of which time he was my only Assistant. I always found him a most willing and zealous Engineer and shall be most happy to do anything in my power to obtain him further employment.

He is leaving this company’s services on account of the reduction of the staff, owing to the completion of the work.

M. Inst. C. E.,
Executive Engineer, 10th Section
M. I. & C. Co.

Madras Irrigation and Canal Co.,
Agent’s Office
Madras, 16th May, 1870

My Dear Mr. Mackenzie,

As our Works are approaching completion we are obliged to dispense with the services of a great number of Engineers.

Mr. A. B. Cruse is one of those I am very anxious to be employed again.
He is one of our Assistant Engineers, and has been employed by us for three years and a half; during that period he has given great satisfaction, to all the Officers under whom he has worked.

He is a hard-working, intelligent, trustworthy Officer of unimpeachable character, and would be an acquisition wherever Works are going on. I understand that Engineers are likely to be required for the Carnatic Railway, with which you are connected, and I am sure that Mr. Cruse will be found a valuable Officer if a vacancy offers for him at this Work.

Agent and Manager

Kurnool, 15th August, 1870.

My Dear Mr. Cruse,

I am glad to hear that you commence your work on distribution to-day. I am very glad that you should have an opportunity, on a distinct piece of work, in gaining full credit for the care and diligence I am sure you have always bestowed on your work.

Yours very truly,

Kurnool., 28th February, 1876.

My Dear Sir,

I have much pleasure in proposing you as an associate of the Institution.
Your letter would have been answered earlier had it been possible. I have been in camp and very busy.

I am not in a position to offer any permanent employment to you now. I am glad to see that you have had no idle time since you left.

Yours very truly

A. B. Cruse, Esq.
Colombo, 15th May, 1877.

This is to certify that Mr A. B. Cruse has been for about 6 years in the Irrigation Branch of the Public Works Dept., Ceylon, during which time he has been in charge of two important Tanks, Halli Ella and Ela Vella, the works of which he has carried out extremely well, and especially the latter. The works consist in both cases of a high bund with sluice tower, culvert, and spill water. He has also been employed in the reconstruction of a bund at Denegama Tank, which had previously, when in other hands, twice failed, and his work here has been excellent, and, considering all the difficulties of a very bad site, cheap.

I give this certificate to Mr Cruse as I am about to resign my appointment under the Ceylon Govt in whose service Mr. Cruse still remains.

(Signed) C. WOODWARD, Capt., R. E.,
Asst. for Irrigation to the Director
Public Works, Ceylon.

No. 904
Colombo, 4th August 1879



I have the honor to forward the enclosed application for an increase of salary from Mr Cruse of the Irrigation Department and to state that this officer has done good service in the construction of the Flood Outlet Channel at Talpitya, and at the Irrigation Works at Wean Watta Wewa.

(Signed) F. VINE.
Provincial Assistant,
P. W. D.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

John Cruse and Mary Rook

I have recently made contact with David Cruse who has been researching the Cruse family name for many years and has done a considerable amount of work on the Cruses of London, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Somerset. David has very kindly sent me outlines of the various trees which he has worked on.

David is descended from John Cruse and Mary Rook, who married on 30th April 1814 in Whitechapel, London. At the time of the marriage John was around 32 or 33 whereas Mary was only about 16 or 17. Mary was already a few weeks' pregnant and it's quite possible that the marriage took place without the permission of Mary's parents. After the marriage they returned to Mary's home parish of Bourn in Cambridgeshire. Their daughter Marian was baptised on Christmas Day 1814 at St Mary's, Bourn. Their son Edward was baptised one year later on 26th November 1815 in Bourn. Shortly thereafter John and Mary seem to have decided to return to London. We have records of two further children, Matilda, born about 1820 in St Luke's, Finsbury, and Thomas John Cruse, born about 1821 in St Luke's. By 1841 the family were living at James Street, Finsbury. John and his son Thomas were both working as carmen (drivers of horse-drawn vehicles for delivering goods and parcels) and Mary and her daughter Matilda were silk weavers. By 1851 they had moved to 15 Memel Street, Finsbury. John, now 70, was a labourer and Mary, 54, was a fruiterer. Their daughter Matilda, 31, was still living at home and was working as a silk winder. John died shortly after the 1851 census.

Normally it is a straightforward matter to trace a birth for those people who are included in the 1851 census. However, John Cruse has been somewhat more problematic. In 1851 he gave his place of birth simply as Berkshire, but in 1841, when living in Finsbury, he indicated that he was born "in the county". Working on the assumption that the 1851 census was more accurate David Cruse has spent many years researching the Cruses of Berkshire in an attempt to discover John's origins. In the course of his research he has assembled a large tree comprising most of the Cruses in Berkshire. The only likely candidate he has been able to find is John Cruse who was baptised on 23rd February 1783 in Lambourn, Berkshire, the son of Edward and Mary Cruse. John Cruse married Ann Young on 12th October 1806 in Lambourn. They had one son John, born in 1811. John's baptism is recorded in the Coleshill parish registers. Coleshill was then in Berkshire but is now part of Oxfordshire. John Crewes was privately baptised on 28th April 1811 and received into the church on 16th June 1811. There are no further Crewse/Cruse baptisms in Coleshill and no burials so we assume that John and Ann must have moved away from the parish shortly after the birth of their son. If this John Cruse did indeed marry Mary Rook in Whitechapel in 1814 then Ann must have died some time between 1811 and 1813. There are no matching burials in the Berkshire Burial Index, which now covers most of Berkshire, so it would appear that they left Berkshire and possibly moved to London. There is however no easy way to check the London burials so the proposed scenario will be very difficult to prove. Unfortunately the Whitechapel Marriage Register provided no clues as the vicar only recorded the names of the bride and groom and the date of the marriage. However, the fact that John was so much older than Mary does suggest that it was his second marriage.

Mary Rook has been much easier to trace. She was baptised on 26th February 1797 in Bourn, Cambridgeshire. She was the daughter of Thomas Rook and his second wife Sarah Adams, who married on 17th May 1796 in Bourn. By an astonishing coincidence, one of the witnesses at their wedding was Edward Bodger who is my husband's great-great-great-great-grandfather. Edward Bodger was a tailor, and the father of fourteen children. His son John Bodger (my husband's ancestor) was the head gamekeeper to the Earl de la Warr at Bourn Hall.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Robson Cruse and the Battle of Trafalgar

Russell Cruse has alerted me to an interesting website which has some fascinating information about the HMS Tonnant, the ship on which Robson Cruse served as a midshipman in the Battle of Trafalgar.

HMS Tonnant was fourth in line in Admiral Collingwood's column and was the only 80-gun ship in Lord Nelson's fleet at Trafalgar. She was at the centre of the action throughout the battle and fought at close quarters with the 74-gun Algesiras, the flagship of the French Admiral Magan.

Twenty-six men from the HMS Tonnant were killed at the Battle of Trafalgar. The National Archives has a list of the names of all the men killed in action. A further fifty men from HMS Tonnant were injured in the battle. Robson Cruse must have been an incredibly brave and lucky man.

The ship's captain, Charles Tyler, was severely wounded in the battle by a musket ball in his right thigh. Tyler was awarded the Naval Gold Medal for his valour and a sword of honour from the Patriotic Fund. His medal was auctioned by Bonhams in July 2005 and sold for £89,600. His Trafalgar Sword and Belt sold for the astonishing sum of £179,200. Also included in the auction was an intriguing item described as "The Glorious Victory of the 21" by Charles Tyler, Captain of HMS Tonnant, which sold for £4,800.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Lieutenant Robson Cruse of the Royal Navy

While following up on the tree of the Cruses of Rode, Somerset, I became intrigued by the story of Robson Cruse who had a short but very eventful life in the Royal Navy. There is much research yet to be done but I thought it would be helpful to provide a summary of what is currently known in the hope that other researchers will be able to add to the existing information.

Robson Cruse was the third son of Jeremiah Cruse the land surveyor and Mary Macey. He was born on 16th June 1785 in Frome, Somerset. He was baptised later that same year in Rode, though we currently have no record of the exact date of his baptism. Robson joined the Royal Navy and was at the first Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801 and at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. He is listed in the Trafalgar Ancestors database which tells us that at the time of the battle Robson was a 21-year-old midshipman on the HMS Tonnant.

Robson married Christiana Philoena Tresidder on 10th March 1814 in Falmouth, Cornwall. Christiana was born in Falmouth on 2nd November 1784. We have so far found records of six children from this marriage. Their eldest son, John George Tresidder Cruse, was baptised on 26th June 1816 in Falmouth. Their eldest daughter, Mary Philoena Cruse, was baptised on 29th December 1818 in Kingston Deverill, Wiltshire. By 1822 the family were living in Devon and Robson had been promoted to Lieutenant. Twins Emma Charlotte Teresa Cruse and Edwin Corfield Cruse were born on 2nd February 1822 in Torquay, and baptised on 13th February 1822 in the Parish Church of Tormoham. Edwin died just a few weeks later and was buried on 23rd March 1822 at Tormoham. Emma died the following week and was buried on 1st April 1822 at Tormoham. Two more children, again probably twins, Henry William Cruse and Sidney Edward Cruse, were baptised on 23rd August 1827 in Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. It seems likely that further children were born on the Isle of Wight but the parish registers have not yet been checked.

Robson died on 3rd May 1831 in Speenhamland, Berkshire. His death was announced in The Times on 10th May 1831:
On the 3d last., at Speenhamland, Berks, in the 44th year of his age, Lieut. R Cruse, R.N. He displayed great bravery in rescuing the captain and crew of the Nightingale, wrecked on the Shingles off the Isle of Wight, the 7th of February 1829.
He was buried on 7th May 1831 at St Mary the Virgin in Speen, Berkshire. After Robson's death, Christiana moved back to Cornwall. At the time of the 1841 census she was living at Tyringsham Cottage in Lelant. By 1851 she had moved to The Terrace (later known as Tregenna Terrace) in St Ives. She spent the rest of her days in this house living with her unmarried daughter Mary Cruse and her servant Mary Ann Harris until her eventual death in 1875 at the age of 91 years.

After reading the brief lines in The Times about Robson's heroic act of bravery I couldn't resist checking to see if the newspaper had published a story of the rescue. I was delighted to find that the issue dated 13th February 1829 contained a long account of the disaster which I have transcribed below.

YARMOUTH, ISLE OF WIGHT. – On the afternoon of the 7th instant, His Majesty's schooner Nightingale, commanded by Lieutenant George Wood, on her passage from Plymouth to Portsmouth, struck on the Shingles. A signal of distress was made, by firing guns &c and immediate assistance was afforded by Mr. Burnidge, pilot, of Cowes, and also by Lieut. Cruse, R.N., and his boats from Sconce Point coast guard station, who rendered every necessary assistance to get the anchors out at low water; a galley from the Stag revenue cutter also reached the vessel just in time to be of great assistance at low water. About 6 p.m., the wind being light from the N.W., and remarkably fine weather with smooth water, the vessel lying on her starboard bilge, no doubt was apprehended by those on board of the vessel's getting off without any damage; but on the flood tide making, the sea began to rise with the greatest rapidity, and the boats left the shoal and anchored in deep water in safety, ready to come alongside if required. All hands were employed on board in shifting the ballast from the run forward in the hold, securing the hatches and preparing to make sail, not doubting but she would get off. About eight p.m. the sea became so great, that it appeared dangerous for the boats to come alongside, and the foresail was hoisted on the foremast, in hopes it would assist the sea in lifting the vessel off into deep water, every eye on board anxiously watching the Hurst Lights, to see if the vessel changed her position, but to no effect; the chain was unshackled and veered out, the vessel striking hard on the ground; the sea became terrific, and now the vessel laboured much, the starboard bulwarks partly stove in, and the sea making a clear breach over the vessel, which alarmed the poor sailors who were working at the pumps; but being cheered up by the officers, they again went to work; but a heavy and frightful sea now struck the vessel, which washed every soul from one side to the other, the companion and fore-scuttle were washed away, and the vessel filled instantly; the shrieks on board at the instant were horrible, every soul expecting momentary death, and as she now fell on her beam ends, it was with the greatest difficulty all hands could gain the weather rigging. A halloo was made by every one on board as a signal for the boats, but for more than half an hour they were kept in a dreadful suspense, it being very dark and no boat seen; every one became hoarse, and being benumbed with cold and wet, the sea breaking over her in every direction, all hands gave themselves up to despair; at last the joyful sound was heard, "The boats are in sight," yet their crews were afraid to venture near the vessel until they were told there was no danger: but the tide running so rapid, and the poor men being so long in the boats they had the greatest difficulty in getting alongside, which they did one by one, the people lowering and throwing themselves down any how they could into them, being so overcome with joy, having been rescued from the jaws of death, which appeared inevitable; but the divine will of a most merciful Creator ordained it otherwise, and every soul appeared to express his grateful thanks in offering up short but sincere prayers to Almighty God for his safety.

The number of persons saved was 34, 30 of whom consisted of the officers and crew, and the remaining four persons were, Lieutenant Cruse, R.N., Mr. Bennett, chief officer of Hurst station, Robert Dixon, a deputed mariner of the Stag revenue cutter, and Mr. Burnidge, the Cowes pilot, whose vessel took all hands on board from the boats. It is a painful duty to state that the Commander's wife perished on board; the heavy sea which filled the vessel washed the surgeon, who had Mrs. Wood round the waist, from one side of the vessel to the other, and down the hatchway by the mainmast, where she perished; the Surgeon with the greatest difficulty saved himself. The poor Commander, who appears to be worn out in the service, being crippled in both hands, and having been more than 30 years a lieutenant, during which period he has fought many battles, and has been severely wounded (his dear wife sharing those dangers with him), endeavoured to extricate his wife, and got the assistance of a man to put a rope around her, but to no purpose, she was dead; her last words to her husband were, "Ah, my dear children, may the Almighty spare one of our lives for your sakes." Lieutenant Cruse endeavoured all in his power to persuade Mrs. Wood to leave the vessel in one of his boats, long before any danger was apprehended, and pointed out his house near the beach, but no, she would rather be with her husband. He then endeavoured to persuade her to go on board the pilot-boat, where she would be near; but these solicitations were not accepted, and the poor lady seemed determined to await the danger. She has left three children. A poor unfortunate Lieutenant Cole, of the Royal Navy, a passenger on board, and who was insane, was also drowned on board. Several of the officers and seamen, including the Commander, were very much wounded, bruised, and hurt – the latter person was with great difficulty saved. Much credit is due to that zealous officer Lieutenant Cruse, who was the principal instrument in saving the lives with his boats, and who did every thing in his power to get the vessel on, and ordered a sufficient number of boats to be in readiness, as the Nightingale's boats were leaky and unserviceable. Mr. Bennett also did every thing in his power, and was very zealous throughout this trying occasion, and did all he could do to get the vessel off. R. Dixon and all the boats' crews did their utmost, and deserve thanks for their services.
See also the follow up post on Robson Cruse and the Battle of Trafalgar.