BRIG  AGNES LEE  WRECKED on CARDIGAN BAR

 

The brig  AGNES LEE, of North Shields, arrived at Cork in December 1848 with a cargo of wheat from Alexandria. The master John Clarence discharged the crew as he awaited orders for the port of discharge of the cargo. His wife Elizabeth travelled to Cork to join her husband with their infant son. Receiving orders to proceed to Liverpool, a new crew was signed on and the vessel left Cork on Tuesday 9 January 1849.

Within a few hours a heavy westerly gale struck the Irish Sea and the brig began to leak. All hands were called to the pumps but the water gained on their efforts. The gale continued through Wednesday and on Thursday Capt Clarence decided to make for Cardigan. 

The brig was seen approaching the mouth of the Teifi in the early afternoon but as it was low water she struck the bar and was engulphed in heavy breaking seas. Very soon a large group of fishermen and mariners arrived on the scene. The sea was so bad that attempting to launch a boat was out of the question. Then a boat was seen to leave the stranded vessel and make its way to the beach. The boat was swamped and all were thrown into the sea. Retired master mariner George Bowen, of St Dogmaels, organised a human chain and entered the sea to haul three men ashore.

The Clarences' infant son, born when his father was at sea, was washed ashore alive but died in a very short time.

One member of the crew was left aboard the wreck and took to the rigging. On Friday morning he could still be seen and, as the sea was quieter, a boat was able to launch to bring him ashore.

The survivors were:  John Charles Fortune, of Cork, the mate, and seamen Timothy Horliton, Thomas Clement, and Michael Pierce. Pierce being the man who spent the night on the mast.

Those who drowned were: Capt John Clarence, his wife Elizabeth and their infant son. Seamen Michael Tobin, Charles Thomas, Henry King, and Francis Petersen. The cook John Ancross and the young apprentices named Richard and James.