HEAVY  GALE  VEERS from SW to NW

SCHOONER WRECKED at PEN BRUSH

FISHGUARD LIFEBOAT LAUNCHED

 

At 12.30 a.m. on Tuesday 3 January 1899 William Owen of Garn Fawr, arrived on horse back at Goodwick with the news that he had seen a vessel off the small island of Pen Brush firing rockets. He told the chief officer of the coastguard, and James Thomas coxswain of Fishguard lifeboat.

Owen then hastened back home where he was told that a vessel had struck the rocks and had sunk at about 1 a.m.

Coxswain Thomas assembled his crew and the lifeboat left at 2 a.m. Enoch Lewis was second coxswain, and Shemuel Morgan the bowman. There were 12 oarsmen. As soon as they rounded the Cow and Calf they encountered the gale, and heavy seas rolling in from the south-west. The sails were reefed and the boat had to tack back and forth to make progress. As a result it did not reach the scene until 6 a.m. They searched the area but found no survivors.

The coastguard life-saving apparatus company set off for the scene via the high ground of Pencaer - not an easy task at night. They were met by another messenger who told them that the vessel had sunk so returned to Goodwick.

Men at Pen Brush had thrown lines hoping that survivors could be pulled ashore. But there were no survivors.

Capt D.M. Symmonds of Fishguard visited the scene of the wreck. He found one mast still standing and gear washing about. He noted that the spars were of pitch pine and bright varnished; the main gaff was cream coloured. He was of the opinion that it was a British schooner of about 150 tons and would have had a crew of four. 

Then broken pieces of the hull came ashore. One piece carried the name Ellen and another Agnes.  A third just the letter W followed by a full-stop. After enquiries it was concluded that the wreck was of the schooner AGNES ELLEN, of Padstow, which had been bound from Runcorn to Looe, Cornwall, with coal. Albert Peters of Devonport was the master.

Over the next few days four bodies were recovered and taken to Talygaer farm. They were identified as:

John Owen Peters the 15 year old son of the schooner's master

Sydney Porter said to be a native of Malta though living in Cornwall

Louis Smith a coloured man from Mauritius

Johan Hanson the mate a native of Copenhagen

The funeral of the four was held on the afternoon of Monday 9 January at Llanwnda church. Rev Mr Johns, of Manorowen, officiated.

Mrs Peters, widow of Capt Peters and mother of fifteen year old John Owen, had just arrived at Llanwnda, and asked for the lid of her son's coffin to be opened. As this was done she touched his face and exclaimed "O, ti machgen tlws i"   (Oh, my beautiful boy) and cut a lock of his hair.

The bodies of Capt Albert Peters master of the Agnes Ellen, and seaman David Thomas of Llanon, Cardiganshire were not given up by the sea.

Though Mrs Peters lived at Devonport she was obviously a native of Wales and spoke the language too.