Loss of the John TAYLEUR


Loss of the John TAYLEUR

Southport Visiter, Jan 27th 1854

Loss of the John TAYLEUR and 300 lives.

Accounts received on Monday at Liverpool of the loss of the magnificent, new, iron emigrant ship JOHN TAYLEUR on the Irish coast on her passage from Liverpool to Melbourne.

A new ship of 2,200 tons reg, commanded by Capt NOBLE, a gentleman of experience. She had a full cargo of merchandise and sailed from the Mersey on Thursday last in tow of the steam tug VICTORY, being left by the steamer at 7pm, 6 miles, E.S.E, of the Skerries. Nothing more was heard of her in Liverpool till Monday morning when the terrible news was heard from Dublin that she had been wrecked on Lambay Island on Saturday and that 300 passengers and crew had drowned.

She was built at Warrington for Messers MOORE and Co of Liverpool and was intended to form one of the Messers PILKINGTON and WILSON’S, White Star Line of Australian packets.

Her dimensions:-

Length of keel, 210ft.

Rake forward, 15ft 4ins.

Sternpost rake, 5ft.

Over all with her counter, 250ft.

Breadth of beam, 40ft.

Depth of hold, 30ft.

Immediately after her launch she was brought to Liverpool and fitted in a superior style, she was built and fitted at a cost of about £30,000, which is fully covered in insurance in Liverpool and London, in Liverpool to £25,000. She had nearly 500 passengers on board, the majority a superior class of emigrants.

Posted in the Underwriter’s rooms in Liverpool on Monday:-

The TAYLEUR cleared with the under mentioned passengers and crew:-


Steerage 488

Cabin 16

Crew, officers and men 70

In all 574, saved about 230, leaves to be accounted for 344.

The JOHN TAYLEUR struck at noon on Saturday owing to not answering her rudder, it not being large enough for her size. She very soon went to pieces.

A raft was constructed were great numbers embarked, but it drifted on the rocks and upset, all on it perished.

A rope was then conveyed ashore by one of the swimmers, 100 attempted to gain the rocks by hanging on to it, when the vessel went on her side, which slackened the rope, and the entire of them lost their hold and went down.

Capt NOBLE was saved landing in only his flannel shirt and the surgeon had his wife and child on board and attempted to swim ashore with his child on his back , his wife on one arm, the three unfortunately perished.

One lady had £3,000 sewn in her stays and offered £2,000 to anyone who could save her, but in vain.

A child of 5mths is saved but both parents are drowned.

A German emigrant saved his child by bearing it in his teeth from the wreck to the shore.

Only 7 women were saved, the rest, 197 drowned, there are now 60 dead bodied on the island and 200 survivors.

On Sunday, Mr Plunket CAREY, Sir Roger PALMER’S under-agent, manned a fishing smack and in spite of the storm and fog reached Lambay Island, with a cargo of 14 gals of whiskey, several sheep, oatmeal, bread and potatoes sent by Sir Roger PALMER for the relief of the distressed people, it is possible without this assistance many would have died of cold and hunger during the night.

Monday morning, Mr CAREY started from Rush with bread and coffee and a steamer has been lying off Lambay Island all night, but it is expected an inquest will be held before all the dead can be removed. The survivors will be taken to Dublin in the course of today.

The PRINCE, Capt DEARLE of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Co was despatched yesterday to assist the survivors, she arrived at the North Wall this afternoon, bring 230 people, leaving 20 in Lambay who were unable to be moved due to suffering injuries. The Capt and survivors of the crew were still on the Island, striving to save any property washed ashore.

The number of cabin passengers were 26, 3 have been saved. The crew were all saved except 6.

The Dublin Express lamenting the death of a Mr James CODD of Dublin says:-

“The TAYLEUR, when leaving the dock, sustained some light injury, and this gentleman made the following, almost prophetic remark to his companion, “I hope nothing wrong happens through the voyage, for do you not remember the very same thing occurred to the last vessel that was lost, and I trust it is not a bad omen.”

The agent for Lord TALBOT left for the island a 3am on Monday to carry out his Lordship’s instructions, not least praiseworthy of which, to allocate a piece of ground attached to the graveyard, [there is little space] for the interment of the bodies.

The Constabulary under the command of Mr KELLY, of Swords have been despatched to the island to take charge of property saved from the wreck.

A remarkable circumstance which occurred, the Blacksmith of the EVA, who had a narrow escape when she was wrecked, was a passenger on the TAYLEUR, and was rescued a second time.

Amongst the saved was a woman whose husband and child were drowned and had £2,000 on her person, and an infant who cannot give account of itself or parents.

A family named HENDERSON, husband, wife and three children, who belonged to the Society of Friends, whose passage cost £100, contributed by the Friends of Liverpool, are amongst the lost.

The passengers consisted mainly of Irish, 216 of theses were women, only three survived. A gentleman who might have saved himself, wouldn’t part with his child, and they perished together. Three men carried a line through the surf and attached it to rocks, a distance of about 30yds, by means of this a great number were saved.

A respectable and intelligent man Mr BADCOCK, says he had been 9yrs at sea and he believed the Capt, professional and attentive. The weather from the moment they left the Mersey was “dirty,” with a stiff gale blowing from the south east. He also made a most remarkable remark, that of all the 8 compasses on the TAYLEUR no two corresponded at any time he compared them, which he did frequently. Again he says, “ The vessel would not “stay,” with the canvas she was carrying. When the vessel struck a great many passengers were in their berths, suffering sea sickness, he had time to get on deck but a great many could not rise, and drowned were they lay.

Among the passengers saved were a man and woman named CARLEY, husband and wife, whose adventures invest portions of history, with all the interests marking romance in real life.

In the year 1841 he was sentenced at the Rutland assizes to transportation for 10yrs for sheep-slaughtering. At that time he was about to marry a young woman who had, “Loved not wisely but well.” She was in court during his trial, indulging in the anxious hope the jury would acquit him. The delivery of the sentence was the precursor of a painful scene. She shrieked, threw her arms around the prisoner’s neck and became overpowered with grief.

He was, however, sent out of the country and she was compelled to make stays for the support of herself and her young child, the paternity of which the convict did not deny.

12 years passed without the woman receiving any intelligence from Botany Bay. One morning, in October last, however, she had been to Morcott on business, and entering a railway carriage for the purpose of returning to Stamford. In the same carriage were several men, one of whom so instantly fixed his eyes on her that she was induced to change her position in order to escape the apparent rudeness.

The man, however, continued to gaze upon her, till at last, catching her eye, he exclaimed, “ I’m the man!” She recognised the voice of the long lost Samuel CARLEY, and, after fainting, gave expression to her great joy. In a few days they were married, and CARLEY, who had been a successful gold-digger [having been released from the penal settlement], gave so glowing a description of Australia that he had little difficulty in persuading her to accompany him to the land of gold.

They were among the steerage passengers on the TAYLEUR, and when the ship struck, CARLEY, was one of the few husbands who succeeded in saving his own life and that of his wife.

I have found the inquiry into the above which refers to the vessel as the TAYLEUR and will add the transcription to the page in time

Information recieved from Edward BOURKE, a diver who has written a book on the loss

The mystery of the "John Tayleur"

Some sources mention the John Tayleur as the wreck on Lambay and it has been difficult to deduce why this systematic error has been perpetuated. The evidence of the Lloyds inspection and the bell inscription point unequivocally to the name having been simply Tayleur. In this contemporary newspaper accounts are not unanimous in that a couple refer to the incorrect name.

The story may be explained by a painting by Samuel Walters dated 1827 showing the John Taylor on the Mersey. The painting is on display at Liverpool Maritime Museum. This ship was altogether different from the Tayleur. Her registration was in 1818 listing the owners as John Livingston, John Taylor and William Potter all of Liverpool. She was reregistered 27 May 1824 having been sold to Peter Chaloner 22/64th, Thomas Chaloner 11/64th Vincent Chaloner 11/64th and Thomas Bland 20/64th. The vessel was sold again in 1838 and broken up at Liverpool in September 1843. It would appear that the only Lloyds entry found when the wreck of the Tayleur occurred in 1854 was this older vessel and some newspaper reporters wrongly concluded that the Tayleur lost on Lambay in 1854 was the same vessel.

Snippets after the loss of the Tayleur, 1854


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