"The Newry"

On the 14th of April 1830 the 500 ton sailing vessel "Newry" left Warren Point, County Down, Ireland bound for Quebec in Canada with nearly 400 emigrants on board. Captain Crosby chose to go south around Ireland because of the wind direction, And as he sailed her  down the east coast of Ireland, the wind iPorth_Newry.JPG (77687 bytes)ncreased to storm force and his vessel was driven across the sea towards the Llyn Peninsula. She struck the rocks on the 16th at Porth Orion, Anelog, in the middle of the night, when all his passengers were asleep or seasick. The Captain ordered the mainmast to be cut down so that the survivors could us it as a bridge to get to safety, but the crew had other ideas, and they used the same "bridge" to make their own escape, and left the passengers at the mercy of the storm.

Over the next ten hours a local sailor Dafydd Griffiths and two other local men used the same mainmast to lead 375 men woman and children to safety, with only Capt Crosby, the ships mate and one crew member to help. Dafydd Griffiths was awarded the R.N.L.I. silver medal and 20 for his bravery. (A considerable amount of money in those days) For the poor people that were rescued their ordeal was not over, they spent a cold night huddled together in local barns, and many of the poor cottages actually burned part of their household furniture in order to warm their destitute and shivering guests. The next day they started the long journey on foot to Holyhead (70 miles), so that they could catch a ferry back to Ireland. With a lot of them still naked they set off, but records show that they stopped at Caernarfon (30 miles) where the local people gave them clothes some money and food.

Twenty five people lost their lives that terrible night. But without the bravery of three local men it could have been a lot worse.



Chester Chronicle

(Friday 23rd April 1830)

Melancholy and Fatal Shipwreck

On Friday night last, the 'Newry', Captain Crosbie, from the port of Newry, bound for Quebec with about four hundred passengers on board, ran on the rocks at Portinclineon, near Bardsey, in Carnarvon Bay and was dashed to pieces in a few hours, two hundred of the passengers perishing in the wreck. The ship left Newry on Wednesday, and in beating down the channel, the weather being very foggy, she got too far into Carnarvon Bay and was driven onto the rocks about nine o'clock on Friday night. A considerable part of the passengers, who were principally Irish emigrants, were below when the ship struck and such was the violence of the shock that the ladders between decks were knocked away and the ship filling with water, every soul below perished.  The Captain, with the crew and about half the passengers, succeeded in reaching the shore, though in what manner we have not learnt. They were all in the most wretched condition, many of them having lost everything that they possessed in the world. The greatest part of them are at Carnarvon, where they have been treated with great kindness by the inhabitants. A passenger arrived from Portinclineon at Carnarvon, a short time before the last accounts were sent away, who stated that the ship had gone to pieces, and that the shore was covered with dead bodies. Among those who have perished, are said to be several respectable families.


Chester Chronicle

(Friday 30th April 1830)

Most Calamitous Shipwreck

In our last, we gave such particulars as had then reached us of the melancholy loss in Carnarvon Bay of the 'Newry', Captain Crosbie, outward bound from Ireland to Quebec, with 400 passengers, mostly Irish emigrants on board. The number of lives lost was stated to be two hundred, but we are glad to see that the North Wales Chronicle estimates it at between 40 and 50 and this statement is corroborated by a letter in the Liverpool papers from the Captain to his owners, giving the particulars of this melancholy catastrophe.

After the vessel had struck, by the most fatiguing and dangerous exertion, nearly 300 of the passengers were enabled to land, many of them in a state of nudity and others with blankets round them, having been in their berths and most of them sea-sick at the time the vessel struck. "At this trying moment (says the Liverpool Journal, on the authority of Captain Crosby) we regret that the crew acted in a manner derogatory to  the character of British Sailors. With a selfish and cowardly inhumanity, they quitted the wreck and refused to lend the Captain any further assistance. The first and second mate (the latter is Captain Crosbie's son) and the carpenter, however, stood by him in this emergency and the two last, having got onto a rock, they made preparations for getting the passengers ashore."  In a state of exposure and exhaustion, they continued their exertions for the preservation of the passengers until four o'clock in the morning when David Griffiths, a seaman in the neighbourhood, assisted by Owen Jones and other persons, succeeded in rescuing between forty and fifty men, women and children, from their perilous situation on the wreck.

            The vessel broke up on Sunday, and what remained of the wreck was sold by auction on Monday. Fourteen dead bodies were found amongst the broken timber and on the rocks, all of which were decently interred. The conduct of the inhabitants towards the destitute survivors (says the North Wales Chronicle) has been beyond all praise. They were furnished with clothing , food and many of the poor cottages actually burned part of their household furniture in order to warm their destitute and shivering guests. As the sufferers came along the road to Carnarvon, all ranks of the inhabitants came forward  with meat, clothing and money. Upon the arrival of the main body of the unfortunates at Carnarvon, Captain Beileau, an Irish gentleman resident in that town, informs us that a public meeting was called by the Deputy Mayor, Wm. Roberts, Esq. and the bailiffs and a most liberal subscription made for their relief, from which each individual received a hearty meal and 4 shillings in money, besides medical assistance being given to the sick and wounded, wagons provided for the lame and infirm, and clothing for such were still un-provided.

'Never' says Captain Beileau  'was there a more imperative call on humanity and never was it more promptly or efficiently answered than by the benevolent inhabitants of Carnarvon. By the above named benevolent gentleman, we are desired on behalf of his shipwrecked countrymen, to return their grateful thanks to the inhabitants of that part of Carnarvonshire  through which they have travelled on their way homewards, 'for the assistance they have received from the humane and kind-hearted Welsh' and we feel both pride and pleasure in complying with his request. The sufferers, one and all, declared that from the moment of their leaving the wreck to their arrival at Carnarvon, throughout a journey of thirty-five miles, they saw not one door closed, while every hand had something to offer them. At Bangor, through which these unfortunates passed on Monday and Tuesday, the inhabitants followed the example set them by their neighbours at Carnarvon and in a few hours, upwards of 37 as collected from the inhabitants by our humane and active overseer, Mr. Holford, assisted by other gentlemen and distributed amongst the sufferers who have since proceeded to Holyhead where we have, no doubt, a similar reception awaits them.


Thanks to Mr Chris Holden


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