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Shipwreck 1822

by Ber Weyde

In 1822, the vessel ‘Racehorse’ was lost off Langness on the Skerranes, about two miles out to sea. The night of the wreck was one of thick darkness, and there was a tremendous sea running. The vessel’s signals of distress soon brought an excited crowd of Castletown people to the Pier. The cry was raised “Man the boats!” and in spite of the fact that the boats to be manned were merely the usual small open fishing boats, there was no hesitation and no lack of volunteers.

Castletown had then no lifeboat or special crew for ship-wrecked mariners. The little boats went cautiously out in the terrible storm and anchored some distance to windward of the stricken vessel. From here they threw ropes across and took off the crew one by one. A fire had been made by lighting a straw stack from Langness Farm on Dreswick Beach, and for this beacon the loaded boats steered. All were safely landed save one boat which capsized, and the lieutenant and three of the Castletown men were drowned.

To mark the bravery of the Castletown men the Government Authorities granted £20 per year to these sailors’ wives for life, and an annuity to their children until they became of age.

(source: artwork ‘Rescue along the Coast by Edward Moran; Castletown 100 Years Ago by Flaxney Stowell (d.1916) A Manx Notebook)

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