Monthly Archives: July 2017

In the Dock

Captain Edward Weddall was a fastidious man, “ship shape” could have been his motto. An incident that happened in 1879 highlighted this. He was about to dock the ship Lotty in Cardiff Bay, Wales. It was common for a pilot employed by the port, and familiar with the dock to pilot them in and out of the basin.

Moses White the pilot on duty boarded Captain Weddall’s vessel, Lotty to bring it into the bay. Captain Weddall asked him to bring the ship in stern first but the pilot told him that it was the law of the port to bring vessels in head first. Captain Weddall was not pleased with the arrangement as it might damage the vessel. One thing lead to another and a huge row ensured. It didn’t get violent but some aggressive language and some big threats were made by Captain Weddall. The matter could have been easily resolved but neither man gave in, hence it the Cardiff Police Court.

Captain Weddall was fined 40s and costs.


Shipping and Mercantile Gazette 02 June 1879

Drunken Sailors

Sailors have and had a reputaion for drinking.  In 1876 he captained the ship Uruguay from London to Tunis, taking in Odessa and other ports along the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

The voyage would take a month or so, required that the crew had daily allowances of certain foods to keep them at an optimum level of health, as daily nutritional of vitamins and mineral requirements were not known back then but they did have some idea of nutritional deficiency. Lemon and Lime were taken by all seafarers to prevent scurvy, which occurred when there was a long term deficiency of vitamin C. Along with a table of provisions, merchant ships governing body, the Board of Trades had a list of rules for seafarers. One of the strict rules stipulated by the Board of Trade was sobriety, appearing in the first sentence of the rules and regulations as such;

And the Crew agree to conduct themselves in an orderly, faithful honest, and sober manner, and to be at all time diligent in their respective Duties, and to be obedient to the lawful Command of the said Master…Captain Weddall

Captain Weddall took the sobriety rule very seriously, perhaps sailors really did live up to their “drunken” reputation! He even stipulated it in the Account and Agreement of Crew, stating it clearly in the Seale of Provisions for the Crew “No Spirits Allowed”.


Admiral William Henry Smyth’s 1865 Sailor’s Word-book – an alphabetical digest of nautical terms


In 1870 Emily’s family left their house in Edenderry, to move in to the tiny vestry ’10f 6 inches long by 9 feet broad’ in Castlejordan Church, where her father was incumbent. Why is not stated in the letter, but chances are the family had leave town quickly, as they did before fleeing from persecution for changing religion. A fund had been set up by the outraged well wishers of Rev. Burke and his family.

The letter below to the Waterford Standard of October 15th 1870 by someone who singed off as GD tells of their plight.

If Rev. Burke had his enemies he had well wishers too. One sent a total of £10, which was quite a sum in the 1870’s. From another source, possibly the more wealthy Thomas Scott, who appears to have been a councilor sent almost £50 with a promise of £50 more at a later date, which will go quite far towards the fund for a parsonage. The poetically put accompanying letter supporting Rev. Burke and advising him to remain in “David’s Den of Lions” until” the porch of Solomon’s Temple”. Comforting advice!

It is not clear if the Burkes got to live in the proposed parsonage or indeed if one was built. The family moved to Dunloe Hill in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway soon afterwards, where Rev. and Mrs Burke ended their days.

The ruin of Castlejordan Church, where Emily ‘lived’ with her family during the winter of 1870/71

Waterford Standard 15 October 1870


Canada is currently celebrating it’s 150th anniversary in 2017. Coincidentally Emily Weddall was born 150 years ago too. Read more:

Emily’s ancestors, the Graisberrys, emigrated to Canada, where their descendants still live today.  One such relative was her uncle Richard Lyons McArthur. Born in 1826 he was her mother Emily’s only brother. Emily McArthur was born a year after, and appeared to be very close to her older brother, that may have come to pass because of the early loss of their father who died in 1829.

Both sibling lived together with their mother for most of their lives, the greater part in Dublin while Richard completed his education at Trinity College. He was ordained a Deacon in 1849 and a Priest a year later. His first parish it appears was in Copgrove, a small parish near Ripon in Yorkshire, where his mother and sister moved along with him. His mother Mary died in 1855 and sometime after that he emigrated to Canada to take up a position in the church at St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. His sister Emily followed some time later and stayed on as his housekeeper. They bought a house on Duke St. St Catharines, but only lived there less than a year. Richard contracted Scarlett Fever and died within days. The grave of Rev. Richard Lyons McAthur

For the short time he spent in his Canadian parish Richard Lyons McArthur was well liked and sadly missed. His kindness was noted by the parishioners and his memory lasted for decades as expressed in his obituary from a unknown local paper:

“On Saturday morning last the Rev. Richard Lyons McArthur, Curate of the English Church in this town, aged 30 years.

The deceased had not been among us quite a year, and yet had made himself beloved and respected by all who were honored with his acquiescence. In addition to Mr. McArthur’s clerical duties he added many others calculated to to endear him to the inhabitants of this town – such for instance as visiting the poor and needy, the sick and infirm. To those who required help his hand was open in offering charity to those who required instruction, he was “apt to touch.”

We have suffered a loss not seen to be supplied in the death of this gentleman. Mr. McArthur was quite a young man but has been cut down by two days sickness. Scarlet fever took hold of him and not withstanding the able medical attendance of Dr. Mack, such was the virulence of the disease, that he lasted but from Tuesday till Saturday. The deceased was a young Englishman, who had chosen Canada as his home, and the sphere of his spiritual labours. He was rich, and had invested largely in our Provincial institutions. How mysterious appear the ways of Providence to us in the removal of much usefulness and the means and dispositions to do such good. The poor blessed him, the children loved him, and the close observer of, character respected him. Unobtrusive and deeply pious he “did good by stealth, and blushed to find it fame.” Mr. McArthur’s remains were followed to the grave by a large and respectable portion of our inhabitants.”

Emily must have been heartbroken and at a loss to what to do now that her only brother had passed and her service to him was over. She rented their house and returned home to Ireland.

With her own fund to live on and investments in Canada and a house there too she was for all intents and purposes an independent woman. It was still Victorian times and independence was not the order of the day for young ladies from Emily McArthur’s background. She may have enjoyed her freedom while it lasted but a few years later she was matched up with Rev. William John Burke, more than twenty years her senior. In October 1861 she became the second Mrs. Burke.


Dublin Evening Mail 28 December 1849