Catherine and Mary

The Storm
Schooner Foundered with all Hands on the Bar
Wreckage and Nameboard Washed Up

The storm of yesterday, after shewing some signs of abatement in the afternoon, came away with greater force in the evening. The showers of rain which had fallen during the day changed to sleet darkness fell, and times during the night the wind reached the force of terrific gale. But the sea has been higher throughout than anything that can be accounted for by the force of the wind on this coast. The fury of the original gale must have been experienced in its full fury out at sea. A good muster of brigadesmen appeared in watch-house at Tynemouth. During the evening a few vessels entered the harbour in safety, some in tow, and nothing occurred up till nearly midnight save the roll of the broken water on the bar and the fierce showers of snow and hail that swept from the northward. After the wreck of the Rhineland the wind had veered from east northwards, and by this morning had again shifted a little round to the eastward.

About 11-30 the look-out in the Brigade House announced the approach of a vessel towards the harbour. About hour previously flash-lights were burned by some craft in the bay at the back of the North Pier, but the vessel, whatever it was, did not at any time make appearance outside the entrance. It may have been the same craft that now appeared making for the harbour. Her movements were eagerly watched by the brigadesmen, who were in readiness should any casualty occur. It was evident the craft was labouring very heavily in the surf. At times she was lost sight of for nearly a minute. Gradually she neared the piers, and gradually the excitement in watching her increased as she proceeded towards the bar. She entered the broken water, seen white from the shore, and seemed to drift towards the South Pier. When in position which seemed near the end of that structure, she suddenly disappeared. All eyes were directed towards the spot, anxious to see her make her appearance again, for was it was not suspected that she had gone for ever. But not a vestige of her could be seen. The alarm guns were at once fired, three, to indicate a vessel in distress on the south side. The brigadesmen on were reinforced by a great rush of members who had turned in for the night. But nothing of the ill-fated craft was again seen. The idea among the skilled watchers was that she was a small schooner fishing craft that had been seen hovering outside for some considerable time, that she had been disabled, and as a last resort made for the harbour.

When the tide had gone back, at two o'clock this morning, some members of the Brigade proceeded to the Haven, to see whether any wreckage had been washed ashore that might give a clue to the ill-fated craft that had foundered before their eyes. They found vast quantities strewn on the sand. Blocks, casks, bottles of oil, a house, and a name-board had been washed up, all supposed to have belonged to the foundered schooner. The name-board was found complete, bearing the name "Catherine and Mary." In the Register there are at least five sailing vessels of that name, belonging respectively to Aberystwyth, Sunderland, Greenwich, Glasgow and Portsmouth. The Sunderland vessel is of 253 tons register, was built in 1865, and is owned by Mr Robert Mushens, Robinson Street, Sunderland. This vessel is described as a brig. The others are of lighter tonnage, varying from 90 to 37 tons. Parts of boats have likewise been found bearing portions of the name Catherine and Mary, indicating that belong to the same unfortunate vessel. The Storm To-Day

South Pier, Tuesday, 10 a.m.

The gale has not abated in fury the least, and the sea, being nearly at flood-tide, is terrific. The outlook seaward is most gloomy, the sky being covered with dense clouds of almost inky blackness, which, as they rise overhead, bring blinding showers of hail and snow,—the onslaught of which it is impossible to face. During the height of the squalls the harbour mouth is entirely obscured. Now and then huge waves top over the sand ridge on the beach—the outer fore-shore mark—and rush headlong across the sands. This is resulting in the gradual filling up of pools behind the Commissioners' yard, a place memorable for the sad accident from a similar cause during the October gales two years ago. The beach southward is strewn with bits of wreckage. The wind is from the ENS, and the barometer has not moved since last night. The pier is crowded with spectators.

Touching the supposed foundering of a vessel on the south side of the harbour, last midnight, there is strong evidence that some luckless craft, with the whole of her crew, did perish. Tho vessel for which the South Shields Coastguard understood the alarm guns were fired carried three lights—one white and the red and green; but it was not a steamer. The white light was fixed to the jibboom, and was globular, or riding lamp, evidently exhibited for a pilot. She came from the southward, and. to use the words of a witness, literally grazed the pier end, being struck by a huge wave which twisted her round head to sea. She drifted stern first towards the pier landing stage, and just as she was about to strike the rubble stones, another sea struck her, completely reversing her position, and enabled her to sail across the Herd Sand and into the proper channel. As she went away, the coastguard burned blue light and the spectators cheered, and voices, it was thought, answered from the vessel. She was so close to the pier that she might have been reached with a heaving cane, and her close proximity enabled those on the pier to understand her lights and see that she was a sailing vessel.

Just before she came round the Pier, however, the Coastguard descried the lights of a sailing vessel apparently off the North Pier end, but in the excitement which prevailed near at hand, she was forgotten—and not seen again. Since daylight this morning, one of the life-brigadesmen picked up on the Herd Sand, a nameboard, evidently that of a small sailing vessel, with the following inscription, “Catherine and Mary." The board is about eight feet long and nine inches wide, letters black and white, and evidently off the bows of the vessel.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 December 1882

The Ill-Fated Catherine and Mary

We understand that the above vessel belongs Torquay, and has been for some time trading from the Tyne. She frequently brought cargoes of flint to the Fish Quay, North Shields, for Messrs Carr and Co.'s pottery, Low Lights. The captain's name is J, Noisworthy, belonging Totness.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 December 1882

Wreckage Washed Ashore at Tynemouth

A quantity of pit props have washed ashore on the beach behind Tynemouth Castle. The figurehead of the ill-fated schooner Catherine and Mary has also cast up in the Haven. It has been placed among the many relics at the Tynemouth Brigade House.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 9 December 1882