William Hustwick

The Garmouth and Kingston shipbuilding industry continued into the 1800’s, though at a lesser pace than before for no doubt orders for naval vessels were sought during the Napoleonic Wars until Wellington’s success at Waterloo in 1815.

At one stage a total of seven yards lay along the shore road.  Can you image the daily din and clamour.  From the sound of Johnny Beattie’s drum at dawn as he toured both villages rousing the workers from their beds, to the mid-day sounds of the sawmills whistling through timber, the chug of the steam driven mills, the thud of the carpenters hammer, the workers banter, shouts and laughter.  The smell of freshly cut deals of Fir and of hot caulk bubbling in the cauldrons.  The shouts, the laughter, the skipping children following the Lum hat and coat tails of Oakum Johnny the astute rope merchant with pockets filled with sweets for clients offspring.  So, picture then the excitement on the day of a launch.

The timber felling contract was for twenty-six years, but Wm. Osbourne had extracted all the useful timber by 1806 and terminated his lease of properties in the Glenmore area and at the Red Croff House in that year.  It is possible Thomas Hustwick took over the shipyard site and continued building ships, for Osbourne himself placed an order for two ships that were launched the following year.

Maybe even Thomas carried out maintenance and repair work while waiting for orders to come in.  His son William (shipmaster) engaged Thomas as carpenter to carry out work on the ‘Rothiemurcus’ (322 tons) in 1813.  This ship was launched in 1812 from the Glenmore yard.  It would be harder for Thomas now, without Osbourne’s contacts for ships, but no doubt the yard had made a sound name for itself and the vessels it had produced, but it now put him in direct competition with the other builders at Kingston.

Family records note that Thomas Hustwick and his wife, Jane, left Kingston and returned to Hull in 1815.  Thomas was now 64 and certainly able to carry out supervisory work.  When Thomas left Kingston, his sons, William and George, presented him with the walking stick mentioned in December’s article, now in the care of Elgin Museum.

So, Thomas and Jane returned to their home town of Hull in 1815 and little is known of them after that date apart from the dates of their deaths.  Jane died in 1841 at eighty years of age and Thomas in 1844 at ninety-four, good long lives for that era, both buried in Sculcoates Church yard.

My Great, Great Grandfather, William, their eldest surviving son, shipmaster and ship owner remained in Garmouth when not at sea.  His sisters Jean, Frances and Charlotte possibly married in the Moray area, but little is known of them.  Jane died in childhood as did a second daughter called Jane at 20.

t is believed the eldest girl Frances, married a Gammidge/Gammage whose son Charles was the Vicar of Wakefield and later Bishop of Bathurst, N.S.W. Australia.  Jean married an Alexander Taylor in 1827.

There was only three years between William, known to family as ‘Billy’ and his younger brother George, also a shipmaster who was captured by the French in 1813 but apparently escaped via the Paris sewers.

William’s marine career begun at 13 years when he sailed as cabin boy aboard the Brig, ‘Henry of Hull’ and over the next eight years he sailed in four ships all from Hull and owned or part-owned by William Osbourne.  No doubt Thomas had apprenticed his son to the Hull ships as there were few of that size sailing from Spey.  Whilst the ships William served on were still coastal traders they were larger and commanded by experienced Masters who would have provided him with a sound training in seamanship and navigation skills.

He made good use of his experience for by twenty-one he was second mate of the ‘Lady Madeline Sinclair’ and by twenty-two was appointed Master of the sailing ship ‘Sarah.’

After William left the ‘Sarah’ in June 1811 he was living in Commercial Road, Limehouse, which was close to the docks where he would be able to meet other Masters and gain information on any available berths.  It was a lean time, war with the French continued and so many ships were laid-up, but he was lucky and got the position of Master of the ‘Rothiemurcus of London’ in October 1811.  The ship was in the early stages of construction and would not be launched at Kingston until May 1812.

Following his appointment as Master, William married Barbara Marshall, daughter of Garmouth shipbuilder, Charles Marshall.  They married in Limehouse and incredibly William was seized by a naval Press Gang on the steps of the church.  Fortunately he was released when his masters papers were produced.  As the marriage took place before the launch of his new ship William and Barbara returned North and took up residence in Garmouth.

In 1850 toward the end of his career, William Hustwick wrote to the port authorities at Banff to apply for his Master’s Certificate, a bit late in the day perhaps but apparently quite a common occurrence.  He was duly issued with his Master’s Certificate in March 1851.

Then in 1855 he applied to Banff for a pension from the Merchant Seaman’s Fund.  This application also required him give full details of his naval experience.  William explained in his application that he would need to rely on his memory as his own ship ‘Marshall of Spey’ when captained by his son Alex. Geo. Hustwick on the journey from Burghead to Stromness in Orkney to load potatoes for London the Marshall was caught in a hurricane on the night of 25th December 1854, she was totally wrecked on the island of Flota.  There was no loss of life, but all William’s logs, records and other papers went down with the ship.

A sad event for the Hustwick family, no doubt, to lose a ship they owned, but the circumstances proved fortunate for William’s descendants.  For he was required to write a letter claiming his pension and giving a detailed list, as far as he could remember, of every ship he’d ever sailed on, what year and what position he’d held.

A wonderful account of this grisly old sailor’s life.

  • 1800 – Cabin boy – Henry Brig of Hull, 95-100 tons – coasting – Capt. Leslie – age13 years
  • 1801 – Cabin boy – John of Hull, Capt. Divine, 100 tons. Age 14-15
  • 1802 – Cabin boy – John of Hull, Capt. Smith, carting trade.
  • 1803 – as seaman – Pelham of Hull, Capt. Smith, coasting. Age 16-17.
  • 1807 – as seaman – Minervy of Hull,Capt. Cobb, Baltic trade. Age 20
  • 1807 – as 3rd Mate – Lady Madeline Sinclair of Hull, 600 tons, Commander John Hardy Jackson.  Bound Sidney, New South Wales with naval stores & 100 troups and Lieutenant Governer Feaueaux in 1807.
  • 1808 – 2nd Mate – Lady Madeline Sinclair. Age 21
  • 1810 – Chief Mate – HMS transport – Sarah, 572 tons, Capt. Wm. Dannat w3ho drowned in the River Tagus, July 1810 – made MASTER of the same transport Sarah until 1811.  Age 22-23.
  • 1811 – Master of Rothiemurcus of London, 400 tons age 26
  • 1814 – Master of the brig ‘Rose of Cromarty’ 150 tons, St Petersburg coasting trade1814 to 1815. Age 27-28
  • As Master & part owner of the Schooner Barbara Ann of Spey, port Inverness, 84 tons in the foreign St Petersburg and Lisbon coasting trade until 1827. Age 40
  • As Master and owner of the schooner ‘Marshall of Spey’, port of Banff, 71 tons, from 21st Sept. 1827 unt6il 12th December 1854.  Having burned my arm severely I sent my son Alex. Geo. Hustwick, Master, on the voyage from Burghead to Stromness but in the hurricane on the 25th December she was totally wrecked on the island of Flota.  Age 67.  Signed Wm Hustwick, Master.

 

P Bingham.

From Garmouth & Kingston Newsletter Mar 2006

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