Tayleur fund for the succour of shipwrecked strangers– Edward J Bourke
The sailing ship Tayleur was wrecked in January 1854 at Lambay with the loss of 220 of the 670 aboard. A fund was established in both Liverpool and Dublin to assist the victims. The fund was chaired by Lord Talbot de Malahide and prominent among the committee were Mr Stokes and Mr Pim and Mr Andrew Parker. The meetings were at their offices in Commercial Buildings, Dame Street. The fund paid out sums to the survivors and paid for coffins and burial of the victims. The £600 residue of the fund was used to award medals for heroism in the Irish Sea. This residue was invested in common stock and the trustees at eth time were Alexander Parker, Lord Talbot, and Thomas Bewley with Augustus Russel as secretary. There is considerable doubt about how many medals and cash awards were made as newspaper accounts seem incomplete and in some cases vague. Electronic searches of the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Belfast Newsletter and Freemans Journal have brought out new information but there are known medal awards whose details have not been discovered.. It appears that medals were not awarded posthumously and there is some confusion in accounts about similar awards by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent society. No comprehensive list has been found but much information must have been in the affidavit at the time of the wind up of the fund. A fuller search of the personal papers of Lord Talbot, Mr Jameson or Mr Power might yet yield a copy of the affidavit made on winding up the fund (the original being presumed lost in the Four Courts fire 1922) or even the minute books. There is no reason to believe that the list below is comprehensive. In the early days of the Fund cash awards were made for rescue work and money given to the surviving seamen to accommodate and assist them. After the 1861 wreck of the Industry and Neptune at Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) the Fund decided to award medals to the rescuers but no medals were granted to the six men who lost their lives. These men received RNLI medals. William Huchinson (Harbourmaster) thanked the trustees of the fund for the donation of £10 given to the widows and orphans of the crews of the Industry and Neptune. The Tayleur Fund acted as an initial repository of funds for a memorial to Boyd and his men.
- Tayleur Medal
|No||Awardee||Date||Grade||Rescue||Location||Location of medal|
|1||Bernard Burke||9 Feb 1861||S||Neptune/Industry||Kingstown|
|2||John Burke||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|3||Hugh McNeill Dyer||9 Feb 1861||G||As above||Kingstown|
|4||James Beer||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||RW Colln.|
|5||George Biddlecombe||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|6||Joseph Sweeney||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||Sold 16-12-2003 Dix Noonan Webb London|
|7||Denis Deneen||9 Feb 1861||S||Industry||Kingstown|
|8||William Boyd||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|9||George Doherty||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|10||John Walsh||9 Feb 1861||G||As above||Kingstown|
|11||William Wick||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||6 May 1992 sold £250 Dix also Dec 2010|
|12||Richard Wingate||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||in Dublin|
|13||William Wright||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|14||Peter Kane||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|15||Thomas McGonigal||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|16||Archibald McLenahan||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|17||Luke Malone||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||In National Museum Went Collection. Press 11 drawer 4|
|18||John Newham||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|19||George Robertson||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|20||James Twomey||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|21||George Farrin||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||In Collection|
|22||William Ferguson||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|23||William Ferris||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|24||William Fynes||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||Photo in catalogue of medal types RW Colln.|
|25||John Griffiths||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||V&A Museum London|
|26||William Heron||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|27||Peter Holland||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown|
|28||Lt William Hutchison||9 Feb 1861||S||As above||Kingstown||In collection|
|29||Henry Crout||19-9-1863||S||Rescue||Mersey||28 July 1993 sold, ex-Stansfield Collection. £520|
|30||Edward Gray||Jan 1869||G||Blue Vein||Ballybrack|
|31||John Freeney||Jan 1869||S||Blue Vein||Ballybrack|
|33||William Biss||4-10-1869||S||Eonota||Kingstown||Sold Bloomsbury 12/5/1995 £450 RW Colln.|
|34||James Doyle||4-10-1869||S||Eonota||Kingstown||Maritime Museum Dun Laoghaire|
|35||Wm Jones||21-6-1872||S||St Columba||The Skerries ( Wales )||2nd officer LMS steamer|
|36||Robert Ellison||2-2-1873||S||Sarah Anne||Balbriggan|
|37||Wm Scantlebury||2-2-1873||S||Sarah Anne||Balbriggan|
|38||Thomas Woodley||2-2-1873||S||Sarah Anne||Balbriggan||At Howth Coast Guard station|
|39||Lot Smye||2-2-1873||S||Sarah Anne||Balbriggan|
|43||Richard Twohig||2-2-1873||S||Ada||Portrane||Sold 17-9-2009 €2,400 RW Colln.|
|44||Charles SmartSpink 1985 exhibition incorrectly says Stuart||2-2-1873||S||Ada||Portrane||Ex Feyer colln Lot 179 Dix Noonan Webb London 25-9-08 £700- RWColln.|
|45||James Carton||26-2-1875||S||Belle Hill||Balbriggan||W. H. Fevyer Collection sold £650 RW Colln.|
|46||John Carvin||26-2-1875||S||Belle Hill||Balbriggan|
|47||James Murphy||26-2-1875||S||Belle Hill||Balbriggan|
|48||William Wisnom||unknown||S||Rescue in Belfast Lough||Antrim|
|49||Sir Ralph Cusack||Had a medal in his possession||?||board member||awardee?||Obit Irish Times 4-3-1910|
|Unawarded||white metal||2-6-2011 for sale by Robert Moffatt USA|
|Unawarded||white metal||Private hands Dublin KS|
|Unawarded||Gilt metal||In Sir Arnold Wilson’s collection in House of Commons|
Tayleur Fund Awards
ProteusAbout 1856 the crew of the Proteus were rescued by the crew of the Smack Sarah and they were awarded £30. A further £11 was given to the Sailors home for the seamen’s accommodation.
Kish – France et BrazilWhen the France et Brazil was wrecked on the Kish bank in 1858 The Fund gave the crew £30. Their rescuers on the Mary of Carnavon were given £12.
Neptune / Industry – Kingstown RescueThe Kingstown guard ship and coastguard training ship was the Ajax moored at Kingstown harbour. During the fierce storm of 8-2-1861 the Industry and the Neptune were driven on the pier at Kingstown . A rescue party of about 40 men led by Captain Boyd went to the pier from the Ajax . The captain and five seamen were lost during the rescue attempts. Mr Alexander Parker chairman of the Tayleur fund said that it had £600 available and silver medals were awarded to 22 seamen and Lt Hutchison the Harbour master and Police constable Deneen. The sailors were, George Farrin, William Ferguson, Bernard Burke, William Wright, Thomas McGonigal, John Griffiths, William Heron, James Beer, John Burke, John Newham, William Wick, William Boyd, George Robinson, William Fynes, William Ferris, Peter Kane, George Docherty, Archibald McLenahan, George Biddlecombe, Richard Wingate, Luke Malone and Peter Holland. There were RNLI medals presented to Captain Boyd, Lt Dyer, Gunner Farrin, James Twomey, Lt William Hutchison (Royal Dublin militia) Lt Richard Parsons, Mr John Walsh the Lloyds agent who had assisted the Tayleur victims was awarded a Lloyds silver medal for his work at the Neptune rescue. No awards of any kind were made to the men lost with Boyd – Curry, Forsyth, Johnson, Russell, Murphy.
Liverpool rescueOn 17-9-1863 Henry E Crout an AB of HMS Edgar, which was at Liverpool , saw a woman accidentally fall from a landing stage into the water. He jumped into the water and a she had become exhausted he supported her until they were picked up by a boat and taken back to HMS Edgar. The incident was witnessed by Captain Hornby and the Admiralty subsequently sent the details to the Royal Humane Society.
Blue Vein RescueThe Blue Vein ran ashore at Ballybrack in January 25-9-1868 . Gray and his driver John Freeney waded out to the vessel and Gray swam out with a rope saving five people. Their Tayleur medals were awarded 2-1-1869.
Kingstown rescueA silver medal was presented to William Biss, James Doyle and John Hill of HMS Royal George for their lifesaving work on 4-10-1869. The Eonota had run aground on the east pier at Kingstown and several boats from the Royal George went to assist. James Doyle’s medal has been discovered in the Maritime museum Dun Laoghaire in 2011.
Kingstown RegattaWhile divisional officer of the coastguard at Kingstown E.M Dayrell was presented with the “Tayleur” silver medal for saving the life of E. Dunn, who was blown overboard (with the loss of one hand and injury to the other) by the premature discharge of a gun he was loading on board a steamer on the occasion of the Kingstown Regatta, July 7, 1878. Commander Dayrell jumped overboard, brought the man to the ship’s side, and supported him until assistance was rendered. The Commissioners of Irish Lights officially recognized this act of gallantry, and the Royal Humane Society presented him with a testimonial on vellum.
St ColumbaThe LMS mail boat St Columba ran ashore at the Skerries near Holyhead on 21-6-1872 and the passengers were rescued with the assistance of the second officer of the LMS steamer – William Jones. He was awarded a Tayleur silver medal.
Sarah Anne Balbriggan rescueWhen the coastguard saw the Sarah Anne in danger on 2-2-1873 they sent for the Skerries lifeboat to assist. The Skerries coastguard turned out but the Skerries lifeboat men refused to answer the call. A scratch crew of volunteers and coastguards manned the boat but a heavy sea capsized the lifeboat when the exhausted crew could no longer keep her head to the seas. The life boat self righted and three men managed to stay aboard, a fourth was pulled in by the three but seven men were lost. Four Tayleur medals were awarded to the coastguard men who had manned the lifeboat and survived. Robert Ellison, William Scantlebury, Lot Syme, Thomas Woodley were the recipients. One of the medals is inscribed “Presented to William Scantlebury, Coastguard for distinguished courage in endeavouring at great peril to save life at the wreck of the Sarah Ann at Balbriggan 1st & 2nd February 1873”
Ada PortraneOn 2-2-1873 during the same storm the Ada was wrecked at Portrane. The Malahide coastguard arrived shortly after she struck rocks 600 yards off shore. The crew lashed themselves in the rigging. Rocket rescue failed and the coastguard boat was too far away to be brought. Joseph Davis assisted by his brothers John and William and Joseph Smart. They were joined by coastguard Richard Twohig and the five went out in a small boat, they cut down the crew but the captain’s son had died of the cold. The crew of the small boat were awarded Tayleur medals as far as can be ascertained because Twohig’s medal has been sold. The newspaper account of the medal award for the Sarah Anne rescue mentions only a cash award to the Ada rescuers. It is possible that the committee reviewed their decision and awarded medals later.
Belle Hill at BalbrigganOn 26-2-1875 the Belle Hill went on the rocks at Balbriggan, the rocket lines became entangled but some of the crew used the lines to reach some nearby rocks. Three local men waded to the rocks and pulled the crewmen higher out of the reach of the seas. A small coastguard boat was brought and it took the men from the rocks to the shore. The lifeboat was en route when it could not pass under the railway bridge. The conduct of the three men Carton, Carvin and Murphy was praised by the coroner but there are no details of awards.
Belfast LoughCaptain William Wisnom was awarded a Tayleur medal for saving life in Belfast Lough. But the date and details are unknown.
Tayleur rescue work
Winding up the fundOn 31-12-1895 following the Palme lifeboat disaster a fund of £2000 was collected. The question of adding to the fund arose and Frederick Stokes suggested that if the trustees were approached that he was sure the balance of the fund would be applied. But there was discussion that the Palme fund was sufficient. It is not clear why the fund trustees decided to cease their work and hand over the fund. This is especially curious given that they had several unawarded medals in stock. The death of Sir Ralph Cusack in 1911 may have had some impact on the committee’s work and medals had not been awarded since 1875 as far as is known. On 7-3-1912 the committee of the Tayleur fund communicated with the RNLI offering the residue of the fund to provide a motor for the Kingstown lifeboat. The RNLI deputy chief inspector attended a meeting of the Tayleur fund. Disposal was agreed by the trustees on 13-6-1912 and the residual amount was £1233. After discussions about whether a new boat would be more appropriate the Tayleur fund was wound up in September 1913. The assets were £400 of 4.5% stock, £250 of 3.5% stock, and £700 cash. A delay ensued while the technical merits were debated. On 4 March 1920 the Times London reported that the “Dunleary” lifeboat was endowed by the civil service lifeboat fund and a considerable contribution from Tayleur fund. One of the conditions of the transfer was that a memorial plate to commemorate the winding up of the Tayleur fund should be fixed in a suitable position. A plaque was to be erected on the lifeboat or in the lifeboat house at Dun Laoghaire but as far as can be ascertained this promise was not honoured as no evidence of this plaque has been found though the old lifeboat house still exists.
- The Tayleur Fund Medals, Roger Willoughby, Lifesaving Awards Research Society Journal No. 22 p4.
- Other mentions of Tayleur Fund medals, Lifesaving Awards Research Society journal 8/27, 17/100, 28/69.
- A medal linking two Irish Sea disasters, Arthur E.J. Went Dublin Historical Record, 32, (4) September 1979.
- Bound for Australia , the wreck of the Tayleur at Lambay, Edward J Bourke ISBN 095230273x
- Journal of the medal society of Ireland , November 1992, George Callahan.
- History of the Tayleur Fund, Unpublished, John Wilson.
- Auction data from Invaluable.com
- British Naval medals, 1919 Marquis of Milford Haven.