Sinking of the Ferry

Tragedy - The Sinking of the Ferry 1862

Thursday the 7th of August 1862, one of the ferries owned by Rees Jones was returning from Porthmadog to Ynys, Talsarnau with nine passengers and two half casks of port on board. The wind had picked up and was blowing from the south west, but nobody at the time felt under any kind of threat. About half way across, the wind freshened suddenly and created waves that made it impossible to control the vessel. In a short period of time the ferry filled with water and overturned throwing everybody overboard into the churning sea.

Another ferry was only a short distance away, sailing as quickly as they could to try and reach the stricken vessel with the hope of saving some of the passengers. The crew of the second ferry described how they could see people in the water, arms flailing and screaming for help. Only two were saved – the ferry owner and Ann Lewis, Llechwedd, Harlech. The other eight succumbed to the depths. On the Friday morning, following the tragedy seven bodies were retrieved from the beach.

An inquest was held on Monday 11th August by the coroner Griffith Williams, and Edmund Edwards acting as head juror came to the conclusion that the eight had ‘drowned due to an accident’.

Those that lost their lives were: John and Rees Jones, two seamen and sons to Robert Jones, Dyffryn Ardudwy; Arthur Jones the grandson of Rees Jones the ferry owner; Dorothy, the wife of Evan Lloyd, Llechwedd; Griffith a John Edwards, the sons of William Edwards, Cwrt Rasus; Ann Williams, Llanllyfni and Jane Parry, Yr Ynys whose body was never found.