John Ostle's Journal

John Ostle's Journal

John Ostle's Journal
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John Ostle (1828-1890) kept a journal in which he recorded the happenings, both momentous and mundane of a Quaker farmer's life. The extracts below will be changed from time to time.

August 28th. 1856
There was a cheap trip from Carlisle to Silloth Bay; the line was opened. I think all the manufacturers and cotton spinners, tobacconists and what not was there. All the uppercrust chaps the Mayor Tobacco Jack and many other Barney St nuts and many just come out of pawn shop for the day. Two bands of musick, polka dancing that is coller and elbow or the height of impudence. One fellow saw his brother Joe there It was a donkey tied to a cart wheel. There was an excellent dinner at 3s. each and then for speeches about 3000 people came by steam and I think I may say about 1000 Holmes Dobbies landed upon the Green where the Goose got her breakfast. A slender fight or two in the evening as usual. Look further.

September 19th
There is a bad road on the bank now. They have not got it made yet over the bridge but they are hard at work banking. This being Carlisle latter fair, a great number of passengers went by rail from Silloth. There is a splendid little station here and two Public Houses and one Tom and Harry. Several other dwelling houses and sod huts for ever. One steam engine driving piles four or five hard rams at work. This is what we call going ahead for the British and beat all the world and the Yankie, beat them. There is no station house at the Abbey yet but the engine takes in passengers and at Kirkbride too. They generally call at Causeway Head to quench the thirst of the Steam Horse. They pump the water out of the beck. Success to tripping and rail.

The original line before the building of the Solway Viaduct

December 18th
I went to Carlisle by the Silloth line. The first time I have got. It is pretty easy but very slow, there is so many stops. The buildings are going on daily. Two steam engines driving piles. Last week the sea was very rough. It broke twenty-seven piles. There was a brig came on shore near Beckfoot. They call her the Derwent of Workington. She discharged at Draughrinhay in Ireland and put past Workington. They had about nine feet of water in her ballast. Twelve geese, three bantams. Several were drowned, Captain Hodgson and his wife, one prentice and five or seven Pats. They threw the ballast out and stopped up the holes and got off to sea with the aid of the steam tug from Maryport. She laid about one week, they escaped surprisingly.

Sept 16
Silloth dock is open and many vessels enter into it, English, French and Austrians. A lifeboat is about to be brought to Silloth. In the course of this winter (October) a Yorkshire man was letting a wall down and it fell upon his leg and broke it and hurt his back that he cannot walk. He lives at Beckfoot. He is building at Beckfoot (Dec) I think he is now recovering again.

Allonby in the 1830s

Dec 1859
A vessel cast on shore near Allonby. One man was lashed to the rigging, he was dead when found. Another man cast on shore near the same place quite dead and another cast on shore near Beckfoot or Bitter Leas.

Dec 22
Thomas French of Sea Dyke end is supposed to have fallen from his horse at Blitter Leas and near killed. Two or three doctors attend him, he lays in a very unhopeful state. Soon died.

Dec 26
This is held as Christmas Day. Frost first and then rain.

January came in very windy with some showers. The Cattle plague is spreading through the county like a roaring lion seeking whom it may devour. Some say it is a Russian disease, they call it the Renderpest. Some say it came from the heights of Siberia. It came into Cumberland about the end of November by some men of trade. T Lawson of Campfield brought it near Bowness in Cumberland. One Johnston brought it to Cardulees by some cattle he bought at Carlisle. Not in the market in a field near.

January 15
The cattle plague has got into the Holme a few days or a week ago. W Mark of Angerton has nine died in two days. Named Rinderpest. The magistrates are stopping all the sales of cattle that is within two miles of a diseased stock. There was a plague among cattle about one hundred years ago much like this by accounts. Some say it raged about for twelve years. So if this Rinderpest rages on as fast as it has lately, I think it will clear the county of all the cattle in much less time than that.

March 24
W Carson, Foulsike, has not one of his stock left alive. They are all either dead or destroyed. Sir R Brisco and Captain James insists on destroying all the cattle where the disease breaks out whether they are healthy and weal or ailing or recovering. I doubt they are taking the power out of the Almighty hands. I think the Lord will have some compassion on us and leave some alive but Sir R Brisco and Captain James will leave none alive.

April 13
William Sharp and Joseph McFarren, New Cooper have got the plague among their stock. They are destroying them fast. McFarren has none left on the 20th April 1866. Sharp has some left yet. Three Sterks, one cow, one calf.

May 31
It has been very droughty this month. So dry turnips cannot grow. Till today. Rain has come today it is very cold wind east and some heavy showers. Still the ground is very dry.

June 8
Some heavy showers, still the ground is very dry. June 16 Some showers and one hail shower very heavy. Then cold and dry. 20 Terrible hot until the 30th rather colder and a very heavy shower.

July 1
No rain of any moment. Very hot some thunder. One crack of thunder was so near it came before the lightning was out of sight. The nearest I ever heard. There were hailstones in Carlisle half an ounce in weight and tremendous heavy rain then fine weather. August commenced rather showery. I saw the cuckoo August 1st. I never saw it so late before.

August 3
William Ruben Little, son of Isabella Little of Bank Mill, an illigitimate child, was killed by an arm of the Wind Mill when in motion. He was hit on the neck and side of the head. One mortal blow. He was found dead. Inquest was held on Monday 6th of August by the Deputy Coroner and a respectable jury and buried at Beckfoot 1866.

An Irishman drowned at Silloth. Another between Anthorn and Newton Arlosh.

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