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Wreck of the Thorne

25th. January 1890.


The Thorne awash at Onchan Head - 25 January 1890


In the early hours of the morning of Saturday, 25th. January 1890 the barque Thorne was driven onto the rocks off Onchan Head. This account is compiled from reports of the stranding which appeared in The Examiner, The Mona's Herald and The Manx Sun newspapers of the period.

The Thorne was a barque, which is a sailing vessel with three or more masts and square rigged on all masts except the mizzen mast, which is rigged fore-and-aft. She was built of iron at Sunderland in 1878 by James Thomson, junior, and owned by James Dowie and Co of Water Street, Liverpool. The Thorne had three masts and was of 841 tons register.

Although very full and detailed accounts of the incident appeared in the Manx press, there was a difference between the Mona's Herald and the Examiner as regards the date on which the Thorne left Liverpool. The Mona's Herald reported that she sailed on Saturday 18th. January. The Examiner, in the edition of Saturday 25th January, stated that she had "left Liverpool for Adelaide on Monday week". This is taken to mean not the previous Monday, but the one before that, which was the 13th January. If the events recorded in both papers are combined and set out in chronological order it becomes evident that the time scale in the Mona's Herald's report is wrong. For example, the loss of the ship's boat at Douglas on a Wednesday and the fact that the Thorne was trying to beat south from Holyhead on the same day are irreconcilable. It can however, be deduced that the Thorne sailed from Liverpool on 13th January 1890 and this fact was confirmed by the subsequent report of the Board of Trade Inquiry. She ended her voyage, twelve days later, on the rocks off Onchan Head