Hugh Douglas, Blacksmith

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In 1835 a Royal Commission was instituted to look into the “existing laws, regulations, and practises under which pilots are appointed, governed and paid in the British Channel and the several approaches to the Port of London, and also in the navigation connected with the other principal ports in the United Kingdom.” It was the first major inquiry into pilotage and one of the main items in the findings and report of the Commission was the recommendation that there should be a central body to control all pilotage affairs.

Amongst the many witnesses was Hugh Douglas, a blacksmith in Holyhead.

Statement of Hugh Douglas. Nov. 19, 1835.
No. 48.

Holyhead, \3th November 1835.

Has been employed in the Post-office dock-yard nine years as blacksmith. Recollects getting leave of absence in the end of the year 1832 to go to Scotland. He got leave of absence to go to Scotland this present year; thinks it was in the month of August. Bought some old iron from the resident engineer—about 11 tons 10 cwt.—and paid the storekeeper for it. He is sure he paid the storekeeper £46. He paid him at two separate times, and received a receipt for the amount of the payment from the storekeeper. He says the iron was for his brother, who lives in Scotland close to Kilmarnock, who is also a blacksmith. His name is William Douglas. The money was sent to Hugh Douglas by his brother from Scotland. The iron was sent to Troon by the " Countess,'1 one of the Post-office colliers, and was taken as ballast, no freight being paid. The scrap iron he bought was sent to Kilmarnock, where there is a scrap iron foundry. Kilmarnock is about nine miles from Troon, and there is a railway from Troon to Kilmarnock. He has no recollection of the time he bought the iron, but he thinks it was about the beginning of this year. He was absent this year, on leave, in Scotland, about 11 or 12 days. He is quite sure he bought the iron before he went on leave this year, and says his pay was not stopped while he was on leave: he received his full pay on his return. He is paid £ 1. 15*. a-week, as head blacksmith. He says that he makes up, by working during extra hours and sometimes on Sundays, for the time lost during his absence, and he never receives any extra pay, although he is subject to be called on at all hours day or night.

States that no iron is delivered out of the store to any person but himself. Receives whatever may be required by direction of Mr. Johnstone, and has the charge of all the iron issued from the store.

Is well acquainted with the collieries in the neighbourhood of the Troon. The nearest to the harbour is Colonel Boyle's, called the Shotton Colliery. No coals are ever brought for the packets from this colliery. The works at the Troon collieries are very extensive, and vessels can never be put to any inconvenience in getting their freight on board. They have always an abundant supply at the pit's mouth, and could, from any of the collieries, send down more coals than a vessel could take on board before she had time to get out her ballast. Troon coals don't answer for the blacksmith's shop.

(Signed) Hugh Douglas.

Research notes:

1841 census for Holyhead :
NW Street: James Douglas,30,born Scotland ; Frances,25,born Anglesey; Frances ,5, born Anglesey,
Jennet,2,born Anglesey.
On the 1841 census ages from 14 inclusive downwards
were correct.Age 15 and above was to the nearest five years.
15 meant between 15-19;30 meant 30-34;25 meant 25-29 and so on.
Tyn y wine: Hugh Douglas,35,Blacksmith,born Scotland.
Mary,30, Anglesey;Eleanor,10;Hugh,8;Owen,6;John,4;
Wiliam,1;Eleanor Forcer,65,Independent,all born Anglesey.

William Douglas isn't found in Holyhead as he was still having children born in Scotland in 1842.

James Douglas married Frances Behan in Holyhead on 6 Feb 1835 ,by licence. That means there could be a marriage bond at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth which could give additional info.

Hugh Douglas married Mary Williams in Holyhead 9 April 1830
by licence.

Some baptisms from the Holyhead register :
Children of James and Frances :Frances Ann 22/11/1835
Waterside.
Jessy 7/4/1839,Waterside;

Children of Hugh and Mary: Eliz Mary,15/6/1845 Newry;
John Forcer,27/5/1837,Willow garden row; Owen ,3/8/1834,
Swift's Court ; Hugh 20/1/1833; Ellinor, 4/6/1831 William's Row.

Children of William and Catherine: Andrew,8/1/1845,Church street; Catherine,28/4/1847,Waterside; Jennette,4/9/1849, Cross street.

Hugh Douglas senior is called a boilermaker in 1834,1837.
William Douglas, senior, is an engineer in 1847,1849.

Frances Behan baptised 18/5/1814 in Holyhead, dtr of William and Frances Behan, sailor.
She had a brother baptised 27/5/1818 in Holyhead called Joseph James Behan.

All dates are in British usage as should be obvious.

Notice Hugh Douglas's son is called John Forcer Douglas.
This probably means Eleanor Forcer living with them in 1841 is related somehow.

1581 census
442 Cybi St Douglas Hugh 44 Blacksmith SCT
442 Cybi St Douglas Mary 41 Wife AGY Holyhead
442 Cybi St Douglas Ellinor 20 AGY Holyhead
442 Cybi St Douglas Hugh 19 Apprentice AGY Holyhead
442 Cybi St Douglas Owen 16 Apprentice AGY Holyhead
442 Cybi St Douglas John 14 Scholar AGY Holyhead
442 Cybi St Douglas William 11 Scholar AGY Holyhead
442 Cybi St Douglas Elizabeth 5 AGY Holyhead
442 Cybi St Douglas Hugh King 23 Nephew/Blacksmith SCT

See also:
Douglases in Anglesey



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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017