Ransom and Ridley's Shipyard

From Historical Hastings

This shipyard at one time built ships for use in all parts of the world. The partners both lived in houses in York Buildings. The site was on the beach where Wellington Place is now situated[1].


The yard in 1822

It is believed that the partnership was founded circa 1790[1]. Both proprietors, William Ransom and William Ridley were born in 1770 and were known to be in partnership and sending a petition to the Commissioners of Customs for the release of The Lion, one of their vessels on the 20th of May 1801.[2]

They were acclaimed as having built some of the finest vessels ever launched from Hastings and left two rows of houses constructed by them as a permanent memorial; Ransom constructed York Buildings and Ridley Wellington Place[2]

At the time, the Priory Stream provided an easy launch site for their yard.

Suspected Witchcraft

"A new vessel was, on a certain occasion, ready for launching. The jacks were under her, and the men were in the rigging to shake her and give her the initial motion, but she would not stir. Presently, a black retriever was discovered on board. This poor creature was well tarred and chivvied away. The vessel slipped gallantly into the water at once. That afternoon Widow ____________, a reputed witch living in a house I knew well, reached her home covered in tar.". This tale was told by Arthur Ransom who claims he heard it from the son of the woman who washed the tar from the widow.[3][2]

Known Vessels

The following is a partial list of vessels constructed at this yard[4]

Unknown The Jane This was a smuggling cutter, believed to have been scuttled off Ireland while on a 'run' [5]
1811 The Badger A revenue cutter, which later captured a local smuggling craft, the Three Brothers, in 1823 after a running fight of over 6 hours.
1814 The Defence Cutter, 137 tons, which was badly damaged in getting off the shore in 1825.
1815 The Four Sisters Trading sloop belonging to Messrs. Breeds & Co. eventually lost in 1833.
1822 The Tartar Revenue cutter, 80 tons, built for the Weymouth station.
The Seaflower Revenue cutter, 40 tons.
1824 The Nancy A yacht belonging to Sir Godfrey Webster, was renovated and re-launched.
The Jack a Lanthorn A yawl-rigged yacht, 140 tons.:
1826 The Menai A cutter yacht, 140 tons.
1827 The Mark Breeds A brig of 150 tons.
The British Fair A for Mr. (later Sir) Joseph Planta.
1828 The Atlanta A , 29 ft. long. This plied from Hastings for many years and was once detained as a smuggling suspect. But as only “two bottles of pickles and a flying fish preserved in spirit” could be found, she was released.
The Diligence Revenue cutter, 172 tons.
The Bee Revenue cutter.
1829 A cutter-yacht was built for Lord Chesterfield, who came down to witness the launch.
1831 The Isabel A schooner with raking masts.[6]
1832 The Queen Adelaide Revenue cutter.
1833 The Prince George A cutter of 72 tons, mounting 6 guns, launched by Prince George of Cumberland himself on April 8th. He was staying with the Duke and Duchess at 5 & 6 Breeds Place[7].
1834 The Teazer A brig, 130 tons, for the fruit trade.
1837 The Queen Victoria A collier brig.
The Black Cat A schooner,
1838 The Phoenix A sloop, for Charles Burfield & Co.
The Griffin A sloop, about 67 tons, for the coasting trade.
1839 The Victoria A brig, 121 tons, for the coasting trade.
The William Thornborough Schooner, which worked for Burfield & Co. until 1841.
The Isabella Fishing lugger, 12 tons, 26 ft.
1840 The Mary Ann Bilton A schooner.
The Torch A schooner.
The Wanderer A schooner, 100 tons.[8]
The Fane A fishing lugger, 13 tons, 28 ft.
1842 The Lion A revenue cutter for the Weymouth station.
1845 The Menai A cutter rigged yacht of 140 tons built for Sir Godfrey Webster[9]


References & Notes

  1. a b "The America Ground" (Steve Peak 2021) ISBN: 9780750997317
  2. a b c Historic Hastings, J. Manwaring Baines pg. 236 ISBN: 0948869003 ISBN: 9780948869006 Amazon
  3. Arthur Ransom - Reminiscences of Old Hastings Pg. 3
  4. Historic Hastings, J. Manwaring Baines ISBN: 0948869003 ISBN: 9780948869006 Amazon
  5. "Reminiscences of Smugglers and Smuggling" pg. 48 John Banks
  6. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 1 Chap. 6 Pg. 54
  7. Brett's Manuscript Histories Vol. 1 Chap. 10
  8. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 3 Chap. 24
  9. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 3 Chap. 34