This headstone in St Clement's old churchyard is a reminder of the proximity of the treacherous North Sea, or the German Ocean as it was then known.
It reads: IN MEMORY OF/ JOHN HARGRAVE,/ Mariner/ late of Boston,/ who was shipwrecked/ and drowned/ OFF SALTFLEET/ on the 14th January 1837:/ Aged 67 Years/ RYLEY, LOUTH.
It may be that John Hargrave had come close to drowning 12 years before as the following newspaper report has been found:
On Friday, the 21st, in the morning, came ashore near this place, the Liberty, of Boston, John Hargrave, master, laden with oats from London.
As the sea then ran very high it was found necessary to launch the Life-Boat to preserve the lives of the crew, consisting of the master and two others.
The boat was very quickly into the water, well manned, and managed with great skill and courage, and the men were soon safely landed; the cargo is preserved though much damaged by the salt water; but the vessel is so much injured that there is little chance of her ever getting off again.
This was reported under Cromer in the Norfolk Chronicle & Norwich Gazette of 29 October 1825.
Jean Howard, 10 April 2022