Known as Bay Town locally, Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire was suffering a violent storm on the night of 18 January 1881 when a brig, the ‘Visitor’ that was owned by a forebear of the family, ran aground on the treacherous rocks in the bay. The crew lashed the jolly-boat to the mast of their vessel and spent the night being tossed about on the huge waves. Next morning they were spotted and the lifeboat was called for. Unfortunately the lifeboat was old and unseaworthy and the men refused to risk life further by taking it out.
The lifeboat in nearby Whitby was telegraphed but the distance around the headland together with the fierce storm made launching the lifeboat a futile effort.
The people of Whitby decided to take the boat by road over the moors through deep snow the six miles to Robin Hood’s Bay, and with 30 horses and hundreds of men they reached the shore in two hours. They put out to sea several times, returning with all the oars on one side broken and the crew exhausted. With a new crew they eventually reached the wreck and all were brought ashore alive. A heroic rescue.