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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2009-01 > 1231367337

From: Peter Layzell <>
Subject: [Ess] Southend national School
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2009 22:28:57 +0000

Ref the enquiry about Robert Jemson being the Southend Agent.
I have read Hervey Benham's book- the Smugglers Century but sadly I do
not own a copy so I can't read the full entry and the information below
maybe out of context to his comments.
The practice of the coastguard/revenue service in the 1800's with regard
to seized contraband was to hold it in a warehouse and then auction it.
The proceeds were shared by the government and the ship that made the
These auctions were the responsibilities of the customs collector but
usually run by agents - If you have access to any old online newspaper
database like the Times or London Gazette you will be able to find
adverts for these auctions in the classified adds.
Customs sold any smuggled cargo and the vessels in which they were
conveyed but they would only recovered anchors if they were cut by a
smuggling vessel caught at anchor but still able to make an escape from
the revenue cutter. As the Essex Rivers were thick with smugglers six
anchors and one small boat seems an unlikely haul for the revenue men.
As Hervey mentions that Robert only disposed of 6 anchors and one small
boat he may have been the agent of the receiver of wrecks who claimed
ownership of wrecks and a variety of other goods ( including several
cases of beached whales!) and sold them off on behalf of the crown.
Anchors were quite valuable and often recovered .
Probably the only way to be sure would be to consult the coastguard and
receiver of wrecks records that are held in the national archives in London.
If anyone has access to the old copies of the Essex Herald newspaper
they may well be able to trace advertisements by Robert for the anchors
in 1844/1845 Sadly the Southend Observer newspaper did not come into
print until 1881 although there may have been another Southend newspaper
in print before then.

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