The Mysterious Female Victorian Sailor !
Women sailors are still not exactly widespread today, only recently at sea in submarines etc for the Royal Navy (and yes many did return home pregnant), but how many women sailors were there in the 1800s ?!
That should be enough of a start, but there’s a delicious twist to this one . . . you must read this . . .
I’m, and you too are now, greatly indebted to site stalwart Veronica who came across this wonderful story in an 1870 edition of a Grantham Lincolnshire newspaper.
It seems a vagrant, was found in Horncastle, the place appears full of them still to this day , and brought up before the beak, he was formerly a sailor but was now without berth.
Now, Horncastre knows a thing or two about justice, I rather wonderfully wrote about it before - so, no messing - 2 weeks in gaol without the option !
On arrival at gaol, said Jack Tar was ordered to strip and be sanitized in line with usual rules, Jack Tar refuses!
Warden is called: “Why will you not strip you old sea dog?” he almost certainly didn’t say.
“Because I’m a chick” she almost certainly didn’t reply.
Doctor is called: Doc rummages about for a while and then declares . . . “he’s a she!”
Jack Tar become Jacklyn Tar.
The story was that she had fled an unhappy marriage and been on the run for 12 years fooling all and spending the time at sea as a sailor.
The paper reports that:
When dressed by the matron in appropriate clothes she was refined and presentable and her family were very highly connected.
What a truly remarkable woman, think about what must have been involved, especially a Victorian life at sea !
The question is . . . who was this amazing woman and what more is there to this story.
It’s a wonderful tale and it would be great to find out more, I think we’ll be lucky to do so, but you never know.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this historical farce which is in reality a tale of a remarkable woman and my thanks once again to Veronica for the tip-off
Avast me hearties,