The Jago Coastguards in the 19th Century
The Jago Coastguards in the 19th Century
Our great grandfather, James Jago, was a coastguard. He was born on 9th April, 1841 and was said to have been Cornish. When he retired from the coastguards, he settled in Sandgate, Kent, and died in 1900. When we started researching the history of our family, we discovered that James was one of at least seven brothers and uncles who had served in the Royal Navy and transferred to the Coastguard.
We soon learnt from census returns that James was actually born in Cork, Ireland, whilst our great grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Salter was born in Waterford. Elizabeth was said to have been the sister of the girl who married James’ brother. When we found the record of James’ marriage, which took place in Queenstown, Cork on 21st December 1869, we discovered his father’s name was recorded as “Henry Jago, Coastguard and District Carpenter”. Elizabeth’s father was “Thomas Salter, Coastguard pensioner”. Our search then started for Henry Jago, helped by searching coastguard records downloaded from the National Archives in Kew. The jigsaw puzzle of information collected eventually led us to conclude that our great great grandfather was born in Fowey, Cornwall.
Henry Jago was born in Fowey in 1791, the son of Thomas and Ann Jago. The family were known as builders of ships, barges and, later, railway carriages. Thomas’ parents were another Thomas, (b.1708) and Elizabeth Trethaway. This Thomas was the son of William Jago (b.1681) and Elizabeth Hockin. William and Elizabeth were married in the parish of Morval in 1744. Finally we know that William was the son of Walter and Mary Jago, both of whom were born in 1661.
Henry joined the coastguards in 1821, his letter of recommendation describing him as “Extra Man, Mevagissey Boat”. He was interviewed in St Austel, then posted to Aberthaw in South Wales. Two weeks before joining he had married a Mary Curra in Fowey. Their first son, Richard Curragh Jago was born in Fowey in 1822. Henry remained at Aberthaw for fifteen months before posting to Paignton, in Devon. Three months later, in December 1823, he was posted to Ireland, and to Glandore in South West Cork.
Henry had an older brother Thomas, (b.1788). This Thomas had also become a coastguard and by 1820 was on “Dolphin” in Kinsale, Cork. Thomas married a Mary Ann in 1822 who was born in Rye, Sussex. He probably married in Ireland so perhaps Mary was a coastguard’s daughter. Thomas later moved to Glandore, so perhaps Henry requested the posting to be near him. Henry had another brother, James, born in 1783. It is possible that he was the coastguard James Jago who was posted from Mousehole to Castletownsend (adjacent to Glandore) in April 1820. This posting was later cancelled and James recommended for superannuation. Henry also had a brother Josias, born in 1794, who became an excise officer, serving in Liverpool and then Glasgow.
Henry moved back and forth between Glandore and Castletownsend until he returned to Castletownsend in 1831 as a Chief boatman. Perhaps by this time he was District Carpenter, as the station at Castletownsend had a loft “for the use of the District Carpenter”.
We know Henry was the father of at least seven children, four of whom, including my great grandfather James, became coastguards. I have already mentioned Richard, born in Fowey. Richard married a Charlotte, who was born in Kenton, Devon. In 1847 he was posted to “Castletownsend, Exmouth)”, where his father Henry was stationed. Two children were born there; Elizabeth Ann (1850) and Henry William (1851). Henry William also became a coastguard and was on “Spartan” from 1873 to 1875. His record then shows that he died in hospital, annotated “DD”.
Thomas Jago was born in “Myross, Parish of Castlehaven” in 1825. Coastguard records show him serving on “Racer” and “Chance”. He married Maria Bryden in Carlingford, Louth in 1852 and, in 1853, was transferred to Orlock Hill, Dublin.In 1865 he was at Malahide, and 1867 at Kilkeel. He was at Rosslare in 1872 as Chief Officer, and later at Carnsore and Rosslare. One of his sons, Thomas Bishop Jago, became a well known master mariner in the merchant navy.
Alfred Jago was born in Castletownsend in 1833. Census records of 1861 show him on HMS Renown, “located off Beirut”. He later transferred to the coastguards. In 1869, Alfred married Agnes Oldberry Randle Hicks in Winchelsea, near Rye. Agnes was the daughter of coastguard John Hicks and wife Agnes. John was a Chief Boatman at Fairlight Cove, and was born in Polperro in 1814.
Joseph Jago, “Son of Henry Jago, coastguard”, married Hanora Salter in the church at Kilmoe on 2nd February, 1863. He was recorded as a seaman, resident of Rockisland, aboard a ship in Crookhaven. I am not sure whether this was an RN ship, as the name is illegible, or whether Joseph became a coastguard. Hanora was the daughter of coastguard Thomas Salter.
James Jago, my great grandfather, was born on 9th April, 1841. I suspect he was born in or near Castletownsend. He joined the RN at sixteen and served on a series of ships, including a short period on HMS Warrier, now preserved in Portsmouth dockyard. When he transferred to the coastguards in 1869, he was described as being “5ft 6ins tall, black hair, blue eyes, and fair complexion“. He had “scars on his forehead, a cross tattooed on his right arm, and a ship over each breast”!
James married sixteen year old Elizabeth Ann Salter on 21st December, 1869 in Queenstown, Cork. Elizabeth was the daughter of coastguard Thomas Salter, and the sister of his brother Joseph‘s wife, Hanora.
James was posted back to England c.1671, initially to Jury’s gap, near Rye, then to Dungeness, where his brother Alfred was at that time stationed. James and Elizabeth eventually moved to the CG station in Sandgate where he served until he retired on pension, c1882. James then became a volunteer member of the Hythe lifeboat crew. In November 1891, the three masted ship Benvenue, en route for Australia, was driven ashore off Sandgate. The lifeboat Mayer de Rothschild was launched but capsized, one of her crew being drowned. The lifeboat was then pulled to Hythe and relaunched successfully, rescuing most of the ships passengers and crew. Each of the crew of the lifeboat were presented with a specially struck silver medal, recording their bravery. James’ medal is now one of our prized possessions.
James had two sisters that we know of. Mary Ann was born c1837, and married a coastguard named Thomas Tegan in 1858. Her wedding certificate states she was “a spinster of Castletownsend, County Cork, daughter of Henry William Jago, Coastguard of Castlehaven Parish, Castletownsend”. Mary Ann Tegan was still living in Castletownsend during the 1901 census, together with a married daughter, Bella Walsh, and a granddaughter Gertrude.
James also had a sister Katy. All we have learnt is that Katy Carson died in Sligo in 1900, where she was a postmistress.
Our great grandmother’s father was coastguard Thomas Salter. He was born in Kinsale in 1809 or 1810, and was nominated to join the coastguard from Kinsale in 1831. He was posted to Shingle End, near Sandwich, in Kent. He married a Sarah, who was born in Ireland, and by 1841 was at Hunstanton, in North Norfolk. From there he was posted back to Ardmore, in County Waterford. During the Crimean War, he served on HMS Caesar in the Baltic, before returning to Ardmore, and then to nearby Youghal. He retired on pension from Colaris in 1865. We believe that Elizabeth and Hanora were probably born in Ardmore or thereabouts.
Mention must be made of other Jago coastguards in the 19th century. I can find no links among these to my family, but they may exist.
- The most interesting is James Jago, who was born in Ipswich in 1805. He was the son of a John Jago and Mary Clark. This John was probably the John who was born in Torpoint, Cornwall, c.1781, and married a Mary (b.1786). James married Jane Simmonds, born in Saltash in 1803, close to Torpoint. James served in the Royal Navy and became a coastguard in 1833. Between then and 1835, he moved back and forth between Kilmichael, Wexford, Blackwater and Wicklow, before returning to England with a posting to the Isle of Wight. In 1843 he was at Dungeness in Kent, where a son, also named James was born. James and family were at Aldburgh, Suffolk in 1851 and pensioned off in 1866, settling in Bawdsey. James junior also joined the coastguards. The fact that his parents were from Cornwall, and his wife from the same area, his time spent in Ireland, and his time at Dungeness, leads me to suspect he was related in some way to Henry and family.
- Another coastguard was Robert Jago, born in County Antrim in 1830. He married a Mary Ann from Bridgerule in Devon. A son. Robert was born in Port Isaac in 1860.
- Another Robert Jago was born in Fowey in 1831 and married A Mary Ann from Bude.
- John Thomas Jago, born Kinsale in 1834, became a coastguard in 1863. He was drowned on duty serving in Vanguard.
- Richard George Jago was born in Saltash in 1835. In 1861 he was on HMS Caesar. On joining the coastguard, he served at Barna, Tarbet, Ballyvaughan and Union Hall. He was pensioned in 1891.
- Selwyn Jago was born in 1838 in Ireland. He also married a Mary Ann (b.1843). Selwyn’s mother was Hanna Maria Jago, born in Ireland in 1809.
- John Jago, born in Ireland c.1839, married Elizabeth Ann in 1866. John served as a coastguard in the Scillie Isles between 1868 and 1869. In 1881 he was at Seatown Coastguard Buildings in Chideock, Dorset.
- Edwin Jago was posted from Gertrude to Stag in 1860. In 1861 he was listed as “Additional paymaster to Pembroke”.
- William Jago was born in 1857 in Devon. In 1901 and 1911 he was a coastguard at Wexford, and in 1902 at Greystones.
The sea obviously runs in the blood of the Jagos! I have a great uncle, an uncle and an older brother who also served in the Royal Navy. I myself joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraft apprentice, so breaking with tradition! I was, however, introduced to dinghy sailing whilst overseas, which became a major spare time activity for me. I even built two sailing dinghies myself! I wonder if my ancestors were keeping tabs on me? Lucky I didn’t indulge in any smuggling!
I would be delighted to hear from anyone who may be able to add to my history. Even more so if related!