Sunday, 20 December 2015

Pike Ward of Devon

The WARD Family of Teignmouth by Richard Smith

If you go down to the Old Quay at Teignmouth Harbour you will see a large building just before the Harbour Master's office on which is a sign board which announces the name of the owners Pike Ward LTD Shipbrokers.
The company was founded by George Perkins Ward, father of Pike Ward in 1876 and in 1878 he was described in White's Directory of the County of Devon as Shipping Agent and Broker, Ship Owner, Coal and Fish Merchant, Custom House Agent, Vice Consul Netherlands & Austrian Lloyd’s, Port Reeve, Steam Tug Owner & Plier 37 Northumberland Place. The longest job description in Teignmouth.
He was born in Teignmouth in 1817 and by the age of 24 was a Master Mariner and skipper of the Brig Rover sailing to Newfoundland. He was the son of another Master Mariner Richard Ward who had also been in the Newfoundland Trade.
The Ward family is descended from Joseph Ward of Highweek who was born at the end of the 17th Century. After two generations as Husbandman in Highweeks and the adjoining parish of Wolborough, Richard 111 moved his family down the Teign Estuary to Teignmouth as did his brother William Coase Ward.
Richard's sons Richard 1V and William and their cousin William all became Mariners.
Reading from various sources, cousin William never ventured beyond the Coasting Trade, for after all from 1802/3 when they all went to sea as cabin boy age 14, and for the next 13 years we were fighting the French all of the time and the Americans some of the time.
On the other hand brothers Richard and William are recorded as serving in several ships owned by Richard Ward of Shaldon and others as cabin boys, seaman, mate and finally Master, mostly in the Newfoundland Trade. The vessels they served in were either a square rigged Brig or the faster fore and aft rigged Schooner.
William served aboard Phillipa, Grace, Margaret, Hebe, Penguin, Success, Providence, Woodbine, and Eliza until 1832 when William ceased to be recorded.

There is a note against the last mention of Eliza in 1832 with the stark word Lost, whether William was lost as well I have yet to discover.
Richard became Trinity House Pilot in 1809 and navigated visiting vessels into and out of Teignmouth harbour for over 40 years, as he stated in evidence to the Admiralty Enquiry in 1850 regarding the Shifting Channel at mouth of the river Teignmouth.
Returning to Richard Ward's grandson Pike he was born in Teignmouth in 1856 and by the time he was 25 in 1881, he was partner in his fathers firm.
Over the next five years he gained an extensive knowledge of both the company and the workings of the harbour and in 1886 he became Founder Director of the Teignmouth Quay Company.
By the 1890's the Newfoundland Banks had become over fished so in 1895 he travelled to Iceland where the industry had become dominant in Salt Fish production.
Pike's Agent preceded his visit to show Icelandic Fisherman how to prepare the fish for the English market. This enabled them to get a good price for the fish and as a result Pike received a warm welcome on his arrival. The trade continued until the threat of German Submarine activity in 1914.
Like his father Pike Ward had a finger in most of the maritime pies and his skill as a Shipbroker enabled the company to flourish. His reputation extended throughout the West of England as a seafarer, adventurer and a trader in the High Latitudes. The coast of Newfoundland knew him and in Iceland he was a legend in the fishing industry.
In 1924 the King of Denmark conferred on Mr. Shipbroker Pike Ward the Order of the Icelandic Falcon. Later he received the Grand Cross of the Order.
He died in Teignmouth in 1937 at the age of 80, but the company lives on.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know where he is buried? We are trying to track down his grave