The 'Lancashire Witch'
Arrived Timaru & Lyttelton  October 1863

Diary written by Henry Thorne SHEPHERD on the voyage from England to New Zealand in the ship 'Lancashire Witch', 1383 tons, 420 passengers, Captain West, bound for Canterbury sailed from Gravesend, England on 4 July 1863, and arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand on 13 October 1863. He became a farmer at Kirwee, near Christchurch, and died in the early 1900s. The Timaru Herald ran an article on the diary in the 1970s with a photo of  Mr Shepherd and his sisters with information gathered from his grand daughter Mrs T. McLachlan.

Mr Shepherd travelled with his daughters sisters as cabin passengers, not sisters as the newspaper stated. Mary Ann Shepherd who married Jonathan HILL a Baptist Minister) and Jane SHEPHERD who we think went back to England. The only son who was also on board and his name same as his father Henry Thorne SHEPHERD junior. Henry Shepherd's settled on a farm in the West Melton district and named it Preston Downs. Henry SHEPHERD's estate in Devonshire, England was named Preston so that was the name he gave to his farm in West Melton was Preston Downs. Jane SHEPHERD also shows up on the 50th reunion as Mrs. J W SAWLE.   Why are their names missing off the shipping intelligence item in the newspaper? This is not the only family that is not found in the newspaper arrival clipping or on the passenger list. The Leadley family did not appear on the passenger list or in the newspaper 'The Lyttelton Times' but they were at the Reunion.  Christopher & Elizabeth Leadley and their three children - Mary Jane, Eliza Ann and George William, another daughter Clara died at sea. Names not on the passenger yet at a 50 year reunion of the arrival have found mention of G W Leadley and Mary Jane (Fitzpatrick). Herman Meyer an early settler in the Waimate district on 1864 came out on the "Witch" but their names do not appear in newspaper.

4 July 1863.  We left Gravesend about noon. Came down to the mouth of the river about 5 o'clock then got out of sight of the land. At 8 o'clock, could see the Dover cliffs. In the evening saw the lights of Deal. Anchored the night. The two steam tugs left us.

Sunday July 5th. Very calm. In the evening we had a pretty little breeze. Service morning and evening conducted by the Schoolmaster, an Independent. West all Monday, very fine weather, little wind until the afternoon then a good breeze at 4 o'clock. Opposite start point at 6 o'clock, the pilot left us. We had to tack about.

Tuesday. Head wind. The ship on one side, a little too much for some passengers to like - some ill and some wishing themselves back again. In the afternoon saw the Eddystow Light-house, then the hills below.

Wednesday. More favourable. Opposite Landsend in the afternoon.

Thursday Sailing more easily 8 knots and having the Atlantic on the right and the Bay of Biscay off the left, 800 miles from London.

Friday. Fine weather, good wind, leaving the Bay of Biscay, sailing 9 knots an hour. They say the ship went 14 knots last night.

Saturday. Sailing 10' knots an hour

Sunday, July 12th. Trim and quiet for services

July 13th. Good weather. Two of the passengers got up the rigging, some of the sailors followed them and tied them down on the platform of the mast and fined them a bottle of whiskey each.

July 14th. A good breeze 8 knots an hour. Latitude 38-42 North, Longitude 15-4. Now opposite Lisbon.

July 15. Good weather, sailing 8 knots an hour.

July 16th. Fine weather, passed Madera (Madiera). Now opposite the Canarias Islands, Latitude 33-45 North, Longitude 18-32 West.

July 17th. Beautiful weather, 8 knots an hour. Latitude 31-43 North, Longitude 21-7 West.

July 18th. Latitude 28-56 North, Longitude 21-7 West, sailing 9 knots.

Sunday July 19th. Fine day

July 20th. Fine weather, Latitude 28-1 North, Longitude 24-12 West

July 21st. Latitude 22-12 North, Longitude 24-12 West. The sun was straight over our heads this day at noon. Now the sun is 22 degrees North Latitude. In January the sun will be over our heads 22 degrees South Latitude. In the months of April and October the sun is straight overhead at the equator.

July 22nd. Fair weather, sailing 8 knots an hour, latitude 19-36 North, Longitude 25-8 West.

July 23rd. Latitude 17-3 North, Longitude 25-33 West. The weather very warm, some spare sails are spread overhead for shade.

July 24th. Latitude 15-43. North Longitude 26-45 West

July 25th. Latitude 14-43 North, Longitude 25-56 West. The sun set 24 minutes past six. We lost one hour 40 minutes and 43 seconds since we left London.

Sunday July 26th. Very calm. Came near a bark (barque) belonging to Hamburg bound for South America. The Captain came on board and spent the day with our Captain. In consequence of the excitement, there was no service until evening.

July 27th. Calm and warm. Seven ships in sight. In the evening after sun set, I never saw the clouds look so beautiful some distance each side of where the sun set. The colours were so exceedingly rich and bright.

Tues. July 28th. Calm. 7 ships in sight. We have had 8 or 9 days of hot weather. This evening we have had a great quantity of rain.

July 29th. Fine morning. The air cooler and more pleasant. In the afternoon the wind squally and unfavourable. The ship on one side.

July 30th. Pleasant. Still we have a head wind Latitude 10-35 North, Longitude 24-38 West.

July 31st. Sailing 9 knots an hour.

August 1. Good weather.

Sunday August 2. Windy, unfavourable for the service on deck.

August 3. Head wind.

August 4. Latitude 3-2 North, Longitude 21-45 West.

August 5. Latitude 1-35 North; 24-55 West. The air is now cooler and milder.

August 6th. Pleasant weather. Longitude 1-0 at noon North.

August 7th. Crossed the Equator about 2 o�clock this morning.

August 8th. Latitude 3-39 South, Longitude 30-13 West. Sun.

August 9th. Rather windy for services. Latitude 5-58 South, Longitude 32-6 West. Now about 80 miles off the coast of Brazil, South America.

August 12. Latitude 13-10 South. Rather stormy or as the sailors say - squally. The ship has been much on one side since the rain. (July 28th)

August 13th. Latitude 13-37 South, Longitude 36-6 West.

August 14th. Latitude 18-41 South, Longitude 36-35 West.

August 15th. Latitude 22-17 South, Longitude 36-17 West.

August 16th. Latitude 26-8 South, Longitude 35-39 West. Fine weather, sailing 10 or 11 knots an hour.

August 18. The wind more favourable. The ship upright. The passengers boxes hawled (hauled) up on deck for them to take out what they want for the voyage. 5-8 knots an hour.

August 19. Latitude 32-14 South, Longitude 25-32 West. Good weather - sailing 10 to 11 knots an hour. On both sides of the ship there a great many pretty birds, called �Cape Pigeons.�

August 20th. Latitude 34-28 South, Longitude 21-46 West.

August 23rd. Sunday. Latitude 36-49 South, Longitude 19-8 West. Sailing 8-10 knots an hour. Only one service. Passed the island called Accumtra. (Ascension Islands)

August 24th. Latitude 37-54 South, Longitude 5-10 West. Fair wind, sailing 10-12 knots an hour.

August 25th. Latitude 40-5 South. Strong side wind. Thewater sometimes splashing in over. Some got a wetting together with the slipping, sliding and falling about that scaused much amusement.

August 28th. Latitude 35-57 South, Longitude 14-14 East. At the beginning of the voyage many were suffering from sea sickness, since then many have been ill from different complaints. Several children have died. The doctor expected to find a chest of medicine among the stores. A search was made but none could be found. It was then decided to go into Simon�s Bay, South Africa and get a supply. There was not even any castor oil left. The sailors are busy halling (Hauling) up the great iron cable chain from the hold, in readiness to anchor at the said Bay. It will be much out of out way, and a great hindrance. We have seen a great number of sea birds of different sorts. One sort, called the Albertross (albatross), something like a goose but their wings are longer. One was caught by hook and line. There are many other sorts of large sea birds.

August 29th. Five o�clock in the afternoon came in sight of the mountain. In the evening saw a revolving light on the said mountain that turned around every minute visible at intervals.

Sunday August 30th. In the morning we were entering the Bay. There are great rocky mountains on each side, they appear very grand and majestic, very little wind today so that it took the ship all day to get up the Bay. The Officers came alongside and enquired of the Captain where the ship comes from and where bound for and also enquired of the Doctor if there was any sickness on board, and how many death? The doctor answered 10 children had died. What complaints - scarlet fever, measels (measles), Hooping (whooping) cough. They then said they could not come on board nor allow any on board to go on shore. The Doctor gave the list of drugs and medicine wanted. Much was brought next morning. Then the Captain ordered what he wanted, 4 or 5 sheep, a carcase of mutton, some beef, some cags (kegs) of Cape rum and which was brought alongside. Some of the third class passengers sent 19/- for some fresh meat and other things. It was brought alongside the ship in a boat. Although the order was sent by the first mate the Captain would not allow anything to be brought up out of the boat. So it was returned again. Many of them would have been glad to have got some little things from shore, and bad enough wanted, as many had been ill. We thought it very cruel and inhuman of the Captain. He is a very good seaman but he does not seem to have the beauty of benevolence - strict in his way not enough in some respects. We anchored a mile off Simon�s Town. It appeared a pretty little town

Monday August 31. The Bay is about 10 miles long, 5 wide. On the shore we saw 2 wagons or caravans with 4 pair of horses in one and 7 pair of bullocks in the other. Its a barren looking place as far as we could see. Ankor (anchor) taken up - we moved off about 11 o�clock. We had but little wind, and that contrary so that it took all the rest of Monday to get out.

September 1st. The Captain sent us a present of a piece of Cape Beef ( for the second class 11 in number) also ordered the butcher to sell us the carcuss of mutton brought on board, it weighed 41 lbs - part of which we sold to the intermediate passengers. I was sorry there was none for the third class.

September 2. Latitude 36-29 South, Longitude 20-27 East. Good wind, sailing 9 knots an hour.

September 4th. Latitude 37-39 South, Longitude 28-5 East.

September 5. Latitude 38-7 South, Longitude 31-50 East.

Sunday September 6. Too rough for service out on deck. Latitude 38-18 South, Longitude 33-43 East.

September 7. Latitude 37-31 South, 36-30 East. Squally contrary wind.

September 8. Latitude 37-26 South, Longitude 36-49 East. Rough and contrary winds - an albertross was caught today. It measured 9 feet from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. The head and next larger than a goose but much like a goose. We have had four days of uncomfortable weather. The wind contrary, cold and rough.

September 10. Latitude 36-3 South, Longitude 37-57 East. The wind gone down, moving on slowly. It was a good interruption to our voyage to have to go 400 miles out of our right hack to call on Simon�s Bay. Since then we have had contrary winds blowing us too much towards the East Indies. It is supposed to make a fortnight�s difference to our voyage.

September 11. Latitude 36-15, Longitude 39-8 East. The wind favourable. In the afternoon lightening and a thunderstorm.

September 12. Latitude 36-54, Longitude 42 - 19 East.

September 13th. Latitude 38-32 South, Longitude 46-42 East. Fair wind 11-12 knots an hour. Our Chaplain is laid by in a fever. A Primitive Methodist Local Preacher has taken his place. He is a very suitable man having a good strong voice which is more required on the deck of a ship than anywhere else.

September 14th. Latitude 39-29 South, Longitude 49-14 East. Fair wind. The air milder. Some part of last night they say the wind went 15 knots a hour exceeding any time previous.

September 15. Latitude 40-31 South, Longitude 54-58 East.

September 16. Latitude 40-44 South, Longitude 59-14 East. Good side wind.

September 17. Latitude 42-9 South, Longitude 62-21 East.

September 18. Latitude 42-50 South, Longitude 59-14 East. Fair winds.

September 19. latitude 44-2 South, Longitude 70-17 East, going on pleasantly 9-10 knots an hour.

Sunday September 20. Latitude 45-0, Longitude 75-26 East, rough wind and rain - no service on deck.

September 23. We have had quite a gale all day. Rain in the morning, drier afterwards. When the sun shone out, it was a grand sight to see the tempestrous sea. The tops of the waves breaking the wind, blowing the foam and making it fly, like white dust. If the small Bark (barque) had been her she would have had a good tossing about. Our great ship took it all very steadily. It was a mercy for us the wind was blowing in the right direction. When the ship pitched down before, the sea appeared a mountain in front and when she dropt (dropped) as if it would roll right over the stern I have had a wish to see a good sea up - now I have been favourably gratified.

September 24. The ship has rolled to right. Less wind today yet it is a strong wind.

September 25. Latitude 45-38 South, Longitude 100-3 East. Rather rough yet it is a good fair wind.

September 26. Latitude 46-33 South, Longitude 105-28 East.

September 28. Latitude 47-9 South, Longitude 115-9 East 8-10 kno1 South, Longitude 152-17 East.

October 6th. Latitude 47-57 South, Longitude 159-56 east. Fair wind. We are now in the homeward hack from Adelaide and Melbourne via Cape Horn to England.

October 7. Latitude 48-3 South, Longitude 165-34 East. We have now left the homeward hack and are going to the left side of the Snares rocks. The homeward hack is on the right side. These rocks look like a range of hills risen out of the sea. One of them is said to be 470 ft high. They are 60 miles from Stewart Island, New Zealand.

October 8th. Passed Stewart Island last night. This morning came in sight of Otago but could see nothing but mountains.

October 9. The wind gone down moving slowly. In the evening saw some hills near Dunedin.

October 10th. When we got up in the morning we had a splendid view of the Canterbury Mountains , most of them covered with snow, the sun shining down behind a cloud caused a variety of beautiful colours. It seemed almost supernatural. In the afternoon came to anchor about a mile off a little town called Timaru. The doctor said it is now twice as large as it was 10 months ago on his previous voyage. About 100 passengers landed here.

October 11th Sunday. All bustle and confusion. The sailors were a long time halling (Hauling) up boxes together with the landing of passengers, took all day. One great drawback of this place is that there is no harbour for ships otherwise no doubt it would become an important place.

Monday October 12. Put out to sea again

October 13. Came alongside Banks Peninsula and about 11 o'clock entered Port Lyttleton [sic]. It is a capital Bay 5 miles long by 1� broad with hills on both sides gently sloped down to the waters edge, looking green except where the rock jilted out. Mr Pain of Christchurch came on board for three sisters and a brother-in-law Mr Allan, with whom we were intimate on board. Henry went to Christchurch with him and took lodgings at the same place as W Allan, the aforesaid schoolmaster on board. He is a painter and grainer by trade and doing well here. In the afternoon the rest of us went on shore at Lyttleton - slept there the night. The next morning we walked about Lyttleton. It is on the side of a hill. It is a very improving place and it will be a nice town. Sent some parcels by carrier. We left about 11 o'clock and found it a long and tiresome walk up the Port Hill being a warm day and we were under the wind when we got to the top and going down the other side we had rather too much wind, felt a little chilly. When we came to the bottom of the hill we got into a homnibus crossed the Heathcote river in a punt, that is a kind of floating bridge. The horses and buss (bus) were driven on, a bar put in front to keep the horses and then moved across. Came to Christchurch in time for tea. Christchurch has increased very fast the last three years and it has now become a great place of business. The site of the town is laid out in four squares 1� mile each way, the streets all straight and a chain, that is 66 feet wide as the roads that lead out into the country all are. There is a large river running through the town. The site on which the town is being built is too flat to be considered healthy, a great part of which was formally swamp.

In December the railway line was opened from Christchurch to Port Hills 4 miles. The tunnel through the hill not yet finished when it will be a great acquisition for Christchurch. They are reserving lands out in the country for railway extension. It is expected that it will be extended to Timaru 110 miles and it may be from there to Dunedin 100 miles further. It is also contemplated for another to lead away to Kaiapoi, South West.

If you have any information regarding the passengers listed or the Lancashire Witch please email, Olwyn, so we can share data with the genealogical community.

Passenger Lists Timaru
List of Shipboard Dairies
South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project