The Newby Ferry Disaster took place 150 years ago on February 4th 1869 and at the time was considered to be a national disaster.
The York and Ainsty Hunt had met at Stainley House, South Stainley and after a brisk hunt from Monkton Whin, the fox and hounds swam the River Ure near Newby Hall. Some of the field attempted to ford the river but the waters were swollen with snowmelt from the hills so most of the followers made for the ferry that was moored on the opposite bank at Newby Hall.
Sir Charles Slingsby, the Master and huntsman, boarded the boat along with eleven horses and thirteen men, including the Newby Hall gardener and his son who had been summoned to bring the ferry across. Before they were half way over Sir Charles’s horse, Saltfish, panicked and leapt over board, dragging his master with him into the icy flow. During the ensuing panic the ferry capsized and within a few minutes six men, including Sir Charles and his whipper-in, William Orveys, had drowned. Nine horses also perished, but old Saltfish was one of just two to survive. The effect of this tragedy was devastating.
This dinner will commemorate the disaster’s 150th anniversary and remember those who lost their lives.
The Dinner is being held at Thirsk Racecourse on Friday 29th March, 2019. Tickets cost £50 each. The evening commences with a champagne reception at 7.30pm, followed by dinner at 8pm. An auction of a small number of special lots will take place after dinner. Guest speakers on the night will be Nigel Peel, longstanding MFH and currently Master and Huntsman of the Thurlow, and Adrian Dangar, former MFH and direct descendant of a survivor of the disaster. Carriages at 11.30pm.
All are welcome to attend this HSBS fundraiser; please contact Lucy Stevens, Fundraising Secretary, for further information, or to book.
A commemorative re-printing of survivor Colonel R. Meysey-Thompson's eye-witness account of the disaster has been reproduced in booklet form, and this is being sold in aid of the Society. Order Forms can be downloaded here.