Fiona Freer

Writer, historian and speaker

Shipwreck, Scandal and Madness – the true story of the Tayleurs of St. Marychurch


I had a fantastic evening on January 21st, giving my illustrated talk about the history of Hampton House to the Babbacombe and St. Marychurch Local History Society. What a friendly, welcoming crowd they are! It was poignant to talk about the RMS Tayleur that night because it hit rocks off Lambay Island on January 21st 1854 – exactly 162 years ago to the day. I learned a great deal from the people who came up to chat after the talk. There were several ladies there who had attended Hampton Court School or Abbey School in the early days, and it was lovely to hear their memories. I even met a descendant of the brother of Charles Tayleur who is researching that branch of the family, and that was a great treat for me.

As always, the audience responded with great sympathy to the story of the shipwreck. I would warmly recommend Gill Hoffs’ book to anyone who wants to know more –  “THE SINKING OF RMS TAYLEUR – THE LOST STORY OF THE VICTORIAN TITANIC” published by Pen and Sword 2014.

Thank you to everyone who came out on such a cold, rainy evening to listen to my talk – it was good to meet you.

I am available to give the talk to groups and societies – use the contact page to discuss a date that would be convenient for you.