The Isle of Man has seen its fair share of shipwrecks, with over 1,126 recorded within Manx territorial waters just 12 miles offshore of the island. One which is rather significant to the Manx people of the Isle of Man is located on the southeastern tip of the island near the Calf of Man Islands.
It was here, on April 8, 1858, that a number of brave locals came to the rescue of a French Schooner vessel Jeune St Charles. On a voyage from Pontrieux in France to Londonderry in Northern Ireland the ship had taken on water from the rough seas around the Isle of Man, but Captain Joseph Jegou had managed to drop anchors in the channel between the Isle of Man and the Calf of Man Islands. It was decided that the ship would be abandoned and everyone would board longboats and try to find shelter on land. Unfortunately, the longboats did not get very far as the strong winds and relentless sea and got pinned against the small rocky islands of the Calf of Man known as the Thousla Rocks.
At first light, farmers noticed the precarious situation that the vessel, its crew, and its passengers were in. They decided to take two rowboats from nearby Port St Mary for a rescue attempt. Thanks to their skilled seamanship, the locals managed to rescue all but two of the crew and passengers of the Jeune St Charles on that early morning. To commemorate their brave actions, a wooden cross and plaque were placed at the site in 1859.
The stone plaque inscription reads as follows: THE THOUSLA CROSS TO COMMEMORATE AN ACT OF HEROISM BY MEN OF THIS PARISH IN THEIR RESCUE OF THE CREW OF THE FRENCH SCHOONER “JEANE ST. CHARLES” IN 1858.
In November 1905, the Wooden Thousla Cross was unfortunately destroyed. But in 1907, the original monument was replaced with a concrete structure that stands today, looking out towards the sea. Another wooden cross placed on the Thousla Rocks lasted until 1980 and was later replaced with a gas-powered light to warn incoming ships of the dangerous conditions.
Know Before You Go
Located on the far southeast corner of the Isle of Man to get there you have to make your way towards the towns of Port St Mary and Port Erin. Once there head towards the hamlet of Cregneash then turn onto the Sound Road and follow this road to the Sound Café where there is plenty of parking. The Thousla Cross is located on the grass patch below the Car Park facing towards the Calf of Man Islands.