A ship, the S.S. Increase had been spotted off the coast in the neighbourhood of St. Davids. She was clearly losing in its quarrel with the stormy seas, It was only a matter of when or where she’d run aground. Her plight had drawn the attention of the local inhabitants, their hearts filled with greed, anticipating wealth and the riches that lay within her hull. More and more men and women joined the gathering throng as it followed the ship’s progress towards Druidstone. They were the very lowest order of society with only the thoughts of plunder within them. Finally, the inevitable grounding occurred, and swiftly, the crowd descended upon her with far more feelings for the cargo than for the crew. Eventually, the multitude took complete possession of the vessel and threw much of the cargo; barrels of gunpowder, onto the rocks below. Strangely they were far more interested in the copper hoops that bound the casks than the explosives inside. Many made merry with another item from the ship’s inventory:- a quantity of best Jamaican rum.

Trying to complete their plunder before troopers appeared, happily in their cups, tragedy was the only possible outcome. A villager, one not quite together with his senses, cursing his fellow sinners cast out a fearful oath and snatched up his musket against a rock. A single spark was all that was needed to cause a massive explosion.

The strand and the rocks were instantly rapt in fire and smoke and many unhappy victims who bore about them the means of their own destruction were blown into the air. Several were killed on the spot, some so disfigured that their bodies could not be distinguished. Others died lingering deaths at different intervals of time. And some now live, wretched and miserable spectacles of their own rashness and inhumanity.

Mrs. Morgan’s Tour of Milford Haven, 1791.

Some wonderful librarian friends then pointed me in the direction of an old, hand-written note. The original was probably neatly written on just one piece of foolscap paper. The writing was tiny and very closely spaced. In modern day terms, it looked like font size six. I found it incredibly hard to read but we should remember, this was written with a quill pen and a bottle of ink, possibly by the light of a single oil lamp.