The Testament of Francis Warlow.
January 4th 1791
This evening at ten or eleven o’clock the ship Increase of Scarborough in the ordnance service having sailed last August with gunpowder to the West Indies. On her return with condemned gunpowder and other stores last from Saint Christopher’s was stranded on Druidston. All the crew, consisting of Francis Pawson, master, Joseph Anthony and.a woman…………. together with eight men and boys being in all eleven, continued on board ‘till the tide left the ship and then took refuge at Druidston.
The next day being Old Christmas Day which ever since the alteration of the time in 1742 is observed by the common people as a Holy Day, a large body of people collected, some for plundered, others to look on and took plunder from the ship, as soon as the tide permitted, about nine or ten o’clock of which time, Moses Grant, the rector of the parish watched, chilly and having asked the sail master storekeeper what they wished to save firstly.
Carts were sent for and orders given to take the gunpowder over the side next to the sea which was done but the people on board being intoxicated on rum were in general very disorderly and threw several barrels of gunpowder over the side next to the cliff, dashing them on the stones in order to get the copper hoop. John Watts of Little Haven, miller, threw an iron crow and gun barrel on the stones on that side about twelve o’clock of noon of the fifth which fired the gunpowder scattered among the pebbles on which the crowd was thick as they could stand and there being about sixty or more were burned by three explosions were heard within three or four seconds of time - The Gunpowder after the casks were beaten off remaining in large lumps.
Women suffered more than the men on account of their flowing dresses; and the burning cloth did more harm in general than the gunpowder. The faces of almost all were scorched. Many that recovered had such dreadful marks , and will continue when they approach the grave. The rigging, mast and hull were preserved.
August 24th 1791