On October 11 1836, the Clarendon - a ship from the Caribbean - struck rocks at the foot of Blackgang Chine in gale-force winds. She was carrying an exotic cargo of rum, coconuts and turtles.
Despite the valiant efforts of local people, the ship broke up in heavy seas with the loss of 23 lives. The bodies were washed ashore, except one. Uncannily, the body of Miss Gourlay was carried on to Southsea, to the foot of her father’s garden.
A trio of lighthouses
Perched high on St Catherine’s Hill, the Oratory is often quoted as being a fine example of a medieval lighthouse, although it's more likely to have been a bell tower with a beacon alongside.
In 1785, a proper lighthouse was begun nearby but never completed because the hill was so often shrouded in mist. In 1838, work began on a new lighthouse on St Catherine’s Point.