They had set off late one February night in 1864 to check their crab-pots and had not returned come daybreak.
Boats were sent out and came across a macabre scene. The upturned keel of their boat was still moored beside the Bell Rock and as the rescuers drew closer, they saw a body, entangled in lines, floating face down in the water. No immediate sign of the other fisherman was found that day and it's still uncertain whether the unfortunate soul was ever retrieved for burial.
If you perchance to sail past the Bell Rock today, you can still see crab pot marker buoys close in to the rock. In all probability, local fishermen are unaware of what happened that tragic night in 1864.
|Capsized off the Bell Rock they never returned ..|
'At the foot of one of these an isolated rock, called,
from its figure, the Bell, stands in the sea,
where, even while I am writing this paper, a mournful tragedy has occurred.
Two Babbicombe fishermen went out at midnight
to examine their crab-pots at this rock, and
did not return. The morning revealed the keel of the boat
bottom-up, moored by the pot-lines, and one
poor fellow entangled by his feet in the same
lines,while the sea washed his hair about the
surface. The other has not yet been found'.
|Bell Rock to the south of Maidencombe|