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Birsay Feas

Peter Fea and Ann Medd

Peter Fea was born in Birsay on 6th September 1764.  He married Ann Medd; who was born on 9th December 1771 and came from South Cave, Yorkshire, England.  He was a ship's captain.

For Hamburg
The Ship


Peter Fea, Master,
Is now laid on and will sail with first Convoy.
For particulars inquire of the Master on Board, in the Dock, or

E. Anderson,
Hull, Jan 28, 1799
George Street

Good Accommodations for Passengers
ROBERT PECK, Printer of the HULL PACKET, Scale-Lane

Battle's Directory of 1803 for Hull has: "Fea- Peter, Master Mariner, Dock Street"

Peter Fea and Ann Medd had at eight children:

  • Margaret Fea b. 11th December 1791 Sculcoates (north of Hull, England)
  • Ann Fea  b. 11th February 1794  do (d. 31st January 1841)
  • Catherine Fea b. 10th  October 1795 Kingston upon Hull
  • Jane Fea  b. 12th August 1799  do
  • Elizabeth Fea b. 8th August 1800  do
  • John Fea  b. 7th June 1802  do
  • Peter Fea  b. 12th June 1808  do
  • Mary Jane Fea b. 30th March 1810  do

Jane Fea, Peter Fea and Mary Jane Fea died infancy.

Peter does seem to have had an eventful life. He lived during the Napoleonic Wars and was a prisoner of the French from 1810 to 1814.  He kept a diary in a notebook which is deposited with the Devon Records Office in Exeter. (Ref: 1317M/F1).  This journal is just four and a half inches wide by seven inches high and covers some 89 pages.

 The "Britannia" left Gibraltar on 1st January 1810.  On 28th January, it parted company with the convoy in a storm and was captured by the privateer "St. Joseph".  The ship was plundered and sunk, while the crew were taken prisoners. On 1st February, the "St. Joseph" arrived at St. Malo and the prisoners were shut in the "Sollidor" tower.

 From 28th February to 24th March 1810, they were marched from St. Malo to Auxonne, where they were imprisoned until March 1811.  From 11th until 27th March, they were marched from Auxonne to "Logney" where they were held until January 1814.  They were frequently moved after that until finally set free.  On 16th May 1814, Peter was at Calais from which he travelled to his home, arriving there on 20th May 1814.

The diary records the day to day events of his time in captivity.  It includes a list of the English prisoners who died and married during their stays at Auxonne and "Longey". He gives descriptions of the comings and goings of the other prisoners and of the French soldiers, the weather, his lodgings and treatment received.

Do Wr at 7 a.m. arrived at Lincoln and breakfasted.  Great stir in the City electing a member of Parliament for the City.  At 8 proceeded for Barton.  At  12 past thro Brigg and at 3 p.m. arrived at Barton Waterside. Had dinner and waited for the tide and packet who sailed at half past six and at 8 arrived safe by the blessing of God at Hull, where I was received with joy by a numerous concourse of people who seemed to rejoice to see a poor captive liberated and returning amongst them again, and was escorted home to my house by a great number of people, whom I felt much obliged to for their kind attention and thanked them accordingly when they gave me three cheers and dispersed and by the blessing of God found my family in a tolerable state of health, and with thankfulness to Almighty God I concluded this long and tedious journey and dreary captivity.

Diary entry: 20th May 1814

In 1837, the Hull Directory shows Peter as still residing at Dock St:
"Fea - Peter, master mariner, 27 Dock Street"

The death of Ann Medd was recorded in  the Hull Advertiser of 2nd February 1838.

This is included with the odd later entry to the diary.

30th January 1838
My dear Partner departed this life leaving me a disconsolate old man.

5th August 1839
Left Grimston Street and _____ a house in Watershouse Lane for my family to reside.

Peter Fea died on 24th December 1840.

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