Noteable Shapcotts Throughout the Ages




More Notable Shapcotts During The Ages

Shapcott Family Contents   |   Shapcotts During The English Civil War

Shapcott Family of Looe   |   Looe A Branch   |   Looe B Branch   |   Looe C Branch   |   All About Looe   |   Contact Us

The Shapcote Family of Stepney & The Second Convict Fleet   |   Our Branch of the Shapcotts of Whitestone Exeter and the Musical Shapcotts   

Thomas Lawes Shapcott of Southampton

Born 1795 in Sutton Veney, Wiltshire, Son of James Shapcott and Ann Lawes

Studied at Oxford - St Alban Hall.  Entered aged 18, 16th December 1813.  Gained BA 1818

Gained MA from Magdalen Hall in 1826.

Ordained Deacon : 15th November 1818

Ordained Priest: 16th December 1819

1819 - Head Master of the Free Grammar School in Southampton, now King Edward VI School.

1825 - 1854 - Vicar of the Church of St Michael the Archangel in Southampton.

He carried out a number of alterations to the church that were to cause structural problems and later had to be removed.

Chaplain of the Gaol and House of Correction in Southampton.

Vicar to the Royal Southern Yacht Club.

First wife Jemima died 1833, buried at St Michael’s, after bearing 9 children in 13 years.

When he died his parishioners considered that he should be buried at St Michael’s but an order had come in to force forbidding further burials in churches

and over full churchyards so his burial place had to be this Cemetery. Buried with his second wife Jane and his unmarried daughter Jemima Ann.

There are two memorials in the church of St Michael the Archangel, one to the Reverend Shapcott himself,

and the other on the south wall, to his son who was lost at sea.

"Erected by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company in honour of the Captain, Officers and Crew who perished in the destruction of the

"Amazon" Steamship by fire on 4 January 1852."

CC BY-SA 3.0  Richard Nevell - Wikipedia


Thomas W. Shapcott of Southampton

Amongst those lost on the above mentioned  "Amazon" Steamship was the son of  Thomas Lawes Shapcott, the Assistant Purser onboard.

On the 4th January 1852 the misgivings voiced to the Admiralty the year before tragically came true, when the “Amazon” caught fire on her maiden voyage. The Royal Mail had wanted to build five new ships constructed in 1851 of iron but the Admiralty had insisted on wood.

A newspaper account of the tragedy states that the disaster was most keenly felt by the widows and orphans of Southampton, and the nation

was horrified by the loss of the "Amazon" only 110 miles from the Scillies, within two days of starting her maiden voyage:

"The departure of this noble ship on her first voyage had been scarcely announced when the public mind was started and horror-stricken by the fearful news of the total destruction by fire of this majestic ship and the loss of 100 of the 161 souls who had left Southampton on board her, with cheerful expectation of accomplishing one of the quickest voyages to be recorded in the steam navigation of the Atlantic..."

Built on the Thames by R.H. Green of Blackwell, the "Amazon" was launched on

28th June 1851, when she was the largest timber built ship ever constructed in England.

Of 2,256 gross tons, she had a length of 310 ft. The engines - Simple 2 x 2 Cylinder, 800 H.P. 12 Knots, Paddle, 4 Boilers, Paddle.

The "Amazon" arrived in Southampton docks on 16th December, hailed as the finest ship ever seen in these waters.

She cost over £100,000 and her interior was fitted in a very elegant style.

On Friday afternoon, 2nd January, she left for the West Indies. Captain William Symons was in command with a crew of 109, all picked men, one Mail Agent and 50 passengers.

The "Amazon" made good speed against strong headwinds but the bearings had been overheating on the paddle shaft and on two occasions at least the ship had stopped to inspect them.

The Second Officer McTreweeke who was on watch reported that flames were visible above the forward stokehold, down below the Fourth Engineer, Mr. Stone, had been driven back by flames which were emanating from the boiler casings. On the Sunday, at about a quarter to one in the morning the ship's midship section was well ablaze and fire fighting proved fruitless. The fire quickly engulfed the whole area between the paddle boxes, fed by flammable stores and 1,000 tons of coal.

All the passengers had been assembled in the aft section of the ship, however unfortunately most of the crew were in the forward section with no means of escape. The Captain attempted to turn the ship away from the wind, but the fierce flames had prevented the engines from being stopped. The ship’s speed made it very difficult to launch the lifeboats. In sheer panic the passengers filled the available lifeboats, but there were insufficient members of crew to hoist them from their cradles and lower them into the sea.

In all just three boats and a dingy were launched successfully, any others being capsized because the ship was still underway.

Within five hours of the outbreak of fire, the powder magazine exploded (the “Amazon” was a reserve frigate). One of the lifeboats returned searching for more survivors but arrived just in time to see her finally sink.

Twenty-one survivors were picked up by the “Marsden”, which landed with them at Plymouth.

A further twenty-four survivors were saved by the Dutch ship “Gertuida”, and finally another thirteen were picked up by a Dutch Ketch, and taken to Brest..

The death toll was 104 which included all of the Officers and two Midshipmen.

After the disaster the Admiralty relented and agreed that all future ships would be built of iron.


Captain Henry McKeever Shapcott (Senior) of Plymouth, Devon

Born 1841 in Plymouth, Devon

Son of Joseph Shapcott and Deborah Eliza Cockram

Gentleman Seaman / Master Mariner

Nautical Examiner to the Board of Trade

He is said to have been Knighted, but no record of this has been discovered,

and was known as "Sir Hugh".

His son - also Henry McKeever Shapcott followed in his father’s footsteps in Maritime industry.

On Ancestry see the Main Shapcott Family Tree


Captain Henry McKeever Shapcott (Junior) of Plymouth, Devon

Born 1841 in Plymouth, Devon,

Son of  Henry McKeever Shapcott Shapcott and Jane Amy Ellis

Married Mary Jane Stansbury  in 1865, Plymouth, Devon

Gentleman Seaman / Master Mariner of 13 Athenaeum Street, Plymouth, Devon

1861 - Certificate as Mate -  Plymouth

1863 - Certificate as 1st Mate -  Plymouth

1865 - Certificate of Competency as Master - Plymouth

1867 - Examiner in Seamanship

1871 - Nautical Examiner to the Board of Trade

On Ancestry see the Main Shapcott Family Tree