tower of St. Mary's Church, Tollesbury, Essex,
was for centuries a seamark for mariners. It is
built of septaria-stone, dredged from the sea
off Essex by Tollesbury smacksmen in bygone centuries.
Sketch by Roger Finch.
Essex, at the head of a salty creek and close to
the Blackwater, having been renowned for its smacksmen
and professional yacht crews- skippers, mates, mastheadmen
and fo'c's'le hands.
One of its sons, Frederick E. Hasler - Tollesbury
born but long resident in New York - decided in
the early 1960's to commemorate them, and the ships
they sailed, in a manner that would give them a
Having already generously provided for the restoration
of the centuries-old St. Mary's church of his native
village, he proposed that a stained glass window
there would provide a fitting way of recording the
Tollesburymen's maritime traditions.
The overall design of the project was left to an
expert in the demanding craft of stained glass while
Roger Finch produced the related drawings of the
"America's Cup" contenders, and the local shipping,
which were Mr. Hasler's choice of theme.
panel shows a billyboy, a ketch barge, a 'stackie'
Thames barge and the oyster smack Alberta
CK318. These drawings of the windows were made
by Roger Finch.
say that there has been at least one man from
the village aboard every Cup Challenger since
"Galatea". Sufficient reason then, for one long
panel of the design to picture the long struggle
for the Cup and it was the donor's wish that this
was to be entitled "Endeavour".
other window (left) depicts the little ships which
were to be found in the East Coast havens when
the sea-borne life of villages, such as Tollesbury,
Billy-boys, sporting square topsails rolled up
from the North with black-diamonds, boomie-barges
worked from the quay with English wheat, stackie-barges
loaded turnips below hatches and hay above for
Above all the smacks worked near and far, dredging,
shrimping and trawling.
Here Mr. Hasler's directions to the artist were
explicit .... "I wonder if you would mind
making the smack CK 318. This was the 'Alberta'
owned by a man named Pettican, who was my Congregational
School Teacher when I lived in Tollesbury from
1893 to '96. . . . In 1900 I spent
a two-week holiday on the 'Alberta' shrimping."
Now in his eighties he can recall all this and
more and his wish to commemorate them has produced
a unique memorial to glow on long after the last
memory of the ships and men has faded.
panel shows the link between Tollesbury men and
the battles for the America's Cup. At the top
of the window 'America', and then the British
boats 'Genesta', 'Shamrock' and 'Endeavour'.