Samuel Hookey 1725 - 1796

 

"The wicked man of Wick"

 

Samuel Hookey was born in 1725 (possibly near the redeveloped Wick Farm) to a Wick Farmfisherman/smuggler and the beautiful Spanish wife he had abducted from Guernsey. The eldest of ten siblings, Sam was crippled as a child after being trapped by a rock fall at Hengistbury Head.

 

Sam was a farrier at a blacksmith's in Pound Lane, but this was merely a cover for his smuggling activities, operating along the Christchurch and Poole Bay coastline. He was reputed for his fearlessness and in one incident he lost an eye. It is said that he never renewed or cleaned the leather bandage that covered the empty socket.

 

Not only was Sam fearless, but he was also cunning and a great planner. One story tells of how in 1764 he ordered one of his 4 luggers to drop a cargo at Bourne Bottom. Tipping off a Riding Officer about the landing at Bourne, he then knew that he would be free to sail into Christchurch with his other three luggers six miles away without obstruction. When the officer captured the decoy he found the tubs to be full of sea water. Realising it was a trick, he rode hastily to Christchurch arriving too late to seize the 12,033 tubs of brandy, 2 tons of tea and 5 bales of silk that Sam had landed. At the time, the area was marshland, but it is now the site of a holiday camp. In fact, some people believe that the story of Sam Hookey was merely a fabrication in the 1950's to drum up some advertising for the holiday camp that existed next to the ferry crossing at Wick until recently.

 

The crossing at WickSam both lived and died in the picturesque hamlet of Wick, making his last run on 29th August 1796 at the age of 71. Bringing a cargo of tea and gold through the harbour and along the Stour to Wick, Sam and his men were surprised by Revenue Men waiting for them. Sam lost his footing in the river when they opened fire on his men and reputedly fell into one of the many holes in the river bed, weighed down by the hoard of gold he was carrying. It is said that the gold is still down there in "Hookey's Hole", and that the ghost of Hookey can sometimes be seen thrashing the waters of the Stour.