The horse which tried to swim from Hartlepool to Norway - and was still alive 19 hours later

It was the horse which got spooked at the Snook – and swam for 19 hours as a result.

Friday, 3rd June 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Sunday, 5th June 2022, 10:08 am

One of the most tragic animal stories in the town’s history happened in May 1868.

That was when ‘fish curer ‘Jacob Cox set off on his horse and cart for a day of foraging at Seaton Snook. But the day took an unexpected twist, as researcher Graeme Harper tells us in his latest tale.

On arrival at the Snook, Cox tied the horse to a post and set off to collect whatever cockles and winkles he could find.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Two Hartlepool fishermen in a bygone era.

After a couple of hours, for reasons unknown, the horse became agitated, freed itself and bolted headlong into the sea still pulling its cart.

Horses can be keen swimmers - in fact, Red Rum was well known for his enjoying a dip along Southport beach.

However, problems can occur when horses enter into deep water as their body shape means they can not turn around and head back to safety. Jacob’s horse was one example of that and the horse had no choice but to head to Norway.

The following morning, two fishermen called George and David Moore were in a coble when they spotted something unusual in the water about four miles off the coast.

A fishing coble off Hartlepool.

It was Jacob’s horse and unbelievably, it was still alive.

The Moores tried their best to rescue it but the poor animal, which was exhausted from its nineteen hours in the water, died before they managed to reach the shore.

There is some dispute about whether the cart was still attached to the horse or not. A story in October 1868 the reported that the cart had been caught in the nets of the Hull fishing smack The Prince of Wales.

But the legacy of the tragic Seaton horse seemed to live on.

The days when Seaton Snooks had the remnants of an RAF base.

In the years that followed there were stories of ghostly neighs being heard at night by the fisherman in their boats off the Snook.

Joshua Cox, a father of six who was originally from Scarborough, died in 1904 when he was aged 76.

Do you have tales of Hartlepool’s past you would love to share? Tell us more by emailing [email protected]

Read More

Read More
The Dock Monster! When Hartlepool had its own 'strange and slimy' rival to the L...