‘Lucy’ Weathers the Storm


Information supplied by Captain Syd informs us that Lucy was a 61-foot yawl with a lute stern built in Scarborough in 1878. Her first owner was William JENKINSON of Filey, almost certainly the father of Richard, named above. What eventually became of the vessel isn’t noted.

William JENKINSON is on FamilySearch Tree. Richard has a “guesswork wife” in Filey Genealogy & Connections and it appears that FST isn’t sure about her identity either. But the childless couple has a fine stone in the churchyard. I’ll try to confirm that Mary  Ann was a CRAWFORD when time permits.


Challenger SH97 was a little smaller than Lucy, and older, built at Whitby in 1857. In 1889 her owners were Richard Williamson HARRISON and Thomas Storry HARRISON, both decorators of West Square, Scarborough. Richard Williamson became sole owner less than two months before Thomas Cammish WILLIS was drowned.

Thomas was alone at Challenger’s helm, about 32 miles east of Flamborough Head, when a huge wave broke over the vessel and swept him overboard. His seven or eight crewmates were presumably unaware of his disappearance for a short time but they would have been unable to save him had they realized immediately he had gone. Thomas left a widow and six children.

Ann KIRBY is another FG&C guesswork wife but I believe Kath chose well. She doesn’t give us the parents but FST has placed Ann as a child with the wrong family.

Two young KIRBY men from the Driffield area, apparently brothers Robert and William, married two COWLING women from Filey, Rachel and Margaret. The two Kirby-Cowling partnerships were near neighbours in Little Kelk when the 1861 Census was taken and paterfamilias Robert Kirby senior lived close by. Unluckily for confirmation purposes, Ann, aged 13, was enumerated that year in Queen Street, Filey, described as the niece of John JENKINSON and his wife Ann, née COWLING. Ann was sister to a Rachel and Margaret but FG&C has the latter marrying Thomas HUNTER.

I’m convinced William, and not Robert junior, was Ann’s father. I haven’t found a marriage record yet but the GRO Online Index and Census records combine to show he had five other children with Margaret COWLING, and the last was named  John Cowling KIRBY, which seems to be a clincher.

Ann and her sister Mary are only enumerated together with William and Margaret in 1851. Mary didn’t marry and she was living with Ann and Thomas Cammish WILLIS in 1891, and with widow Ann and unmarried son David WILLIS in 1911.

All this, of course, is by the by. A man died before his time and six children lost their dad. The eldest, Elizabeth Ann, was then 19 and the youngest, Frances Mary, just three.


In Loving Memory of our dear mother and father, ANN WILLIS, wife of

THOMAS C. WILLIS, who died May 4 1917, aged 69 years.

Also of the above THOMAS C. WILLIS who was lost at sea,

February 22 1893, aged 47 years.

‘Be ye also ready’

Also, MARY KIRBY, sister of the above, died September 30 1927, aged 78 years.

Also of DAVID WILLIS, their son, died 12 Sep 1944 aged 61.

‘In Heavenly love abiding’

Lives of the First World War

I have arrived late to the Imperial War Museum’s Centenary Project but hope to contribute the information I have on Filey People represented in the database before closure sometime next year. (All contributions will then be incorporated into the IWM digital archive and be accessible for, I guess, as long as there is an Open Internet.)

There are over 7 million records waiting for information that will fill gaps in our collective knowledge of those who lived through the “Great War”.

Many soldiers, sailors, and airmen can only be identified by the most basic information extracted by the Museum from their service records but, for the first time, I have some chance of learning what my grand-daddy did in that war. He won’t be easy to find. There seem to be over sixty soldiers called William LOCKETT who returned from the conflict – so there are no names and addresses of bereaved parents or spouses.

All I knew as a child about my granddad’s soldiering was that he had a rifle – his bayonet was given to me after he died! All I have now is one photograph of him in uniform, taken in Barkshire Brothers Studio in Southsea. Glare off his cap badge and “unreadable” shoulder insignia render regiment identification impossible. There is a date clue of sorts. Bill seems to have suffered facial wounds. The scars are not prominent enough to see clearly in the photograph but, if they are real, perhaps he was returning to the Western Front after recovering in Blighty.


Bill came home with all his appendages but lost three fingers in a machine at his place of work. What was left of his hand fascinated me as a child. I only knew him to be a sick man, propped up in a bed in the living room, reading Tit-Bits. He would pass the magazines on to me to devour. Grandma was about sixty when I arrived on the scene and when I first became aware of her she was almost as wide as she was tall. This photo is such a wonder. I spent a lot of time with Ruth Anna. She taught me how to play gin rummy and once – and only once – gave me tripe for dinner.

If you haven’t visited Lives yet, head over there soon. Your Ancestors Need You! (There is already a St Oswald’s Community, awaiting Filonian contributions.)


Flora on Snowdrops


…All round the ivied bank of the garden hedge the snowdrops hang their delicate heads, daring the wet and cold in their own miraculous way.

There is a mystic loveliness about the snowdrop, rising as it does from the dark and sodden earth, so pure and frail and spotless. It is everybody’s flower, beloved of all in town and country alike, for is it not the first signal of all to tell us the year has begun, and soon the spring will be here…

It is quite possible that England owes the introduction of the snowdrop to St. Francis, for although botanists have surmised its importation by the Romans, there is no proof of it; and what more natural than that some gardening friar under orders for England should take his last look round the Italian garden he was leaving and add to the selection of vegetable and pot-herb roots a few bulbs of the snowdrop, which, planted in the newly made garden of the English monastery, would serve as a memento both of the dearly loved founder of his Order and as a symbol of the pure grace and simplicity of that Lady Poverty whose servant he was?

Flora Thompson, A Country Calendar