Francis GRACE, a young man of 17 years, sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl in Filey 132 years ago. I wrote about the sad, short life of Mary Lizzie WILKINSON in Looking at Filey, speculating on what happened to Francis. I was unable to find a Grace family in the town but noted the death of Francis Grace, 19, in Hull two years later, adding “I haven’t been able to confirm that this was Mary Lizzie’s attacker, breathing his last in Hull Jail perhaps.”
Here are two newspaper reports.
Mary Lizzie died about three years later, aged 13. Victim and victimizer are buried seven rows apart in Area D of St Oswald’s churchyard, though the young girl’s stone has been relocated and now stands against the north wall.
At some point during today’s research I remembered Baby Boomers, a June post here on Redux. Sure enough, Francis had been registered at birth as a GRACE, his mother’s maiden surname BOWMAN. All of his siblings had been given GRICE. Francis was the odd one out –a dis-grace you might say.
When searching for a newspaper account of his death in 1887 there were 33 hits, the one you see above and 32 reports of cricket matches in which the fine fellow pictured left played. William Gilbert GRACE is on FST as himself. Francis, rather surprisingly given his contrary given name at the beginning and end of his life, is on the World Tree correctly as a Grice.
Today’s Image only coincidentally celebrates the start this weekend of the English Premier League season. I saw the ball yesterday evening, bobbing in the high tide wavelets at Children’s Corner and was surprised to see it cast on the sands at Coble Landing this morning. To think, if you can kick one of these about really well you can become a millionaire in no time. W.G. must be spinning in his grave.
Photo of W. G. Grace by Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896) via Wikimedia Commons
Update 15 August
I went to the churchyard on my early walk to see how far away Frank and Mary Lizzie are from each other. They are at opposite ends of their respective rows, a crow-flown distance of about 90 feet. The poor girl’s grave is now undefined and unmarked, near a bench and William and Mary SIMPSON’s broken headstone. If you have followed the link above to Looking at Filey you will have seen how lovely Mary Lizzie’s stone is, with its rose carving. In its relocated position it is just fourteen feet from Frank’s grave. His remembrance catches the early morning sunlight; hers is in the wall’s shadow.