John KILLINGBECK was baptized this day 1813 in Carlton by Snaith. He was the sixth child of Thomas and Leah née BRITAIN and the paternal line for several generations seems to have stayed within a small area south of Selby containing the hamlets and villages of Birkin, Camblesforth, Cawood, Drax, and Ryther.
By the age of 24 though, John had forsaken his Killingbeck heartland, marrying Jane GOFTON in Filey and raising four children. Ellen, the twin of their youngest, George, survived for just a month, a loss that may have prompted them to move further up the coast for a while. At the 1851 census, John was working as a brickmaker in Whitby. Ten years later the parents were back in Filey but living alone at 19 Church Street. Their daughter Nancy had died in 1856 and the boys, Robert and George had gone to London to seek their fortunes. (I’m not sure yet what happened to firstborn Elizabeth.)
In 1871 John and Jane were living in Chapel Street, Filey. In 1881 Jane was a widow of 65 giving her occupation as ’needlewoman’. The enumerator would find her living alone at No.3 Chapel Street at the next two censuses.
John was killed by an express train on 31st March 1880, while crossing the railway line in Filey.
Another report describes John as a “hale and hearty man” and said he was going over an occupation crossing. There is at least one of those in the town still but where John met his end there is now a metal fence, six feet or so high and spiked, with a warning that trespass will bring a £1,000 fine. I think “Victoria Gardens” may refer to the area of land now occupied by allotments and imagine John may have been heading home after doing some gardening. Today, that route would take him past Carlton Road. Whether or not that short street of houses existed back then it is a coincidence of sorts – the only benign one I can offer.
On the 21st May 1881, the Scarborough Mercury reported a “Sad Occurrence”.
On Thursday, the 12 inst., a telegram was received at Filey, stating that Mr. Robert Killingbeck, son of Mr. John Killingbeck, who was killed on the railway a little over a year ago in Filey, had committed suicide by cutting his throat. His friends know of no reason prompting him to commit the rash act.
Robert left behind, in Kensington, London, a wife and three children aged 11, 7 and three. I was sure I’d find a newspaper report of his suicide but several combinations of search terms yielded nothing – until this appeared:-
(In the original paper these two snippets were not juxtaposed.)
In September 1905, about two months before her 90th birthday, Jane KILLINGBECK stepped off the pavement in Mitford Street was knocked down by a horse-drawn cart. She died the following day from shock and concussion to the brain. The coroner recorded her death as accidental; no blame was attached to the cartman, Thomas Edward STEVENSON – not the Charles Edward SIMPSON of the following report.
The reference to “the level crossing at Filey” is misleading if it calls to mind the present day Muston Road crossing. The 1880 reports clearly state that John was killed a quarter of a mile from the Station.
Another newspaper report records the fact that Jane was taken after the accident to her son George’s house in Station Road. The wanderer had returned and was with his mother when she died. A small mercy.
John and Jane’s headstone has lost some of the inscription. Here is the Crimlisk’s attempt from the 1970s:-
In Affectionate Remembrance of JOHN KILLINGBECK who was killed
by an express train at Filey March the 31st 1880 aged 68 years
who died 1902 aged 89 years.
Jane’s date of death should be 19th September 1905. She was buried on the 22nd.