Sudden Death

On Thursday morning, as Mr. William Pashby, fishmonger, of Filey, was in the act of dressing himself after getting out of bed, he felt rather unwell, sat down in his chair, and died almost immediately. Deceased was 85 years of age.

The Scarborough Mercury, Saturday, 12 November 1859

As a Folkton man, William’s ancestors are few on Filey Genealogy & Connections. His male line goes a little further back on the FamilySearch tree but in an unconvincing fashion. It is a different story with his direct descendants. Five of nine children raised families – giving him over 30 grandchildren. I lost count figuring the succeeding generation’s output. Nineteenth-century marriages bring several Filey dynasties into play and some of their forebears go back to the 1500s.

One has to journey way further into the mists to reach the common ancestor of wise apes and the representative of the Phocidae family cast up on Herring Hill this morning. Between 80 and 100 million years to be inexact.

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The seal was silent, and looked uncomfortable rather than distressed. It did not seem to be upset by the handful of people gathered nearby. Someone had already phoned for help but the RSPCA would be at least an hour in coming. Attempts to contact Sea Life in Scarborough hadn’t yet been successful.

The creature had a nasty wound to the throat; not so deep as to appear immediately life-threatening. The bleeding had stopped. First thoughts of observers were that it had become entangled in nets but the suggestion that its throat had been cut by a fisherman was not ruled out. Grey and common seals are protected by law on this coast all year round – from being killed, injured or taken, but that would not stay the hand of some men. A couple of years ago, while walking on the Brigg, a very unwise ape pointed to the bobbing head of a seal some yards from shore and said, “He’s taking our fish.”

Let’s see where the Sixth Extinction takes us.

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