The Misses Abbey

The graves of Ann and Elizabeth ABBEY in St Oswald’s churchyard are 17 rows and about 90 steps apart. Forty-one years passed between their funerals but in 1911 the census enumerator had found them living together, on their “private means”, at 3 Station Road in Filey.

photographed yesterday

Their headstones, though very different in style, have terse inscriptions in common.


In loving memory of ANNIE ABBEY born May 26th 1868, died Dec 20th 1911.


In memory of ELIZABETH ABBEY who died 23rd April 1952.

Elizabeth’s last address was the house she had shared with her sister. They possibly moved to Filey in the early years of the new century. In 1908, at the annual parish tea and concert the vicar, Rev. A N COOPER, thanked the ladies who had “provided the trays” and those parishioners who made “gifts of money” following a fire in the Church:-

…these including; The Misses Abbey, Mr and Mrs Aspell, Mrs Breckons, Mrs W. Cammish, Mr N. Maley, J.P., Mr Wigley, Mr Wolstenholme, Mr Foster Smith, and Mrs Wheelhouse.

(Three years later Ann would take her eternal rest next to Agnes Caroline Wheelhouse.)

In August 1909 the local paper reported on the half-day collection for the Scarborough Hospital and Dispensary and noted the Ackworth station had been “presided over” by one Miss Abbey, and assisted by another.

The sisters were the daughters of Martin Abbey and Jane née DICKINSON. They had a brother and two other sisters and none of the five had a FamilySearch ID. Both parents were from farming stock but Jane was not as robust as you might expect. She died aged 31 in 1872 when her youngest child, Mercy, was about a year old.

Martin didn’t take long to find a second wife, a 38-year-old spinster, but Sarah THOMPSON lived less than two years as a married woman.

An advertisement appeared in a local paper about 18 months later…


Alice ElizabethWRAY was in post at the 1881 census, the daughter of Marmaduke, a grocer in Great Driffield.

Martin died five years later and there seems to have been nobody in the family to continue running the farm. In addition to his children, he was survived by 156 pregnant ewes that had to be quickly sold at auction.

I wonder what brought Ann and Elizabeth to Filey.

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