The Miller’s Daughter

Thomas ROANTREE seems to have wandered East Yorkshire grinding corn, judging by the birthplaces ascribed to his many children. He did, however, stay long enough in Filey to be caught by a census enumerator. The family home in Common Right Road (“Lane” in the census) is easily picked out on a map printed in 1851. (Now West Road, with Ashley Court built on the site of the Mill.)

Sophia was a middle child and married Jenkinson HAXBY, a fisherman, in 1853. They were together for over fifty years but were not blessed with children of their own. The 1881 census transcription claims they had a daughter, also called Sophia, but this young woman was Jenkinson’s niece. Sophia’s niece, Emma ROWNTREE, lived with the couple for many years – she was not a “visitor”. Later censuses indicate she was their housekeeper and at their deaths inherited the property in Carlton Road. Emma was a child of Sophia’s elder brother Thomas Dickinson ROWNTREE who died young. The enumerator’s book reveals his confusion. (Jenkinson was enumerated that year in Grimsby, where he was staying with timber merchant Samuel ELLIS and family.)

Without responsibilities to a large family, Jenkinson had time to throw himself into community life – with gusto, purpose and success. Responding to his death in 1908, The Scarborough Mercury offered two observations: –

THE LEADER OF THE FILEY FISHERMEN.

The late Mr. Jenkinson Haxby, of Filey, had made himself a name far beyond the bounds of the little town in which he was born and lived all his life. He was the leader for many years of a band of men known as the Filey Fishermen, who went from place to place holding services. They were attached to the Primitive Methodist body, and their breezy utterances were looked forward to in many places as a relief from the ordinary pulpit supply. The special line of religious teaching which they took is the one which is coming more and more into vogue. Jenkinson Haxby and his fellow fishermen had not much learning and were not able to dwell on the ancient side of religion and “the wonders of old time.” They specially spoke of their own experiences in the present, and what religion had done for them. Various circumstances are likely to bring this side uppermost, among others the teaching of the higher critics shows that the story of the past has been covered with many accretions, and even falsities, so that one scarcely knows truth from legend. But when dealing with the present, one is soon able to sift the chaff from the wheat.

THE VALUE OF MEN.

Never was a larger funeral seen in Filey than when, last Tuesday, Mr. Jenkinson Haxby was [laid to rest]. The whole available population of [Filey] seemed present, and the Churchmen and dissenters vied in doing honour to his memory. The address at the grave was given by a Primitive Methodist, Rev. F. E. Heape. In the course of this he said he had known many disasters happen to the place, such as shipwrecks, loss of men, loss of gear, accidents to children, and the like, but the worst disaster he had ever known had been the death of Jenkinson Haxby. This sounds great praise, and some might think it exaggeration, but who can estimate the value of really good men! Before a naval battle, the Greeks were recounting the ships and men possessed by the enemy, and compared them with their own few, and looked desponding. “How many do you reckon me worth?” asked their admiral. The question was not necessarily a boastful one, for the event proved that one capable man in command was worth more than twenty ships, including the crews. So the loss of a good man of the pronounced type of Jenkinson Haxby may be greater in the long run than twenty ordinary disasters.

Sophia lived as a widow for twelve more years at No. 6 Carlton Road.

photographed this afternoon

I think it unlikely that Sophia was aware that many of her kin had dwelt in castles – Alnwick, Bamburgh and Leicester, to name just three. If the FamilySearch Shared Tree can be relied upon, she had forebears in a number of great English families – Percy, Neville, Mortimer and more. Harry Hotspur was a kinsman, John of Gaunt too, and Æthelred the Unready was a royal ancestor. You will find others if you start here and wander through time.

Tree 52 · Glen Gardens

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