Cheating, Not Cheating

The day did not go to plan. I set about the five anniversaries in life-event order and was surprised by the direction in which Martha SHARP took. I spent most of the day with her family, so today’s offering has become a bit of an incomplete rush job.

But first…

Old News

Saturday 3 January 1880


On Tuesday evening Mr James M. Jennings held an inquiry at the Blue Bell Inn, Driffield, touching the circumstances attending the death of James Hope, aged 36 years, a journeyman butcher. Deceased, who belongs to Driffield, had recently been living at Filey, and on Sunday evening called at a cousin’s house at Driffield, and asked to be allowed to sit at the fire all night, stating that he dared not go to bed, as he was suffering from asthma. About ten o’clock he called his cousin up when he had a very bad attack. About midnight he wished to go for a walk, and his cousin accompanied him about two in the morning, when deceased stated he would go to his brother’s. That, however, he never did, and he was found by a police-constable about five o’clock on Monday morning, lying dead in the railway station. Dr Ridpath, who had attended deceased on Saturday for asthma, was of opinion that death had resulted from exposure, and the jury returned a verdict accordingly. The deceased’s father was found dead at the other end of the station early one morning a few years ago.

The Scarborough Mercury

On the face of it, James’ father married two women called Elizabeth. The birth registrations of their children gave the mother’s maiden surname as DALE or SPINK. But Thomas married “Elizabeth Dale SPINK” in 1837. James, 28 and single, was living with his widowed mother and grandmother in Driffield in 1871 and can be found on the Shared Tree with five siblings. I don’t know the circumstances of his father’s death.



A remarkable day in the office. I found myself on two occasions discussing the abstract and fugitive concepts of ambition and fulfilment. Now, my workmates are normally a steady bunch, not given to revealing inner thoughts and dissatisfactions. I asked Katy what 1975 was going to bring for her. Barry asked me, in the calm quiet of the library, what we would make or produce in the year which would be a source of pride and satisfaction. Don’t rightly know. Katy has no definite view forward. She is frightened by inflation, (a lettuce salad for her tea was too expensive), unimpressed by her job and almost angry that she has so little time to do what she wants. I didn’t find out what it is she wants to do but she is considering a swap of jobs, planning for teaching juniors. Unearthly silences at times in the office.

A change this morning. A car ride to Reading with Geoff the Minerals Officer to photograph an appeal site. Someone wants to dig up green fields, remove gravel, plant a trout fishery. The sun came through; a misty atmosphere made our approach to the Chilterns memorable, ridges of beech hills fading from pale green to white. Some delicious views from the road of hamlets in lush, peaceful hollows surrounded by woods, coppices, plantations of bare trees. The photography was easily accomplished; general views of the site and access.


1867 · Martha SHARP ·

Martha is the youngest of six children born to  James and Susan GRAY and the only one who saw first light in Filey. One older sister, Eliza, is “guesswork” in Filey Genealogy & Connections and the birthplaces of the other family members are intriguing.

James · Ealing, Middlesex

Susan · Weymouth, Dorset

John · Studland, Dorset

George · Cromer, Norfolk

Eliza · Cromer

Sarah · Happisburgh (sounds like hayz · buh · ruh), Norfolk

Edward Richard · Happisburgh

There are 50 Sharps (or Sharpes) in my RootsMagic database and after 12 years of researching Filey history I ought to have met Jack of that ilk by now. He is, I think, a grandnephew of today’s birthday girl. As I write this, I don’t know how the family is presented on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

Martha’s well-travelled father died in Filey in 1888. He may well have been one of the Brigade members or friends attending the celebration dinner mentioned in yesterday’s Old News. In the 1871 and 1881 censuses he is described as a “Pensioner Coastguard” and a “Navy Pensioner”, living in North Street. A search for him at The National Archives turned up a reference to a photograph of the Royal Hotel in Filey’s Crimlisk Fisher Archive.

Royal Hotel, Belle Vue St, formerly North St. In 1871 it was Clarence House girls’ boarding school. House on left was occupied by James Sharp coastguard in 1871, on the right was Mary Knaggs & Robert Scott, greengrocer. Now the China Cabin & York County Savings Bank. On corner of John St is shop now occupied by Crawfords. Donor Dr E W Vincent.

There is a “fanciful drawing” of the Royal Hotel here – and a 1900 postcard view of Belle Vue Street which shows that “the house on the left…occupied by James Sharp” had two dormer windows. I shut down the computer and went out to photograph it.

The two arches under the left-hand upper bow window have gone and the double yard doors are less appealing now than a year ago when they were adorned with a picture of a smiling beagle But this, surely, is the Sharp house.

Looking for the family on FamilySearch wasn’t immediately successful but only a smidgen of perseverance was required to locate James with “Susanna” – and several more children. I was delighted to see a photograph of “guesswork daughter” Eliza and her husband John NESS. The couple had ten children, the youngest being –

NESS, Sir Alfred Garfield, Mother’s Maiden Surname: SHARP. GRO Reference: 1895 S Quarter in SCARBOROUGH Volume 09D Page 408.

See this Roots Chat thread. (Further amusement in John Ness being a police constable enumerated in Bow Street in 1881.)

I haven’t been able to give the other Anniversaries due care and attention.

1750 · Isabel CAMMISH · L7FS-T81

1914 · Edward POWLEY & Martha GILBANK · 1836 Powley F73

Married at St Oswald’s, Filey

In loving memory of EDWARD POWLEY, died 18th Feb 1941, aged 65 years.

‘At rest’

Also of MARTHA POWLEY his wife, died 7th Sep 1947, aged 68 years.

1969 · Thomas Robert WALLER · 1853 Waller E64

1901 · Thomas NEWBEGIN · LZX6-QJ4

I enjoyed my “work” today and will continue with the same “flow” – even if I have to cheat you of some Anniversary information. I was not being a cheat when I said I am choosing anniversary candidates haphazardly. Some I vaguely remember from earlier research, while others are wing and prayer picks. I hope to happen upon more surprises of the Martha kind in future. Oh! her sister Eliza didn’t live to be a hundred and eight. I will put her record on FamilySearch straight – when I find the time.

Bird 110 · Pigeons

near The Rotunda, Scarborough

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