Sons of Filey

From Old LaF 7 February 2011

Photographer unknown; no date; courtesy Martin Douglas

How ‘cool’ are these young men? The confident and almost arrogant way they present themselves to the camera seems more Italian than British. But the board top right places them in Filey at a time when W. CRAWFORD was Hon Sec of some organization or other – my guess would be the management committee of Filey Lifeboat –  the lads are posing by the huge doors of the Lifeboat House.

Martin, who has kindly allowed me to scan the photo, doesn’t know their names. If they belong to you, please let me know in a comment.

I don’t know what proportion of Filey fishermen had bynames but the chances are that one or two of the young men pictured will have gone through their adult lives with one. Martin has also given me part of a newspaper article, titled Brethren, that mentions a lot of fishermen and gives their bynames – and their cobles and yawls – where known.

There has been considerable interest aroused among the locals, about some of the items in the account books of the late Wm. & Rd. Cappleman, (Boat-builders long dead) which have recently come to light: indeed they have caused more excitement (in Filey, at least) than the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, that we thought it would widen the interest if we set down here some of the names and items contained in the book we have seen…

…Such legendary names as “Crow” (Noted for his enormous strength), “Walsher” (or Lang Matt), and “Soldier,” immortal in rhyme, are also in this book; just three of the Jenkinson brothers made as are some of the many men and boys of the Filey fishing fraternity lost or killed at sea: John Colling, Mark Scotter, Joe Winship, John Williamson, Ed. Ross Jenkinson, Tom Avery Johnson. One of these was lost 83 years ago, and – sad and tragically – there have been many (too many) more lost since.

What a lot of tragedy Filey has suffered through the sea. Among other names in the book together with their cobles or yawls are: Frank Crawford (Diligence), John Crawford (Indiana), Jenkinson Haxby (Felicity), William Cammish (Maria), John Williamson (Rachael & Anne), William Crawford (Alpha), Richard Haxby (Unity), Tom Jenkinson (Welcome Home), Tom Cowling (Richard & Thomas), Peter Cappleman (Yorkshire Lass), George Richardson (Luisa), James Haxby (Concord), William Jenkinson (Admiral Mitford), George Jenkinson (Thomas & Nancy). (Early 1870’s).

More names and the by-name where given. William Colling, Ben Colling, Robert Colling, John Wheeler, George Cammish (Tiny), James Robinson, John Cammish (Bacca), Frank Cappleman (Lanny), Jenkinson Cappleman, William Cowling (Flippney), John Richardson, Tom Ross, William Ross, Ross Johnson (It’s hard to throw a stone without hitting a relative!). William Cappleman (Wiggy), Frank Baxter, Halen Sayers, William Sayers (We believe that he, too, was lost at sea), Tom Jenkinson (Laffy), George Mainprize, Frank Crimlis, Joseph Watkinson, Joseph Major, John Crimlisk, William Freeman, Richard Cammish (Brittner), Charles Pearson, Crumpton Wyvill, George Scotter. There are many more, but we think that Fila folks will spot many of their forebears here. (We found a grandfather and two great-grandfathers, and numerous “uncles”).

We wonder how many of our readers know that an oar wash used to cost 3/6, or that towls were a penny each? A pair of worrs were 14/-. And a “garth handle” 4d. Tingles were 6d. One cryptic item, dated May 1888, reads “John Collin’s paid for a wash down somewhere”.

In January, 182 [sic], Wm. Frank Crawford had a 17½ ft. Larch Coble built at a cost of £13/10/0. January, 1890, Matthew Jenkinson (Yawl 412) bought 17 lb. Paint 8/6. In the same year, John W. Chapman (Jack Chappy) bought 79 lbs. Of Yawl Paint, 3 gills of oil and 1 pint of oil, 10 ft. of 11” deal and 20 ft. x ½” x 11” deal. Cost £2/8/1. John W. Chapman, like Wm. & Rd. Cappleman, was a boat-builder.

Rob. Jenk (Sled.) oar wash and clog, 6/6. (Brother to Crow, Walsher and Soldier – and the others).

Received from Schooner Treaty £1/1/0. “Received from Franch ship, £1/5/6. (We remember the old fishermen calling French ships, “Franchman.” In 1877, William Major, from Flamborough, had quite a lot of work done, and in January, 1878, John Wilson of Quay had a pair of oars made.

John Shippey, Yawl No. 38 (This family no longer live in Filey: like many others they moved to Quay. Of course their relatives are still here.

Moving on some years: Some sons of Filey once set out on a new (to them) type of fishing, but as the following monologue shows, they were not very successful. The monologue was commissioned (free) by two of those who took part in the venture. For the older… Continued on Back Page [Back page missing].

Note: I don’t know which newspaper the article comes from. There is a fragment of an ad for Hillman Imp motorcars which dates the article between 1963 and 1976…


1852 Newfoundland · Birth  Elizabeth STEER died in the Canadian Province of her birth but is in Kath’s database because she married George Philliskirk STORY, a Filey man.  FG&C notes her death on 3 June1890 but there isn’t a source for this. There is a Find-a-Grave link on FamilySearch to photographs of the couple’s memorial that shows she died on 3 June 1930. See what George and Elizabeth looked like on the Shared Tree and check out Ghost Story here on REDUX.

1939 Filey · Death William ‘Billy Callam’ CAMMISH made it through a long working life as an inshore line fisherman. (He lost Filey Red Stars team-mates and the club’s manager, from Unity in 1892 and Trio in 1895.)

He had six children with Frances ‘Fanny’ CHAPMAN. Find the family on the Shared Tree and his headstone as a memory

Water 54 · Martin’s Ravine

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