“Billy Biter”

Filey Genealogy & Connections attaches this byname to Ralph PARKIN, born this day in 1765. Local legends rarely make sense but there is always the possibility that they contain “a grain of truth”. Ralph was a Scarborian but married Mary BRUMFITT in Filey St Oswald’s Church. With the assistance of unnamed locals, they are implicated in the slaying of a dragon. Find two versions of the tall tale here and here. Clearly, the dragon was the biter and the county’s most famous cake should perhaps be Yorkshire Brumfitt. But that’s patriarchy for you.

Adelaide COLLEY had four brothers. Curiously, the GRO Births Index gives PARKER as the maiden surname of two of them. There is also a mysterious fifth brother. Richard is part of the household in 1871 but the only source attached to his record in the Shared Tree is this census. The other brothers have evidence of their baptisms at St Oswald’s. Adelaide’s mother gives two birthplaces for census enumerators to write down – Kirkby Overblow near Harrogate and Reighton near Filey. About sixty miles separate the two villages. There is a newspaper announcement of the marriage of John Colley and Grace BRADLEY which notes that she is “of Filey”. A convincing source has Grace baptised in Kirkby Overblow, so perhaps the family moved to the coast when Grace was small.

Two brothers married and had at least ten children between them but Adelaide remained single, running the lodging house at 5 The Crescent after her mother’s death in 1910 until at least September 1939. When The Register was taken that year, she was being assisted by her niece, Winifred Mary, the unmarried first daughter of William Bulmer Colley.

5 The Crescent, photographed 22 December 2019

William BOWSER, a yeoman, was living in Kilham when he married Elizabeth SHAW at Filey St Oswald’s in 1813, but he gave Lund as his birthplace in the 1851 Census. If he was baptised there on 20 August 1786 he would have been in the company of his twin, Robert. Elizabeth was six years or so younger than her husband, born in Cayton but considered “of Filey parish” when she married. The Shared Tree gives them nine children.

If “yeoman” meant that William owned a small farm and worked it with his family, hard times had reduced him by 1851 to the status of an agricultural labourer. Other members of his family may have had it tough. Daughter Isabella appears to have had two illegitimate children, the first when she was only seventeen. In 1841 she is with them both in the Driffield Workhouse. William FRANKISH married her five years later but she seems not to have had more children. Other siblings of Isabella chose to turn their backs on the rural poverty of East Yorkshire and headed off to the New World. Compelling sources suggest William died in Driffield in 1870, aged 85, and Elizabeth followed four years later aged 83.

Helcia is the second daughter of Francis Edward CAPPLEMAN and Annie Dixon SAYERS. In 1901, Annie signed the St Oswald’s marriage register “Annie Sayers” and gave Sayers as her maiden surname when registering the births of her children. As I write, she is Annie Dixon GASH on the Shared Tree because, I suppose, her mother Mary Hannah married Edward George Gash in 1883.

FG&G records Helcia as the mother of Edward Gash CAPPLEMAN (1922-2001), who went by “Teddy Funk”. She married Charles William HUNTER in 1928 and her name appears on the small stone remembering her son David.

Sarah WILLIAMSON married Richard Fox YOUNG at St Oswald’s on the last day of 1821. Their daughter Elizabeth was baptised in the same church on 7 May 1825 and two months later, Sarah was buried somewhere in the churchyard.

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