Three More Sisters

Two are remembered on this headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Row 20 | 2047 Somerset E164 | Granite cross

The family name and brief inscription give the impression that they were strangers here. The third sister, Kate, was the only one to marry and she was a beneficiary, with Amy, of the money shared out after Mary Ann died.

That’s over half a million in today’s money.

Brislington House was established as a private mental institution for the wealthy and was still being run by descendants of its founder, Edwin Long FOX, in 1939.  At the time of her death in 1948, Amy was living in Larkhall near Bath – in Somerset! And Kate died in 1952 in Sodbury, Gloucestershire.

All three were born in Doncaster to Edward SOMERSET and his second wife, Emily DALE. Edward had at least three children with Mary Elizabeth TIRPIN. The deaths of both daughter Mary at the age of eleven and her mother were registered in the same quarter of 1866. (Younger son Herbert currently has Emily for a mother on FamilySearch.)

Edward worked as a draper and later a valuer and he must have been successful in both occupations because neither his widow nor his daughters registered gainful employment with census enumerators – until Mary Ann was caught keeping a boarding house on the Crescent in Filey in 1921. Amy was with her but not, it seems, getting her hands dirty.

Filey welcomed lots of guests from the West Riding in the summer months and they were typically middle and upper-crust families. Lower orders preferred Bridlington and Scarborough. But it was still a surprise to find Amy and Mary Ann here, and puzzling that Mary was brought from Bristol to be buried at St Oswald’s when all three sisters seemed to have migrated to the South West. Amy invested her inheritance wisely but her wealth didn’t protect her from an untimely and shocking death. I don’t know if she and Mary Ann are close companions for eternity.