The Gale at Filey

Saturday 31 January 1863

During the terrific gale of wind, which on Saturday last swept over Filey and the neighbourhood, the little village church of Muston had its heavy lead roof torn off from one end to the other, the lead being deposited across the steeple. In consequence of the rain which afterwards fell passing through the roof, the vicar was obliged to hold divine service in the Schoolroom.

The Scarborough Mercury


1902 Filey · Birth  Rosella Mary EDWARDS is the middle one of five children born to musician Harry Herbert Cullen Edwards and Minnie Gertrudenée CRAWFORD. Minnie’s father is the thrice-married David Dunn Crawford, so I imagined I’d be in for a hard time. Especially with Harry being a minimalist on the Shared Tree.

In 1939, three of the four sisters are living with their widowed mother in Kenmore Avenue, Harrow. They have chosen not to marry. Rosella is a milliner, older sister Violet a “clerk drapery” and Kathleen a shorthand typist. (I am not sure where Minnie Gertrude junior was at the outset of war.)

All five of the Edwards children enjoyed long lives. Their average age at death is 83.6 years. Rosella was 85. She died in Harrow.

When I have time, I will give Lonesome Harry his wife and children, and try to find something about his relatively short life as a musician/professor of music.

1779 Brompton by Sawdon · Baptism  Hannah SMIDDY died at the age of 38 in Wykeham and may never have been to the seaside. She is on FG&C because her son married Jane SOUTHWELL and the marriage of one of their children led to a Filey outrage. I will get to it eventually.

Hannah on the Shared Tree.

1814 West Heslerton · Marriage  Martin BRYAN and Mary LISTER currently have just one child on the Shared Tree but I think they had at least five, and four of them married. From the Hunmanby/Seamer axis, their descendants quite soon moved to Filey and marriages connected them to several of the core fishing families, including the Jenkinsons. This is not obvious when you start here on the Shared Tree but I’ll try to make the necessary connections in the next few weeks.

1928 Gristhorpe Manor · Death  Agnes Elizabeth FRASERmarried William Beswick MYERSin Leeds in 1876. William inherited a title from his uncle, Thomas Keld BESWICK, and changed his name. After his premature death in 1904, Agnes dedicated a window in St Oswald’s church to him.

To the glory of God and in loving memory of WILLIAM BESWICK MYERS-BESWICK of Gristhorpe, died 27th Dec 1904. This window was erected by his wife AGNES AD 1908.

Kath has a note on FG&C that towards the end of her life, she enjoyed going for rides in the car with Albert the chauffeur, known as ‘Faffy’, and on her little ‘dog car’. “The pony which drew the trap also pulled the lawnmower.” This information comes from Diana Beswick’s book on Gristhorpe, pp105-109.

I haven’t found the elevated William Beswick Myers and his wife on the Shared Tree yet. His parents are here.

1871 Filey · Burial  A small obelisk in Filey churchyard remembers nine sailors whose bodies were recovered after the Italian barque Unico was wrecked on Filey Brigg on 16 January. Three named sailors were buried on the 19th and the supposed captain, Angelo DODERO on the 31st. There was one survivor, Litano MACCOUCHI, and Kath notes on FG&C that he “had a story to tell”.

He claimed that the captain was to blame for the disaster because he was drunk and fearful that the mate would tell of his drunken state, shot him through the head. Among the bodies washed ashore was that of the mate, and a bullet hole in his forehead supports the survivor’s story.

Abstract 89 · Manhole Cover

The Barque ‘Unico’


Unico came to grief on Filey Brigg this day 1871. I favour her being the “barque” of the memorial obelisk rather than the “schooner” of this vivid report of her demise in the Driffield Times, 21 January.

Wreck and Loss of 13 Lives at Filey

The Italian three-masted schooner Unico, captain Angelo Dodero, coal laden from Newcastle for Genoa, which brought up in Filey Bay on Sunday, dragged her anchors in a gale of wind, before daylight on Monday morning, and struck upon Filey Brigg, and went to pieces immediately. Of the whole crew, thirteen in number, only one man, Litano Maccouchi, was found alive upon the rocks. A Newcastle pilot was also drowned.

The Inquest

On Wednesday, an inquest was held at the Ship Inn, before J. M. Jennings, esq., coroner, on the bodies of three men cast on Filey Brigg, whose names are Gaetano Paganetti (mate), Carlo Lavaggi (able seaman), and Francesco Bugino (apprentice). From the evidence of Litano Maccouchi it appears that the vessel Unico, with a cargo of 600 tons of coal, sailed from Newcastle-upon-Tyne for Genoa, on the 11th inst., having on board Capt. Didero, a crew of 12, and a Tyne pilot named Corbett. The vessel arrived off Flambro’ Head on Saturday 14th, and being hazy, with strong wind from S.S.W. the pilot requested her to be anchored under Speeton Cliffs; this done the vessel rode safely until Monday morning, when, thick with rain, a fearful gale sprung up from S.S.E., which caused the ship to drag her anchor. The pilot at once requested sail to be made, anchor to be slipped, and stand out to sea; this was done, but in doing so the Unico struck upon the extreme end of Filey Brigg. A heavy sea was running at the time and so great was the concussion that the ship’s bottom was stove in; at this momentary crisis part of the crew got into three boats, which were on deck, the other part of the crew took refuge on the fore-rigging; no sooner done than an awful sea broke upon the ship, swept the deck, and hurled the boats into the gaping sea, thus drowning at one blow eight of the poor fellows; a twin mountain wave followed, which burst upon the ship, carrying away the foremast, upon which were the other six clinging for life, but these were also thrown amongst the breakers, which were spending their fury upon the fatal rocks, only one rose to the surface to grasp a piece of timber to which he tenaciously clung, when another wave lifted and cast him upon a safer part of the rocks; fearfully bruised and bewildered he climbed upon a higher rock, and upon this rock he sat shivering for more than an hour, when he was found by two fishermen, who carried him over rocks and to the Ship Inn, where every care and comfort was bestowed upon him.

James Gondrill, fisherman, said: I left my house on Monday morning about 7.15 a.m. and went on to the Brigg, when I met two fishermen carrying a shipwrecked man; I proceeded further on the rocks and espied another one of whose hands was uplifted firmly grasping some seed weed: with assistance I lifted him up and found him cold and dead; a little further on I found another lifeless man, both of whom were taken to the Ship Inn.

The Coroner, having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

I think the reporter did rather better with the names of the unfortunate crew than whoever carved their names on the obelisk in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Here’s the Crimlisk transcription (the names are now obscured):

This stone is erected to commemorate a fearful shipwreck which took place

on Filey Brigg on 16 Jan 1871 of the Italian barque ‘Unico’ from Genoa

whereby 12 out of a crew of 13 including an English pilot perished


The following are interred in Filey Churchyard





and five others (Names unknown)

The East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription helpfully adds the Burial Register entries. These indicate that one body, supposed to be that of Captain DODERO, was not found for about ten days after the event and was interred with the others on 31 January.

*1871 Jan 19. Carlo Lauggi. Wrecked. 38.

*1871 Jan 19. Gaetano Paganetti. Wrecked. 37.

*1871 Jan 19. Francesco Bugiano. Wrecked. 17 yrs.

*These 3 men were washed up on Filey Brigg, from the wrecked barque Unico.

I walked to the overlook on Carr Naze this morning to photograph the scene of the wreck for Today’s Image. I was a little disappointed not be faced with a stormy sea and bruised sky but the upside was better light in the churchyard and Queen Street to picture two other elements of the story.

Fisherman “James Gondrill” was almost certainly James GOUNDRILL, born in Keyingham in 1839. At the census of 1871 he was living with his in-laws in Mosey’s Yard, off Queen Street, and working as a Gardener. Kath gives his occupation as Fisherman in Filey Genealogy & Connections but he began his working life as a Farm Servant (1851) and ten years later was a Servant to John Rook, the Miller at Mappleton. In 1881, still working as a gardener, he was living with wife Hannah and three daughters in Scarborough. The couple would return to Filey and be laid to rest in St Oswald’s churchyard. I didn’t have a photograph of their headstone in stock, probably because it is so hard to read, being well coated in lichen.


In loving memory of HANNAH, the dearly beloved wife of JAMES GOUNDRILL, who died April 19th 1898 aged 52 years.

For to live in Christ and to die is gain.

Also the above JAMES GOUNDRILL, who died Sep. 9th 1905, aged 66 years.

The grass withered, the flower fadeth. The word of God stands forever.

James and Hannah are on FamilySearch Tree but without their full complement of offspring and for the most part disconnected from their forebears. When I find the time I’ll attempt to bring them all together. I had a quick look at Italian records for Unico’s named crew without success. I hope Litano Maccouchi recovered from his ordeal and lived well, to a great age.

I walked the short distance to Queen Street to photograph the Ship Inn, sometime after 1871 re-named the T’awd Ship, and now a private dwelling.


There is a fine view of the Bay at the end of the street and from Cliff Top a cargo ship was heading north beyond the Brigg. It was the Mistral, a Ro-Ro flying a Finland flag, heading for Teesport from Zeebrugge. Calm sea certainly, prosperous voyage maybe.