The Murderer’s Daughter

1879 Filey · Birth  Perhaps it was a blessing. Ellen Elizabeth died at the age of nine, five years before her father, Samuel STONEHOUSE, beat her mother to death. I haven’t been able to find a newspaper account of the young girl’s passing but noticed in the St Oswald’s burial register that her first cousin Edith Annie, aged two years and seven months, had been laid to rest five weeks earlier. The grief experienced by the two Stonehouse families may have been a factor in a flare-up that summer. Abraham Waugh Stonehouse was in court accused of assaulting Samuel and threatening violence towards sister in law Maria.

1819 Filey · Baptism  Ann married fish merchant Benjamin SIMPSON when she was 28 years old. Death took him 27 years and five children later. Ann continued the business and two sons married, presenting her with 12 grandchildren. Seven of them died long before she did.

1740 Pickering · Marriage  Joseph TRAVIS is a great grandfather of Arthur Travis CLAY, the West Riding manufacturer who is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. But did he marry Sarah EMPSON? Filey Genealogy & Connections didn’t take Arthur’s family further back in time so what is in my RootsMagic database is down to me.

FamilySearch sees things differently.

I’ll let you know when the jury comes back and the judge has delivered a verdict. (Perhaps some private investigators would like to get involved in the meanwhile.)

1761 Filey · Death  Nesfield ranks =280 in the Filey surnames list but is also found as a first and middle name. Wharram is a fraction more common here as a surname (=253). The Surnames Map online echoes this with Nesfield found in 76 places and Wharram in 92. My notion that Wharram is a geographical surname because Wharram Percy (a deserted village) is nearby isn’t supported by the distribution map.

Surname Map

FG&C gives Nesfield WHARRAM a wife, 12 children and no grandchildren (from three marriages). I haven’t added to this complement. The FamilySearch Shared Tree also has twelve children but five are married – and there are 27 grandchildren.

Nesfield’s family doesn’t seem to have strayed far from Langtoft, (which is 12 miles from Wharram Percy and fifteen from Filey).

Measure of Man 74 · Waterworks

Cayton Bay

A Perfect Picture

Friday 29 January 1909

Filey News

Filey presented a perfect picture yesterday, thanks to the hoar frost-but it was not only yesterday, it has been a picture, reminding one of certain Christmas cards, for some days past. Yesterday, however, there was some damage to be seen owing to the fog, and the frost combined-as was reported in the “News” last night. The frozen rime on the telephone wires was so great that where there were long stretches of wire, the latter was weighted down with it, and in one or two places the wires snapped. whilst the huge poles supporting the wires were pulled completely to the ground or were bent to a dangerous angle. The latter fact will give some idea of the tremendous weight on the long stretches of wire.

Although the frost presented such a pretty picture especially for those well clothed, housed, and fed, the very poor people-and there are such at Filey-look upon it with rather different feelings. It is especially during such weather as has been experienced during the past week that the usefulness of soup kitchens and free breakfasts for children is plainly evident. The need is as great as ever, but it is to be regretted that the funds are getting low, although the  vicar has received the sum of £5 5s: from a Scarborough lady who desires merely to be known as “A Friend.” Whoever the “Friend” is, she has shown human sympathy in a way that it would be good to emulate. It is proposed, too, to have a variety concert at the Infants’ School next Wednesday in aid of the fund for free breakfasts, when the artistes, it is said, will be “old and new.” Some of the “old”  ones maybe “young”-but that is stretching the matter.  “The Little Humourist,” it is said, will also appear.  The question is Who is he? We can say that he is only nine years old, that he does not belong to Filey, and that is all. Those who wish to know more must go to the concert and see for themselves.

The Scarborough Mercury


1898 · Birth  FG&C gives the when of Maud Charlotte POTTER’s birth but not the where. It says she was a publican’s daughter and married Frank WADE at St Oswald’s in 1923. I went looking.

The search was time-consuming and hasn’t, so far, placed Maude on the Shared Tree. But her mother, Elizabeth Ann ROBERTS is there with her birth family on the Welsh border. I wonder at the journey a Scarborian took to find her there. It appears that John Fawcett Potter married Elizabeth twice – one ceremony in Overton (Ellesmere Registration District) and another at St James with Holy Trinity in Scarborough on 27 March 1897.

Maude showed up in the town at the end of January the following year, and in 1901 she is the daughter of a mineral water factory manager in Park Road. Ten years later, John is the landlord of the Star Hotel in Mitford Street, Filey. In the photograph below, taken on Saturday, 11 September 1920, you don’t need much imagination to pick out John, Elizabeth Ann and Maude from the throng. (Though you could be mistaken.)

Photographer unknown, courtesy Joanne Cammish

Perhaps Frank WADE is in the picture too. He married Maude about ten months later and was part of his father in law’s household when the Census was taken in September 1939. The Potters had named their house in East Ayton “Asney Dee”, recalling Elizabeth Ann’s birthplace. The site of Overton Castle, on the banks of the River Dee, is in the vicinity of Asney Cottage.

Maude’s mother on the Shared Tree.

1824 Filey · Baptism  Castle JENKINSON would learn that life wasn’t fair. His wife Grace ROBINSON died giving birth to their first child and six months later, on Christmas Eve, he buried the wee girl in St Oswald’s churchyard. He had four children with his second wife Mary CAMMISH and lost one, Elizabeth when she was 12 years old. A fisherman, he suffered the loss of herring nets in 1867, and the vessel he was skippering, Admiral Hope, in the October gale of 1880. The following year, attempting to make some money selling basic grocery items, he was found to be using scales weighing a quarter of an ounce short and was fined 5 shillings with seven shillings costs. He died in February 1882. I find the coble carved on his headstone both beautiful and heartbreaking.

Shared Tree

1848 Filey · Marriage  Within the first ten years or so of his marriage to Ann RICHARDSON, Benjamin SIMPSON stopped going to sea and sold fish from the relative safety of terra firma instead. He died aged 58 and Ann took on the fish merchant role. She outlived three of her five children and seven grandchildren.

Shared Tree

1925 At sea · Death  Robert Haxby JOHNSON. See Men Overboard.

Shared Tree


1944 Filey · Burial  Mary Ann LANE married Robert Jenkinson COLLING at St Oswald’s in 1888. Their headstone is on the Shared Tree as a memory but Mary Ann is currently missing her parents there. They have IDs but have not been brought together yet. William Jenkinson LANE MGC1-F1M; Isabella CARTER MGV1-TT5.

Water 53 · Martin’s Ravine

The Simpsons


I am falling ever further behind with placing headstone photographs on FamilySearch and the Wiki. My weakness is finding a scent and following it. Way more interesting than the oakum picking of source collecting. Today I happened upon connections to four or five families who have folk ‘at rest’ in the churchyard. At least half of them require IDs if they are to have their stones put on the Shared Tree.

A rough calculation indicates that I need to do a stone a day for at least three years to come close to completing the project. I may not have that long. Brexit is sapping my will to live.

You will not be able to read Benjamin’s stone, but I have put it on FamilySearch so you can find what it says there. Benjamin was a fisherman turned fish merchant and I did not find him or his family having adventures that put them in the newspaper.

Today’s Image

2007 was a dark year for me. My partner of 28 years died in the summer. Before the leaves started falling, our daughter had decided that I was surplus to her requirements. That left just me and The Lad. (Sorry, cat lovers, they don’t count.) I was working on the computer in my bedroom at Cold Comfort Cottage, probably transcribing a Filey Oral History Project interview, when I glanced out of the window and saw a morning mist had descended. I roused Jude from his basket and made haste through Dale Coppice, to Lincoln Hill and the Rotunda. Glorious.

It took me another nine months to arrange the move to Filey, but Jude and I had five great years together here. He departed for the Big Kennel almost six years ago. I’m still in my daughter’s doghouse. What was it E.M. Forster wrote?