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.

An Occupational Hazard?

Frederick Andrew CULLEY and Annie LANGFORD married in 1881 and brought nine children into the world. The first three births were registered in Somerset, the others in Scarborough. I think only the last two, Walter Edgar and Sydney Horace, were born in Filey. The family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard is a sad one. Both parents died at 86 – having mourned the deaths of at least five of their children. One boy died at 14 months, the Great War took two young men, “middle age” two more (though we would say 37 and 43 are “young”). The first name on the headstone is  Sydney Horace who “died as a result of an accident”, a few months before his 19th birthday.

I couldn’t find a newspaper report of the fatal accident but towards the end of 1916, The Driffield Times offered a snippet of Filey news –

Sydney H. CULLEY, son of Mrs. Culley, Vernon House, aged fourteen, has been successful in passing a railway clerkship examination.

Earlier that year Annie had received letters informing her of the two who died “on active service”, so perhaps seeing her youngest making good progress raised her spirits. Did you wonder about the absence of Mr. Culley? Annie and Frederick were still married at the 1911 Census but, it seems, living apart. Annie was a “Clothier” at 1, Union Street, aged 50. Ten years later she was given the honour of opening the Memorial to the Fallen in Murray Street.

But back to Sydney. His death was registered in Selby, a small town of no great distinction. My only memories of it are of the Trans-Pennine train rumbling slowly over the old bridge spanning the River Ouse, and the sight of the Abbey – rare beauty on this rather grim northern journey. Of course, I’m jumping to a conclusion thinking Sydney died on the railway. Perhaps somebody reading this may know what happened to him.

There were three Culley girls. Rhoda Susan died aged 74 in 1969. She did not marry. I haven’t researched Edith Madeline or Dorothy Winifred yet.

There are only three Culleys on Filey Genealogy and Connections and they are not “joined up”. I have added a few sources to the FamilySearch Tree. The casualties of war have had LaF Wiki pages for a while but I haven’t had a chance to update them.


Reginald Vernon CULLEY 1882- 1916

Thomas Joseph CULLEY 1888-1916