At the 1861 Census, William JENKINSON was living at Hope Cottages, Filey, with his wife Frances and infant daughter Mary Elizabeth. His younger brother, Matthew, was in Mosey’s Yard with Jane née COATES and two children, William and Mary.
William was master of the yawl Hope, and in a gale on November 2nd that year he was lost.
At the beginning of December two years later, Matthew was drowned from his coble in Filey Bay. The Yorkshire Gazette of 5th December carried a vivid account of the tragedy.
Two Lives Saved by “The Hollon” Life-Boat
This life-boat only arrived at Filey last week, and was the gift of the Lord Mayor of York, by whom it was formally presented to the town of Filey on Thursday last. On Tuesday several cobles went off in the morning for the purpose of fishing. The wind was rising at the time, and about noon blew a gale from S.S.E., with a heavy sea running into the bay. Seeing that the cobles would return shortly from the fishing ground, the new life-boat was speedily got out, manned and launched, in readiness to render assistance. The arrival of the boats was watched with great excitement. One boat upset near the shore, and the crew, consisting of three men, were thrown into the sea. The poor fellows had to struggle for life, and eventually the despairing cries of those on shore were changed to joy as they saw the last of the three men washed upon the beach, the lives of all having been saved. Shortly afterwards, another coble came in sight, the storm, in the meantime, having increased. When some distance from the shore, a huge breaker lifted the frail boat as if it were a toy, upsetting it and throwing the crew into deep water. The life-boat sped to their assistance, and after great exertions, succeeded in rescuing two of the men from a watery grave.; but the third, named Matthew Jenkinson, was never seen after the boat upset. He has left a wife and four children.
Two months after Matthew’s death, widow Jane took their fifth child to St Oswald’s to be baptized.
The Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society is now 178 years old and still “making a difference”.
One would expect Jane to receive more support from the Society but how much did the widows receive in today’s money? £6 5s. doesn’t seem a lot, does it?
There are several online calculators and those offering a single, and simple, answer usually satisfy curiosity. In this instance, Frances received £535 at 2016 prices. What’s that, roughly – two or three weeks’ wages?
The £535 figure is a calculation of the changing “real price” of a “commodity” valued at £6 5s over time, arrived at by multiplying the original sum by the annual percentage increase in “RPI”.
There are other ways to make the calculation, though, and they give wildly different figures.
Historic opportunity cost: £631
Assessing the labour value/labour earnings/labour cost of our commodity: £4,162
Income value/economic status: £5,606
Economic cost: £14,950
These terms are helpfully defined at Measuring Worth. For the two bereft Jenkinson families, I think “labour earnings” might be the most appropriate. So imagine Frances receiving about £4,000 and Jane £7,700. That would have helped a lot, perhaps, but both widows married again – Jane in 1870 to John PRESTON and Frances in 1872 to Thomas SEXTON.
William and Matthew’s parents have, like the CREASERs yesterday, loads of IDs to sort out on FamilySearch Tree. I have made a start but suggest you go to Filey Genealogy & Connections if you are interested in following the family fortunes in pedigree form.