New Year Mix

When I saw this brief video a couple of days ago I noticed that commenters had no idea who the Doc was. By her face, favour and rich voice I recognized one of “The Five Docs”. Today, seeking the link to post here, I saw that someone has just expressed love for Lee Merritt. Robin links to the Fives latest meeting.

Old LaF

Tuesday 1 January 2013

The SS Poderosa Mystery

On the 27th November 1896 the SS Poderosa, in ballast from Grimsby to Grangemouth, came to grief on Scoughall Rocks, about 4 miles east of North Berwick (56.042842, 2.614741).The vessel’s master at her wrecking was T. GREIG. Eleven years earlier, under the command of Edward THOMPSON, the Poderosa, carrying copper from Huelva to Rotterdam, struck a submerged rock off Ushant. Though badly damaged and taking water, the ship made it to the destination port. At a Board of Trade Poderosa’s home port of Sunderland, Captain THOMPSON was reprimanded but kept his ticket. [Some] years or so before this, an incident may have occurred on the Poderosa as it steamed past Filey Bay. It is by no means certain that a man was lost overboard but the mutilated body of a sailor with connections to the steamship washed up on Filey Brigg some days, or maybe weeks, later.



An inquest was held on Monday, at the Ship Inn, on the body of the man who was found on the Brigg on Sunday by George Featherson [sic]. The deceased appeared to be a man-of-war’s man, but there was no evidence to show how he got into the water. On his blue collar was the name of “J. Burgett” stamped inside. The body was very much decomposed and was minus the head, hands and feet. A sailors discharge was found in the pocket. Verdict, “Found Drowned.” Lloyd’s agent informs us that the Poderosa is or was a steamer of 794 tons, registered at Sunderland.

Scarborough Mercury, Friday 5th January 1883


1920 · Harry COWLING · 2007 Cowling F170

Kath wrote this appreciation of Harry on Filey Genealogy & Connections

An absolutely lovely man.  Heartbroken when his wife died.

He used to look after some of the graves at St Oswald’s churchyard  – later on, my girls would help him strim the weeds when we were up there.

He knew so much about the fishing history and other elements to Filey’s history even though he was away for a while

He was a choirboy and had to go down to the Rudston Memorial – right down.  the steps to the mausoleum were not immediately outside the memorial, they were a bit further down the path so he and Jimmy Brown – as choirboys had to go down with the funeral party. He told me that they were scared stiff.

He was also friendly with Andie Caine’s son – who died after coming home as a prisoner of war and came off a little lorry that David Cowling  and Sonny Caine were in when bringing some window frames back from Barmston or somewhere further down the E Riding. He grabbed a window frame that was a bit unsteady with the wind and movement of the wagon but it took him over the side and he landed on his head. He died a few days later from his injuries but Sonny Caine lived.

Note: see David Livingstone Cowling

1899 Arthur FERRAR · 2029 Ferrar E152

1916 Charles ROBINSON & Grace Elizabeth CRIMLISK · 1739 Robinson E20

1926 Mary Watkinson née JENKINSON · 826 Watkinson G659

1858 George GOFTON · MGCY-D22


1979 Church Farm, Ashmansworth


I can’t remember seeing a day like it. Crimson sun rising into a cloudless sky and, after a short golden journey, bathing the evening fields in fabulous orange light. The crusty unbroken snow striated into lovely patterns by the wind. (The lane to the wood and Cowslip Dell chest high with drifted snow). Taking the cows out into this brilliant freezing day, Buttercup “escaped”, playfully running into the Halls’, then into the wrong field, then back down the lane. Heather and I finally cornered her in the churchyard.

The blizzard came on Saturday night. Great fun stepping out from the cottage yesterday morning into a completely fresh landscape. The temperature way below freezing last night and expected to stay that way for several days. It ought to make life harder here but it doesn’t seem to. The cold doesn’t strike nearly as deep as it should.

1981 Coalbrookdale


Up to the New Year just after seven. A bank of indigo cloud above Dale Coppice; above Captain’s Coppice a bright sickle moon. Out at ten. The cloud gone, sun bright but weakened by cold. The village deserted. Along the Rope Walk the first-met living thing of 1981 – an extremely fat Robin. The wind booms through the electricity cables strung across the valley. A barely audible shushing from the Loamhole Brook fifty feet below. Occasional snapping of twigs, fragments of bird song. Reaching the knoll of silver birches I met the bitter north wind cutting down the valley from Coalmoor.

Beach 152 · Muston Sands

Old Days

1983 Coalbrookdale


I’m afraid of something. Afraid of ordering my days to give a chance to some small achievement. The old fear. The last entry could have the interpretation that I resent Ruth messing up my Sundays. Not a bit. Each minute spent with her is precious. Waiting for her words, her smiles – experiencing her words and smiles, her tugs at my beard, her dribbles, stretching her right leg and staring at the foot at the end of it. I did resent the eating away of my Saturday last week – going for my wages, taking the bike to have a spoke replaced and the rear wheel trued. And guess – another spoke went on Friday and I had to take the bike in again yesterday. Not as grouchy as I might have been. A card from the Library came as I painted Ruth’s cot, telling me they had Portrait: Theory in (at last) so I had to go to Madeley anyway. So up to Dawley, borrowed the shopman’s wife’s bike to go to Stafford Park. Sheila gave me coffee and moaned about being stabbed in the back. On the way to Madeley, the rear tyre blew. Such a loud bang from a thin tyre. Couldn’t believe it. Luckily had my spare tube with me – the 1½ inch slit was irreparable. Picked up the photo book and Al Alvarez Life After Marriage. Picked up my bike.

After lunch, the sun still shone so I went into the Dingle. And Ruth has just begun to cry so…

[Ruth was four months old. I looked after her on Sunday’s while her mother worked. I worked five days a week in Dudley, cycling the Rabbit Run – 22 miles there and 22 back.]

2017 Filey


Worked mostly on the Cortis family as it was the last day of FMP’s free access to World databases. I realised early on that I had been mistaken in falling hungrily on Edward as being the champion cyclist’s son. Quite by chance happened upon Herbert Bruce and the name rang a bell! Sure I “found” him two or three years ago. Bruce his mother’s maiden name rather than the Oz jokey handle. The top find though was William Smithson’s Last Will with a couple of codicils. He named his grandchildren as Herbert, Edward, Percy, Alan,  Edith and Esther. I wonder if any of these were Jane Maria’s children. Or even Alice Weddell! That young lady niggled me. She was 19 when last seen in the 1871 census. Varying my search terms I found a plea on a Google group for help in finding Alice and her sister – beneficiaries in some geezer’s will. Several people offered good English info but none made the Oz connection so, although it was five years ago I emailed the enquirer asking if he had tracked Alice down. Blow me, only a few minutes after I sent it I found that Alice had married an Oliver J Hobbs in Australia. I think she was approaching 40 by this time but I was pleased she had survived to maturity.

Another find brought a burst of spontaneous tears. A 1931 article by Sir Max Pemberton printed in the Hull Daily Mail title Sport I Have Seen in 50 Years contained this remark: –

Herbert Cortis, a young doctor, was the hero of those days and, in my view, indisputably the greatest racing bicyclist that ever lived. I have often seen him at Stamford Bridge mow down a whole field in the straight after being a hundred yards behind at the beginning of the last lap. His sporting powers were terrific and nobody of his day could live against them. He was the first bicyclist to ride twenty miles within the hour. Once, at a county meeting, an old friend of mine, George Jeffery, an international rugby footballer, nearly beat Cortis by an unexpected rush in the straight and the doctor’s surprise was amusing to see. “Who the devil are you?” he asked cheerfully when the race was over.

At the rate I’m going I’ll be lucky to put up one churchyard post a week when the blog gets going. But then families like the Cortises are, perhaps thankfully, rare. I may find very little information in no time at all for most of the people who lie beneath.

[Herbert Liddell Cortis on the Shared Tree.]

The Funny Thing about Fascism

Beach 107 · Filey Sands


No lockdown.