A Picture of Elinor

Elinor CLARKE was born in Manchester to paper stainer John Dennison and Jane née SKELTON. At eighteen, the census catches her as a schoolmistress on the Fylde coast. She may not have had to work for a living for long. Twenty years later she was paying her way with “interest from monies” and died as one of Filey’s wealthiest inhabitants. See Lady Elinor but note that links to the British Library Web Archive have broken.

She was “a friend of Queen Victoria” but is poorly presented on the Shared Tree. There must be photographs of her somewhere, but I have yet to see one. Here is a word picture of her funeral.

See also, Fox Hunt.

Maria is one of three children baptised on this date in 1860 at St Oswald’s. (The others are Christiana LORRIMAN and Jane GREEN.) Mary Ann LYON (sometimes LION) was only eighteen when she married George STONE the previous November. How did Victorian teenagers feel about burying their first child? When the enumerator called on 7 April 1861, Maria was no more. Mary Ann was lodging in Wenlock Place with Widow COLLEY and George is elsewhere but must have returned because two more children would arrive and take his name – Mary Jane in 1863 and Robert in 1866. (George and Mary Ann were living in Bridlington in 1866 but brought Robert to Filey to be baptised.)

On the Shared Tree Maria could hardly be more isolated.

William NOCKELLS and Ann Elizabeth Bloom BARRETT married at Filey St Oswald’s but both had been born in Norfolk. After marriage, they settled in Scarborough to raise a family. I picked up six children in the GRO Index but haven’t found the parents on the Shared Tree yet.

Abstract 105 · Sandscape

Google Alt-Text: A close-up of a person’s face


I wrote a post about Annie WHITAKER at the beginning of last year (Mrs Nicholson Does Good). Her daughter Maude married the Vicar of Filey, Arthur Nevile COOPER in 1891. A local story has it that Maude faced competition from an older woman for Arthur’s affections. Elinor CLARKE, the town’s wealthiest resident, is said to have built Northcliffe House (Today’s Image) in the hope that it would tempt the vicar into matrimony.

It was perhaps Maude’s youth that won the cleric’s heart – she was almost 20 years his junior and 27 years younger than her rival.

I photographed the couple’s grave in May 2017.


Arthur had been Vicar of Filey for over fifty years. The next time I saw the church open for visitors I went in to express my sadness and disappointment at the neglect of his last resting place. Rev Paul went into action immediately and did some initial “groundwork”, but the task was too big for him. Last week I noticed someone putting finishing touches to the raised headstone. I went over to thank him for his efforts and received a guided tour to other stones he has restored to something like their former glory. As an employee of the Probation Service, Paul has managed his community service labour force and limited funding for materials to work wonders at Dean Road in Scarborough – and now at Filey.


I have added some information to the Cooper/Nicholson tree today.

Elinor’s pedigree is somewhat neglected on FamilySearch. No photographs of her have surfaced yet but here is a portrait of the vicar at 62, taken by the Rev STANWELL and kindly made available to the Looking at Filey blog by Ann Wilkie (WILLIS).