A Man Who Had Money

photo by Humphrey Bolton, CC BY-SA 2.0  via Wikimedia Commons 

The family fortune was made in the West Riding textile industry. The profits bought a number of landed estates. William Aykroyd created the first milch cow, Bradford Dyeing and Finishing, in 1835 and one of his sons, William Henry, bought Grantley Hall ninety years later. Five years before that purchase, W.H. was made a baronet in the 1920 Birthday Honours. He died in 1947 aged 81 and one might assume he’d had a life of privileged comfort.  Not quite.


On Wednesday 18th August 1909, driving through Filey in his 35 horsepower motor car, he knocked two young boys off their bicycle. Twelve-year-old Henry SAVILE was badly injured and died the following day. His five-year-old brother, Arthur, suffered a fractured arm, gashed forehead and bruises but soon recovered.

I wrote about this event in Looking at Filey, quoting at length from newspaper reports. Death of a Boy makes rather grim reading but in researching this follow-up, triggered by the anniversary, I felt even more distressed by what had taken place.

It WAS an accident. A strong wind was blowing, carrying away the sound of the car’s horn, but Henry made a fatal decision to cut across the road to take advantage of smooth asphalt at the other side. He didn’t hear the engine or the warning hoot and realized too late that the motor was upon him. The boys’ aunt was riding a bicycle behind them and seems not to have expected Henry’s maneuver, nor to have realized the danger the vehicle posed. The coroner’s inquest apportioned no blame to the driver of the car. There was some public sympathy to spare for W. H. Aykroyd who had been “greatly distressed by the occurrence”. Not as much as the father of the boys, of course. Robert Arthur Savile wrote a letter to the newspaper five days after the tragedy that included this paragraph, with its reference to the driver’s position as a magistrate:-

Mr. Aykroyd informs me he is a gentleman and has plenty of money, but I could not accept money from him. What I want is my boy and that he cannot give. The only approach to compensation he can make is to set an example to others by giving up the speed fad, and spending what money he can spare in doing his utmost to avoid further accidents by putting into force the laws which are already made. Is it not time that laws were put into force for the rich as well as the poor?

Robert, who worked as a farmer and a butcher, was enumerated by the 1939 Register in Hunmanby, a widower since 1915 and looked after by a housekeeper. He died in 1943 aged 69. What would he have made of today’s rich-getting-richer world?

I remarked in the old post that Henry’s grave was somewhat neglected. At the beginning of this year, it was tidied and the soil around the base cleared away. Anyone passing can now see how he died.


The Savile’s are not on FST (yet) but Kath has Robert and Ada with their children on Filey Genealogy & Connections. Sir William Henry is on the World Tree but he’s poor in sources.

If It Wasn’t for Bad Luck…

In the space of just over a year (1889/90) Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON saw his first three children die. A few months after burying the third his fishing boat was involved in a collision off St. Abbs Head and he drowned. He may or may not have known that his wife, Annie Elizabeth, was pregnant with their fourth child. Not surprisingly, she called the boy Robert Jenkinson.

In 1901 Annie and her son were living in Queen Street, with her father Jonah RICKABY and brother Denton. Ten years later the widow was an inmate at the Scarborough Workhouse in Dean Road, 46 years old, her occupation given as Domestic Servant. Robert was still living in Queen Street with Jonah and Denton, following his grandfather’s trade of Bootmaker/Dealer.

At the beginning of 1912 Jonah died – and at the end of the year Annie Elizabeth was released from her life of sadness and loss.

Her surviving son’s last job before he went to war was Verger at St. John’s Church in Filey. A hundred years ago he was with the 10th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. He was killed by a bomb, dropped at night from an aero plane on the unlit camp at Thieushouk, north-east France.


This satellite view shows the farm on which the bomb fell. It is now the Vannobel Jean Horse Riding School. Less than a mile to the north is the Bertenacre Military Cemetery where Robert lies with the 37 comrades who died with him in the explosion. Their names are listed here.

The War Diary of the 10th Battalion is available online and reveals the relative worth of human life and grass.


Robert Jenkinson is remembered in Filey Churchyard with his grandparents William WATKINSON and Mary nee JENKINSON.


The East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription (entry 826) reads:-

In loving memory of WILLIAM WATKINSON, the beloved husband of MARY WATKINSON, died April 6th 1911, aged 71 years. “His end was peace.” Also of the above MARY WATKINSON, died Jan 1st 1926 aged 80 years. At rest. Also ROBERT J. WATKINSON, his grandson, Verger of St John’s Church of this town. Died in his country’s cause, Aug. 18th 1917 aged 26 years.

Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON senior is represented on FamilySearch Tree (minimally) but you will have to look on Genealogies to see Robert junior in the context of several generations. I have created a LaF Wiki page for the soldier and over the next day or two I’ll expand his family on FST.

Ellen of Greenacres

On quiet days I dip into the On This Day files generated from Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database. From the seventy or so daily hatch, match and scratch results I pick my fancy. PEACH is an unfamiliar Filey name. It doesn’t feature in the StOswald’s Monumental Inscriptions so, yesterday, I was intrigued by the burial of Archibald Philip in the churchyard in 1869 and decided to investigate.

Here is a screenshot of Kath’s record in Roots Magic. (You can view the pedigree fragment in FamilySearch Genealogies here.)


The exclams indicate that the parents were 1,672 years old when they married. They were noted as being of Full Age in the St Oswald’s Church Register and, yes, Ellen did appear to have been born a GRANT. Her father, Samuel, is described as a Labourer – the same occupation as Charles’ father, Henry. It is Ellen’s second marriage and Kath has her former husband as “Mr. Greenacre”; no children.

Given that Charles and Ellen married at the end of a Census year I thought it would be easy to find them in their separate households eight months earlier. Ellen, 32, was living in Quay Street, Scarborough with three children – Sarah Ann, 6, Charles Albert, 4, and Richard S., age 1. Charles, an unmarried fisherman, may have been away at sea on Census night. I couldn’t find him – and failed to find him, for sure, anywhere. I traced back and happened upon just one Charles PEACH with a father called Henry – in 1861, 17 years old and working as an agricultural labourer in Wistow, Huntingdonshire.

What we do know, sadly, is that his children with Ellen had short lives. Archibald Philip lived just four months (the GRO Online Index erroneously gives 4 years) and his sister Betsey Eliza Hannah a year. (Wistow Charles’ mother was called Betsey.)

Ellen GRAND married her Mr. Greenacre in the spring of 1864, the event is registered in Erpingham, Norfolk but probably taking place in Plumstead by Holt where Benjamin Richard was baptized. His father wasn’t named in the church register.

The couple moved to Yorkshire soon after the wedding and their first child, Sarah Ann, was born in Hull the following year. When Ellen was carrying their third child her husband died. Two years later she married Charles and gave birth to the two short-lived Peaches. The parents then seem to vanish and I haven’t been able to “kill them off” as we amateur genealogists are advised to do as a priority.

It was much easier to follow the progress of the Greenacre children. Sarah Ann stayed in the Scarborough area, married and had four children. She died aged 90 in 1955. Richard Samuel worked as a groom in Scarborough (1891) before moving across the Pennines to earn his living as a coachman in domestic service. He probably met his wife at Trafford Hall, Wimbolds – Floretta Hart was working there as a Kitchenmaid in 1891 – before they settled to raise a large family in the Wigan area. Fancy, a Greenacre marrying a Flora/Floretta – and calling one of their daughters Florice. Perfick. Well, not quite. Their son, Charles Albert died of wounds in Flanders in the summer of 1918.

I amassed so many children and sources during today that I decided to put them on FST.

This is how Ellen and Benjamin Richard presented themselves first thing this morning.


Two Graces

Francis GRACE, a young man of 17 years, sexually assaulted an eight-year-old girl in Filey 132 years ago. I wrote about the sad, short life of Mary Lizzie WILKINSON in Looking at Filey, speculating on what happened to Francis. I was unable to find a Grace family in the town but noted the death of Francis Grace, 19, in Hull two years later, adding “I haven’t been able to confirm that this was Mary Lizzie’s attacker, breathing his last in Hull Jail perhaps.”

Here are two newspaper reports.



Mary Lizzie died about three years later, aged 13. Victim and victimizer are buried seven rows apart in Area D of St Oswald’s churchyard, though the young girl’s stone has been relocated and now stands against the north wall.

At some point during today’s research I remembered Baby Boomers, a June post here on Redux. Sure enough, Francis had been registered at birth as a GRACE, his mother’s maiden surname BOWMAN. All of his siblings had been given GRICE. Francis was the odd one out –a dis-grace you might say.

W._G._Grace,_cricketer,_by_Herbert_Rose_BarraudWhen searching for a newspaper account of his death in 1887 there were 33 hits, the one you see above and 32 reports of cricket matches in which the fine fellow pictured left played. William Gilbert GRACE is on FST as himself. Francis, rather surprisingly given his contrary given name at the beginning and end of his life, is on the World Tree correctly as a Grice.

Today’s Image only coincidentally celebrates the start this weekend of the English Premier League season. I saw the ball yesterday evening, bobbing in the high tide wavelets at Children’s Corner and was surprised to see it cast on the sands at Coble Landing this morning. To think, if you can kick one of these about really well you can become a millionaire in no time. W.G. must be spinning in his grave.

Photo of W. G. Grace by Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896) via Wikimedia Commons

Update 15 August

I went to the churchyard on my early walk to see how far away Frank and Mary Lizzie are from each other. They are at opposite ends of their respective rows, a crow-flown distance of about 90 feet. The poor girl’s grave is now undefined and unmarked, near a bench and William and Mary SIMPSON’s broken headstone. If you have followed the link above to Looking at Filey you will have seen how lovely Mary Lizzie’s stone is, with its rose carving. In its relocated position it is just fourteen feet from Frank’s grave. His remembrance catches the early morning sunlight; hers is in the wall’s shadow.


A Man Who Loved Horses

Five years ago I wrote a post about one Robert COLLEY, up before the magistrates at Bridlington Petty Sessions charged with cruelty to a horse. I couldn’t identify the miscreant with confidence back then but I did find the attending RSPCA officer in the recently taken 1881 Census. I checked on Samuel CRAIGIE again today and discovered he came to a rather sad end.

He became an Inspector with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after serving in the British Army. I don’t know how long he was a soldier, service number 365, but he must have spent many hours on a horse. His attestation date was 10th November 1864 and at the 1871 Census he was enumerated at the Cavalry Barracks, Spital Road, New Windsor. When discharged he was a Corporal Major in the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards – the highest rank for a non-commissioned officer in the Household Cavalry.  He must have known great despair when he witnessed, time and again, the terrible cruelty his fellow humans inflicted on their animals in “civvy street”.

I couldn’t find him in 1891 but ten years later he was working as a check taker in a Music Hall, aged 56. (He collected tickets from patrons entering the auditorium and perhaps showed them to their seats.) His wife Ellen Agnes was helping to make ends meet by working as a needlewoman. About thirty months later she found herself a widow.


Samuel is on FamilySearch Tree, the second child (and second Samuel) of Andrew Craigie and Susan Lamb, born in Coupar Angus on the 1st June 1844. He had 5 brothers and four sisters but I failed to find any children he may have had with Ellen Agnes. I have struggled to find this lady in the records. I suspect she was a widow when she married Samuel and she may have been reluctant to give her true age to census enumerators. The death of an Ellen Agnes Craigie registered in Nottingham in 1916 has her age as 78, eight years older than the Ellen of the 1901 Census.

The Difference a Day Makes

On Wednesday I paid another visit to my forebears of note on FST, wandering the pedigree byways to my 26 times great grandmother, about whom  Les Milandes wrote:-

If Eleanor of Aquitaine was alive today, she would forever be on the front pages of national newspapers and magazines and no doubt constantly trending on twitter. For this was a woman who enjoyed incredible power, good looks and amazing wealth. Duchess of Aquitaine, Countess of Poitou, and ultimately Queen of France and England, Eleanor was a truly remarkable woman.

She was clearly a great reader.

Yesterday evening she was gone, or at least unreachable, because someone, somewhere, has removed just one person from “my” pedigree. As my dad would have said, “C’est la vie”.

I am grieving. It is not often you lose a whole dynasty from your family tree within the space of 24 hours. Those Plantagenets are going to leave a big hole in what’s left of my life.

I’ll get over it. There is always the possibility that the unnamed genealogist took out a 6th great grandmother of mine by mistake and further research could see her re-instated – and Elizabeth the First of England will be my first cousin fifteen times removed again. Cool.

Here’s another kind of day-difference. A grey granite headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard says that Benjamin Watson STORRY was killed in action on the 11th August 1917.


All other sources I have looked at today give the 12th as the date of his death. I will write about him tomorrow.


Screenshot source.

Distressing Event at Filey

That was the headline to a news report in the 11th August 1903 edition of the Yorkshire Post. It continued: –

Boy Overwhelmed at the Foot of a Cliff

By a Fall of Earth

The Victim’s Mother and Nurse Also Injured

At Filey yesterday, a little boy, six years old, one of a family of visitors from Harrogate, met his death. The unfortunate little fellow was John Dixon, the son of Mr. Frederick Dixon C.E., of Harrogate, one of the engineers on the Corporation. The family were staying at Carlton Road.

Yesterday afternoon Mrs. Dixon and the children, of whom there were three, proceeded to the sands, accompanied by a Miss Burnett, also of Harrogate, and a nurse. The children took off their shoes and stockings and went into the sea wading.

Shortly after five o’clock, the children gathered at the foot of the cliff about one hundred yards to the south of Filey foreshore, to dress. Jack Dixon sat apart from the others, and his mother was drying his feet, when suddenly, without warning, a quantity of earth, estimated to weigh between two and three tons, fell from the top of the cliff, a distance of forty feet, straight on to the unfortunate boy, whom it entombed.

The mother was knocked down, and her feet pinioned, while the nurse standing some distance away was also knocked down.

The screams of the other children brought a boatman and other male visitors to the scene, and Mrs. Dixon was extricated in a fainting condition.

The boy was afterwards found in a fearful state, his head being smashed, and his back and both legs broken. The body was conveyed to the lodgings.

The affair created a painful sensation among the large number of visitors in Filey. A fall of the cliff is most unusual at this time of the year. This is the first accident of the kind, indeed, which has occurred in the neighbourhood of Filey.

Thomas Robinson, the boatman who helped to extricate the lad, states that on rushing to the spot he found the lad absolutely buried.

Mr. Dixon, who had left Filey for home yesterday morning, was made acquainted with the sad news by telegram, and at once went to Filey.

Mrs. Dixon’s injuries are not serious, consisting of bruised feet, but she is suffering from shock.

The accident is the sole topic of conversation at Filey today. Mr. Frederick Dixon, father of the boy, whose address is Ganstead Rise, Ripon Road, Harrogate, informed our correspondent this morning that it  was a great wonder the whole of the children were not killed. They were quite near the deceased. Mrs. Dixon was struck on the back by the falling earth and her feet were fastened. She was reported this morning to be progressing favourably. The boy would have been seven years old on the 20th of this month. He was the eldest of Mr. Dixon’s family. The inquest has been fixed for 6.30 this evening, and the boy will be buried at Filey on Thursday morning.

I wrote about this event in Looking at Filey a few years ago but I didn’t realise young Jack had been laid to rest in St. Oswald’s churchyard, so I went up today to photograph the cross that marks his grave.


Some of the lead letterings have fallen away over the last 100 years or so. The inscription reads:-


In Sad Memory of JACK DIXON killed on Filey Beach Aug 10th 1903 aged 7 years

Crimlisk/Siddle Grave D360. East Yorkshire Family History Society, Part Two, 1603 page 86, adds the Burial Register information – 1903 Aug 12. John Dixon. Filey. 6.  I checked the entry online – Arthur Neville Cooper signed the register.

I wondered how the family had fared after the tragedy. I found a good source in Grace’s Guides for father Frederick John which tracked his fine career. He received a CBE in the 1943 birthday honours and died in his eightieth year on 26th June 1949. Mrs. Dixon was Mabel, born BODDY, in Ganstead just outside Hull. I need to check but I think Mabel outlived her husband, reaching the grand age of 89. There is a death registration in Lichfield  (June Qtr 1959) which fits with the 1939 Census entry. The couple was living then at Longdon Lodge, Lichfield R.D., with their two unmarried daughters, Hazel Audrey Boddy and Ivy Mary Sherwood.

Their boy taken so dreadfully had also been given some extra names. John Forrest Willingham Boddy Dixon. John had a brother who may not have been with the family on that fateful day in 1903. The newspaper says there were three Dixon children on the sands but the birth of Norman Edward had been registered in Lincoln in the June Qtr of 1901 and he was with the sadly reduced household in 1911, in Mellor Road, Ashton under Lyne. I haven’t found a marriage or death registration for Norman. I hope he had more luck than his bro.

After photographing the stone in the afternoon (it was partly shadowed in the morning) I went down to the foreshore and snapped the picture below of the the cliffs that shed the lethal two or three tons of clay in 1903. On this bright afternoon they looked benign, their grassy slopes not threatening at all. But above the Lifeguard flag you will see one outcrop near the beach and another a bit further south. These look to be about forty feet high and have steeper faces. I suspect one of their forebears was responsible for taking the boy’s life. I wonder, though, what might have happened to him between the ages of 17 and 21 had he survived the fall.


I called in at the church this morning to photograph Elinor’s window to add to yesterday’s post and met Reverend Paul for the first time. When I mentioned Jack he asked to be shown the boy’s grave. I hope you have found your way to LaFRedux Reverend!

(Frederick John is on FST, but I found no sign there of Mabel or the children.)