Wrens

In certain parts of England, I am told, the wren is a very shy and timid bird, and naturalists in those places attribute it to the age-long persecution those birds have been subjected to there. To avenge some legendary sin of a wren, men and boys, until quite recent years, would hunt the poor little birds and bear strings of their tiny bodies in triumph upon St Stephen’s Day. A strange way of celebrating the feast of a saint who himself was hunted and persecuted.

In Hampshire the wren has been more fortunate. From remotest times it has shared with the robin the distinction of being regarded as a sacred bird and such doggerel rhymes as:

‘The robins and the wrens

Be the Almighty’s special friends.

Who kills them shall thrive never,

But all his luck shall sever,’

or, more tersely:

‘Who slays a robin or a wren

Shall never prosper, boys nor men,’

have helped to protect them from the ignorant and to endear them to the more enlightened. In consequence, the wren, although a much rarer bird, is almost as trustingly unafraid of man in the south as the robin is; and both are equally beloved.

From January: A Country Calendar, Flora Thompson. Originally published in The Catholic Fireside magazine, 1919-1927.

In Filey’s ravines, the wrens haven’t yet found their full voices, and are rather skittish. Next month, when needs must, they will belt out their songs and perform on a perch of choice long enough to be captured. This one was still making music in mid-April. When I was a child my father used to call me a troglodyte, so maybe I should, rather late in the day, adopt this bird as my mascot.

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Flora Jane TIMMS is on the FamilySearch Tree and there is a short biography of her on the Ennever/Enever Family History & Ancestry website.

On Another Coast

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© David Dixon shared under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 licence

These two cast iron iterations of Antony Gormley’s body gazed across the Elbe estuary for a while and now look from Brighton le Sands over the Crosby Channel towards North Wales.

In these waters 77 years ago, HMT Relonzo struck a mine and was sunk. There is a photograph of the vessel and a list of the nineteen crew at Wreck Site. The trawler went down near C10 Red Buoy and it seems that all the men aboard were lost. Relonzo had taken part in the Dunkirk evacuation the previous summer and in 1941 was engaged in The Battle of the Atlantic.

Frank HUNTER was one of the seamen who died on Relonzo.He was born in Hull in December 1908 to Filey-born parents George William and Elizabeth Ann née PEARSON. His memorial is in St Oswald’s churchyard and the stone also remembers his wife Lillian.

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Lillian was also born a PEARSON but I haven’t been able to determine her parentage. The following brief item appeared in The Driffield Times on 25th July 1941.

Filey Man Killed

Mrs. Hunter, of Ebenezer House, Queen Street, Filey, has received word that her husband, Frank Hunter (32), has been killed by enemy action at sea. He leaves three children.

The record for one of the children is “closed” on the 1939 Register and so may still be alive. I added Frank and his siblings to FST today but will leave it to his family to enter more recent information.

An Accident Revisited

John William Sumpton SAYER’s death was briefly reported in newspapers around the country under headings such as “Man Killed on Beach” and “Run Over by a Fishing Boat”. In not many more than fifty words it was explained that fishing boats in Filey were, in 1939, pulled down to the sea “on two wheels”. John had taken a boat to the sea’s edge when two men following with another coble shouted for him to get out of the way. “Sayers appeared to stumble and before the men could stop, one of the wheels went over his head.” He was killed instantly.

Trivial accounts like this are so unfair – in seeming to imply that the person who died brought on their own demise. John was 62-years-old, a husband and father of two girls, then in their thirties. He deserved better.

He is not, as yet, on the FamilySearch Tree but he has one of the more extensive pedigrees on Filey Genealogy & Connections.Kath Wilkie has attached a note to his record that gives the sad event some context – and the stricken man a measure of dignity that the newspapers denied him.

Severe weather conditions: raining cats & dogs – dark @ 6.30am on Weds. 18 Jan 1939. Had been helping to launch cobles, but had left his oilskins under a fishbox on Coble Landing.  Went off to get them after 3 cobles had been launched so that he wasn’t drenched to the skin. Put his oilskins on and bent his head against the wind and rain.  He couldn’t see because it was so dark, but he knew the way anyway – he’d done it often enough.  He didn’t hear them bringing the ‘JOAN MARY’ down, because of the wind, rain and the sea – and the others couldn’t see him either.   He was knocked down – but nobody saw – and the wheel ran over his head and he was dragged up to 20 yards before they realised what had happened. One of them ran to get Dr Vincent, but he was dead.  The verdict was ‘accidental death’, but the coroner recommended that they use a light when launching the cobles in the dark to avoid any such further accidents.  The inquest was held at the Police Station on Thursday evening.  He had a traditional Filey Fisherman’s funeral with a short service at home (85 Queen Street) and then on to Ebenezer Chapel. He was buried in St Oswald’s.   The two men who were launching the Joan Mary were Thomas & Robert Cammish, both of Queen St (49 & 70) – plus others.

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The tall house is No.85 Queen Street, photographed this afternoon. John’s grave has a kerb rather than a headstone and the inscriptions on such are often obscured by vegetation.

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In Loving Memory of my dear husband JOHN W.S. SAYERS

accidentally killed 18th Jan 1939 aged 62

Also of his dear wife ELIZABETH ANN died 27th Nov 1964 aged 87

‘Reunited            In God’s keeping’

John was a grandfather of William Johnson COLLING, one of the “Langleecrag Cousins” (see 15th November’s post). His somewhat unusual middle-name “Sumpton” had come to him from at least as far back as the late 17th century. His fourth great-grandfather, Henry SUMPTON, was born around 1685.

This post was written before I checked out Looking at Filey. I wrote about this accident on 18 January 2011.

I have created a page on the LaF Wiki for John and Elizabeth Ann’s Monumental Inscription record.

The Barque ‘Unico’

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Unico came to grief on Filey Brigg this day 1871. I favour her being the “barque” of the memorial obelisk rather than the “schooner” of this vivid report of her demise in the Driffield Times, 21 January.

Wreck and Loss of 13 Lives at Filey

The Italian three-masted schooner Unico, captain Angelo Dodero, coal laden from Newcastle for Genoa, which brought up in Filey Bay on Sunday, dragged her anchors in a gale of wind, before daylight on Monday morning, and struck upon Filey Brigg, and went to pieces immediately. Of the whole crew, thirteen in number, only one man, Litano Maccouchi, was found alive upon the rocks. A Newcastle pilot was also drowned.

The Inquest

On Wednesday, an inquest was held at the Ship Inn, before J. M. Jennings, esq., coroner, on the bodies of three men cast on Filey Brigg, whose names are Gaetano Paganetti (mate), Carlo Lavaggi (able seaman), and Francesco Bugino (apprentice). From the evidence of Litano Maccouchi it appears that the vessel Unico, with a cargo of 600 tons of coal, sailed from Newcastle-upon-Tyne for Genoa, on the 11th inst., having on board Capt. Didero, a crew of 12, and a Tyne pilot named Corbett. The vessel arrived off Flambro’ Head on Saturday 14th, and being hazy, with strong wind from S.S.W. the pilot requested her to be anchored under Speeton Cliffs; this done the vessel rode safely until Monday morning, when, thick with rain, a fearful gale sprung up from S.S.E., which caused the ship to drag her anchor. The pilot at once requested sail to be made, anchor to be slipped, and stand out to sea; this was done, but in doing so the Unico struck upon the extreme end of Filey Brigg. A heavy sea was running at the time and so great was the concussion that the ship’s bottom was stove in; at this momentary crisis part of the crew got into three boats, which were on deck, the other part of the crew took refuge on the fore-rigging; no sooner done than an awful sea broke upon the ship, swept the deck, and hurled the boats into the gaping sea, thus drowning at one blow eight of the poor fellows; a twin mountain wave followed, which burst upon the ship, carrying away the foremast, upon which were the other six clinging for life, but these were also thrown amongst the breakers, which were spending their fury upon the fatal rocks, only one rose to the surface to grasp a piece of timber to which he tenaciously clung, when another wave lifted and cast him upon a safer part of the rocks; fearfully bruised and bewildered he climbed upon a higher rock, and upon this rock he sat shivering for more than an hour, when he was found by two fishermen, who carried him over rocks and to the Ship Inn, where every care and comfort was bestowed upon him.

James Gondrill, fisherman, said: I left my house on Monday morning about 7.15 a.m. and went on to the Brigg, when I met two fishermen carrying a shipwrecked man; I proceeded further on the rocks and espied another one of whose hands was uplifted firmly grasping some seed weed: with assistance I lifted him up and found him cold and dead; a little further on I found another lifeless man, both of whom were taken to the Ship Inn.

The Coroner, having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

I think the reporter did rather better with the names of the unfortunate crew than whoever carved their names on the obelisk in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Here’s the Crimlisk transcription (the names are now obscured):

This stone is erected to commemorate a fearful shipwreck which took place

on Filey Brigg on 16 Jan 1871 of the Italian barque ‘Unico’ from Genoa

whereby 12 out of a crew of 13 including an English pilot perished

 

The following are interred in Filey Churchyard

ALGELO DODERO, Captain

GAETANO PAGANETTI, Mate

CARLO LAOAGGI, Seaman

FRANCESEAS BUGINO, Apprentice

and five others (Names unknown)

The East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription helpfully adds the Burial Register entries. These indicate that one body, supposed to be that of Captain DODERO, was not found for about ten days after the event and was interred with the others on 31 January.

*1871 Jan 19. Carlo Lauggi. Wrecked. 38.

*1871 Jan 19. Gaetano Paganetti. Wrecked. 37.

*1871 Jan 19. Francesco Bugiano. Wrecked. 17 yrs.

*These 3 men were washed up on Filey Brigg, from the wrecked barque Unico.

I walked to the overlook on Carr Naze this morning to photograph the scene of the wreck for Today’s Image. I was a little disappointed not be faced with a stormy sea and bruised sky but the upside was better light in the churchyard and Queen Street to picture two other elements of the story.

Fisherman “James Gondrill” was almost certainly James GOUNDRILL, born in Keyingham in 1839. At the census of 1871 he was living with his in-laws in Mosey’s Yard, off Queen Street, and working as a Gardener. Kath gives his occupation as Fisherman in Filey Genealogy & Connections but he began his working life as a Farm Servant (1851) and ten years later was a Servant to John Rook, the Miller at Mappleton. In 1881, still working as a gardener, he was living with wife Hannah and three daughters in Scarborough. The couple would return to Filey and be laid to rest in St Oswald’s churchyard. I didn’t have a photograph of their headstone in stock, probably because it is so hard to read, being well coated in lichen.

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In loving memory of HANNAH, the dearly beloved wife of JAMES GOUNDRILL, who died April 19th 1898 aged 52 years.

For to live in Christ and to die is gain.

Also the above JAMES GOUNDRILL, who died Sep. 9th 1905, aged 66 years.

The grass withered, the flower fadeth. The word of God stands forever.

James and Hannah are on FamilySearch Tree but without their full complement of offspring and for the most part disconnected from their forebears. When I find the time I’ll attempt to bring them all together. I had a quick look at Italian records for Unico’s named crew without success. I hope Litano Maccouchi recovered from his ordeal and lived well, to a great age.

I walked the short distance to Queen Street to photograph the Ship Inn, sometime after 1871 re-named the T’awd Ship, and now a private dwelling.

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There is a fine view of the Bay at the end of the street and from Cliff Top a cargo ship was heading north beyond the Brigg. It was the Mistral, a Ro-Ro flying a Finland flag, heading for Teesport from Zeebrugge. Calm sea certainly, prosperous voyage maybe.

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The Brothers Chow

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Eight years after Elizabeth Richardson searched the Filey shore for her husband’s body, the family CHOW sought two of their own – brothers, Francis and James. Robert and Mary née PEARSON have ten children listed in Kath’s database, Filey Genealogy & Connections but only three had PIDs on FamilySearch until today.

FG & C has Robert drowning with his sons on 14 January 1808 but I have yet to find an official record to confirm this. This headstone offers circumstantial evidence that Robert lies beneath with  Francis and James, and that two months of searching separated discovery of the brothers’ bodies. The following verse is mostly hidden now but it was recorded by George Shaw in his book,  Rambles Round Filey, 1886 and is included in the East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription.

Most epitaphs are vainly wrote;

The dead to speak it can’t be thought;

Therefore, the friends of those here laid,

Desired that this might be said.

That rose two brothers, sad to tell,

That rose in health, ere night they fell –

Fell victims to the foaming main;

Wherefore awhile they hid remain.

Friends for them sought, and much lament,

At last the Lord to those them sent.

So child and widow may bemoan

O’er husband’s and o’er father’s tomb.

The EYFHS transcription adds the burial records for the brothers; James being interred on 24 January and Francis on March 25th, 1808.

The family unit isn’t complete on FST yet but here is the link to husband and father, Robert CHOW. By the time George, his youngest son, died in 1864 the family name was CHEW.

The Unfortunate Apprentice

On the night of Sunday, 10th January 1892, a gale blew the Whitby brig Lancet towards the Filey rocks. The Master, Lewis, ordered the anchors to be cast and these held the vessel until early morning when distress flags brought out the Filey Lifeboat, Hollon the Second. It took about six hours for the Filey volunteers to rescue seven of Lancet’s crew of eight. A newspaper reported that “one boy was drowned while launching the ship’s boat in an effort to get ashore”. Another report named the deceased as Henry COOR, who hailed from London and was “within eight months of completing his apprenticeship”. Henry’s body was transported by wave and tide about three miles and was found at Reighton the next day, the 12th. Several newspapers repeated the macabre and possibly misguided observation that “the poor fellow had evidently been alive when washed ashore, as his hands were full of gravel”. It is hard to imagine him surviving 24 hours in the winter sea.

Henry’s age isn’t given and I couldn’t find a “boy” with his name in London birth registers. Henry Thomas COOR, born in Bethnal Green, would have been 21 in January 1892. Old for a boy, and perhaps for an apprentice seaman, but a curious fact suggests it was indeed he who drowned in Filey Bay. His mother’s maiden name was registered as McCLARENCE. In the June Quarter of 1892 in Bethnal Green, a boy was born to Mrs. COOR née McCLARENLL (sic) and given the name Henry.

The names COOR and McCLARENCE bamboozled most registrars and their clerks. I couldn’t return the young man to his folks today with certainty. I think his father was William and his mother Maria – but she seems to have died aged 24 when Henry the First was two-years-old. It isn’t impossible that Henry the Second’s mother was Emma McCLARENCE, wife of  James COOR and a younger sister of Maria, but it’s quite a stretch.

I just hope the unfortunate apprentice will take his place on the FamilySearch Tree some day.

A Coincidence Chain

I wrote about Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON  back in August, on the anniversary of his death in 1917 on the Western Front. Eight months before his birth, his father had been lost at sea off St Abbs Head, about 140 miles north of Filey. That family tragedy happened 126 years ago today.

Looking more closely into the event this morning, I soon discovered that Robert Jenkinson senior had not drowned from a fishing boat but from the SS Bear, Master J. HAWRIE. The cargo ship was carrying pig iron from Middlesbrough to Grangemouth and sank after a collision with SS Britannia. Twelve of her crew of 14 drowned. (Sources: Canmore and Wreck Site.)

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I wondered…

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Reverend Thomas was the incumbent at Filey for 42 years (1831-1873). He has a memorial window in St Oswald’s but the sources readily to hand only reveal him making a speech now and again and “solemnly dedicating” the first Hollon lifeboat. He perhaps wasn’t a hard act for Reverend Basil K. WOODD to follow.

Basil, remarkably, had something in common with Mrs. NORFOLK – they shared the middle name Kilvington. It isn’t immediately apparent that the two were related. Sarah’s maiden name was BARSTOW and she was born in Acomb, about 16 miles from Basil’s birthplace, Aldborough. (Although The Driffield Times notice says the Reverend JACKSON was “of Acomb” he appears to have been a native of Beverley.)

KILVINGTON, as a family name, is surely derived from a geographical location. It is very much a Yorkshire name but there is only South Kilvington in the county. Nottinghamshire has Kilvington – but not many people bearing the name in the 19th century.

Whatever, this coincidence seems to beg further investigation.

FamilySearch is, perhaps for the first time in my experience, rather unhelpful. The Reverend Thomas has several PIDs but only this one gives a reasonable starting point. Others give him the “wrong” spouse and somebody else’s children. The system seems to be culpable, rather than human contributors to the World Tree, but it is still a mess to be cleared up.

I promised in August to “expand” Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON the Younger’s family on FST but seem to have done next to nothing since then. There are not enough hours in the day!