This telephoto view down the slope of Madge Hill takes in most of the hamlet of Newbiggin.

Ordnance Survey, 1929. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.

Glaves Foster was caught here by the census enumerator in 1851 and 1871, probably occupying the house with two whitewashed gables and four chimneys. In 1861 he was at the Little Britain farm on census night but perhaps not resident there. In 1881, Newbiggin was being run by Glaves’ widow, Mary, assisted by two of her “middle” sons, Thomas Francis and Charles. Both men married in 1886, two years before their mother’s death and it would appear that Newbiggin was bequeathed to Henry, the youngest son. In 1891 Thomas was farming at Sewerby and Charles at Harton, near York.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Henry was living at 1, The Crescent in Filey in 1901 and 1911. Perhaps the farmhouse at Newbiggin was occupied by a hind. Though giving his occupation as “farmer” at these censuses, Henry was playing a significant part in public life. This morning I went to St Oswald’s to photograph his memorial tablet in the church. It took some finding, being hidden by a banner indicating the south transept is a place for quiet prayer.


The eldest of the FOSTER brothers, William Stilborn, was 20 years old in 1871 and with his parents (and brothers) at Newbiggin. He married Mary Ann RALEY in 1875 and in 1881 he was farming Muston Grange. He died a few months before his mother in 1888, so the question of his inheriting Newbiggin didn’t arise. He has an impressive stone in St Oswald’s churchyard but it is currently on its back. The inscription on the polished red granite is difficult to decipher in the best of lights.


In loving memory of WILLIAM S. FOSTER of Muston Grange, who died June 27 1888, aged 37years.

‘Not my will but Thine be done’

Also ANNIE, the beloved daughter of the above, who died at Beacon House, Flamboro’, August 8th 1904, aged 26 years.

‘Peace perfect peace’

Also of MARY ANN, widow of the above, who died Sept 14th 1930, aged 81 years.

‘The Lord is my shepherd’

I will add to William’s details on the FamilySearch Tree over the next few days.

Three Sisters

Sarah Ann, Mary and Grace were born to Arthur COULSON and Jane ATKINSON between 1825 and 1833. They had an older brother, William, but he died in 1860, aged 37.

GateHouseFarm_BingIn 1851 Arthur was farming 104 acres at The Gate House a little to the north of Lebberston village. The family unit was in residence, complete, with two farm labourers living in. A year after William’s death the Coulsons were still together, but Arthur had only 12 acres in Gristhorpe.

Arthur died in 1869 and his widow appears to have sold the farm. The 1871 census shows Jane at the same address as a “retired farmer” with two unmarried daughters. Mary had left home after marrying John SIXTON, a few months before her father died.

I mentioned in an earlier post that farmers married late. John, a bachelor, was 57 and Mary 41 when they teamed up to farm 56 acres at Gristhorpe.

By 1881 the sisters were orphans and the census indicates that Arthur’s land hadn’t been sold but rented out. Sarah Ann and Grace were living together as “Land Owners”. It seems unlikely that the rent from 12 acres would have kept the sisters so perhaps they had inherited the Gate House land too.

John Sixton died in 1885 and in 1891 the three sisters were living together in Londesborough Road, Scarborough. The exact address isn’t given but at the 1901 and 1911 censuses, Mary was resident at No. 28, three doors away from the CARR sisters (24 June post A Visitor).


Grace died in 1897 and Sarah Ann in 1899. The three sisters are together in St Oswald’s churchyard.


The inscriptions are difficult to read. Mary is with John on the left; Grace and Sarah Ann to the right. The graves of their parents are almost in the line of sight through the gap between the stones, near the church.


I have only just made a start on the Coulson pedigree on FST. I’ll put all four stones on as Memories as soon as I can but for now, you can find the family, in isolation and without the Sixton connection, here.

Finding a Jewel

On my walk this morning, I saw this insect –


I haven’t been able to identify it.



Love’s Old Dream

I don’t have the figures to prove it, but I have long thought that farmers and their offspring marry late. Later than around age 23 for women and 25 for men, that is.

In 1851, William SMITH was farming 160 acres just outside Hunmanby. The census declares he employed 4 indoor and 4 outside servants. His household comprised wife Sarah née POOL, three unmarried daughters between the ages of 34 and 38, his only son Robert, 30, his 70-year-old unmarried sister Ann, four farm labourers, a shepherd and one female house servant.

William was 27 when he married Sarah. Robert, their only son, waited until his 46th year before making an honest woman of Zillah Agar SUGGIT and farming in Filey at Church Cliff.

Three of Robert’s five sisters married and the last to tie the knot was Mary when she was 56 years old. Her husband, Matthew STAINTHORPE, was nine years older. The church register indicates that neither had been married before.

Matthew was some sort of gentleman. About six months after the wedding a census enumerator gave his occupation thus: –


Ten years earlier, he had been a butler to Grace Trumbull at Hunmanby Hall, a large country house with a live-in staff of eleven, eight of them unmarried women. Male companionship for Matthew was provided by a groom and a page, aged 24 and 16.

In 1861, possibly no more than a five-minute walk from the Hall, Mary, a Farmer’s Assistant, was living at Rose Cottage with her 19-year-old niece, Elizabeth HOOPER.

After the wedding in 1870, Matthew moved into Rose Cottage with Mary, but he had to share the property with sister in law, Sarah SMITH, 61. He didn’t quite make it to the 1881 census when the enumerator found Mary at Howe Farm, just outside Hunmanby, with sister Sarah and a servant, Anna POOL, possibly a relative.

Mary was a wife for just over nine years and a widow for 22. She died aged 89 in the summer of 1902.

Find the old married couple on FamilySearch Tree.

Royal Flush

I continue to be rather embarrassed by my possible blood relationships to the kings and queens of several European countries. As I can now imagine, though I never previously thought about it, once one is a king one hands out largesse in the form of land, property and sometimes daughters to supporters. The daughters forge blood ties with “nobles” – so it is no surprise that I have successions of earls and dukes in my pedigree.

I am dutifully putting the exalted into RootsMagic and happening on a surprise or two each day. Yesterday I reached my fourteenth great grandmother Mary Boleyn (L5BC-D1G). Surely not! Alas ‘tis so, my great grandaunt times 14 died in the Tower of London.


Today I decided to move down in the world, back to my early ancestors. GEDmatch offers a tool that, in just a few seconds, compares autosomal DNA with that of “archaic” individuals found 1,200 to 50,000 years ago, in Europe and Asia mostly but with a couple from Brazil, a “Polar Eskimo” from Greenland and the Clovis child from the USA. The first two on the list are the granddaddy of them all – a Neanderthal from the Altai Mountains and that other very senior citizen, a Denisovan from Siberia.

I still know very little about ancient DNA but I was hoping to have a small percentage of both Neanderthal and Denisovan in me. Here’s the indication on the first four chromosomes:-


I seem to match two ancients from present day Hungary most closely and this makes My Heritage’s suggestion of an East European ethnicity, which had initially taken me by surprise, seem more plausible.

What I really wanted to know though was whether I am a hunter gatherer or a farmer. GEDmatch’s answer was unequivocal. On every chromosome I was majorly Baltic Hunter Gatherer (averaging 54% over the 22) admixed with 35% Mediterranean Farmer. There were surprises in the traces. I would never in 50,000 years have expected I harboured Bantu Farmer DNA (I didn’t) but on 6 chromosomes I averaged 2% Pygmy Hunter Gatherer. The largest trace contribution has come from Middle Eastern Herder, which might explain Shem, Ham and Japheth, though I take that part of my pedigree with a pillar of salt. HGs from Oceania and South America will have to be explained by someone much cleverer than I will ever be.

This afternoon I watched a YouTube Video in which David Reich explained recent projects that are taking us Towards a New History and Geography of Human Genes informed by Ancient DNA. My earlier session at GEDmatch began to make more sense. My rough takeaway from his talk is that there were three major migrations of archaic people into Europe where previously the models favoured just two – the farmers and hunter gatherers. The third peoples are the Ancient North Eurasians. After much DNA sequencing and number crunching an estimate has been made of the share of DNA from the archaic populations that will be expected in various European groups today. Overall the combined proportions of farmer and hunter gatherer are only a little below my results, though my “traces” obviously are not Ancient North Eurasian. Leaving that aside as a puzzle, my admixture of the Big Two is quite close to Estonian, then Lithuanian and Icelandic. Norwegian, my chief suspect for the 50.7% Scandinavian ethnicity from My Heritage comes in about fourth.

English, which is what I thought I was, has an estimated admixture of 50% farmer, 36% hunter gather and 14% Ancient North Eurasian. Hmm, interesting; I hope you think so too. If you haven’t already, get testing and GEDmatching!