The Colley Brothers?

Kath has a note in Filey Genealogy & Connections about John and George COLLEY.

1861; [John] In 5 The Crescent, was he George Colley’s brother (bricklayer) who was the s. of John Colley. 1851; a visitor living with Richard & Jane Ferguson in Back Rd. a bricklayer. did he come to Filey to help with the development of New Filey? 1871: a builder living with family on the Crescent.


No.5 The Crescent is a substantial property for a brickie and those making up Cliff Terrace were not shabby either. The distance from the black door above to Wrays (photo in Saturday’s post) is about 120 yards. Not far, but not proof of a blood relationship.

Turn the clock back 20 years. John and George are living in Bridlington. John, 16, is a bricklayer’s apprentice, living with his father, stepmother, three brothers and a sister in Church Green. George, given age 30, a journeyman bricklayer, is in Pinfold Street with his first wife Ann. They share the dwelling with another couple, John and Bridget AGAR, and their newborn son Thomas. It is a three-minute walk from Church Green to Pinfold Street. George and John’s proximity in two towns and their shared occupation surely makes them “family”.

Living at 5 The Crescent in 1861 with John, his wife Grace and their two infant boys is John’s father, also John, who headed the Church Green household in 1841. It is he who is George’s brother.

I am not the only one who has been struggling to untangle Colleys. When George was five years old, his eldest brother William married Elizabeth WHITING in Skipsea. I have so far found three of their children, but on the FamilySearch Shared Tree they have been given twelve.


The marriage of William and Elizabeth is right, and Elizabeth’s dates of birth and death and her parents may be correct. But William was born in 1788, died in 1845 and has the wrong parents here. Only Maria in the list of twelve children rightly belongs to William and Elizabeth. (They also have a Skipsea born and christened George and Ann, their firstborn, who is missing from the list.) All the others belong to someone else.

This outlandish family is, however, well documented. One of them has twenty sources attached. But a close reading of the christenings reveals the family to be itinerants. Chronologically, the children were blessed in Doncaster, Ecclesfield, Hull, Doncaster, Ecclesfield, Doncaster, Skipsea, Bridlington, Scawton (x3) and Gravesend. Yeah, right.

If I seem a bit peeved, it gets worse. Looking for Ann in the FamilySearch Sources returns her as the top hit, but clicking on the tree icon brings up the Mary Ann born in Doncaster three years later (No.4 on the above list). This is very annoying.


I made a lot of progress with the Real Colleys today – because I had a lot of help. In a dusty folder on a back-up hard drive, I found a Colley Family “story” sent to me seven or eight years ago, in response to a post written for the original Looking at Filey blog. I hope to right most of the Colley wrongs on FST over the next week or two.

Also in the letter Charlotte Brontë wrote to Ellen Nussey (Saturday’s post):-

Filey seems to me much altered; more lodging-houses – some of them very handsome – have been built; the sea has all its old grandeur.

The first observation echoes Kath’s note about there being plenty of work for brickies in “New Filey”. The second gives me an excuse to link to the First Man in Filey. Adam tries out a new camera on the path to Filey Brigg, on Carr Naze, at Bempton Cliffs and Selwicks Bay.

Charlotte wanted to go on the Brigg in 1852.

One day I set out with intent to trudge to Filey Bridge, but was frightened back by two cows. I mean to try again some morning.

I wonder what she would make of digital cameras.

Tangled up in Colleys

About a week ago, in Little Warneford Annie, I wrote this-

Robert is one of the Skipsea branch of Colleys. They settled in Filey for many years, but I haven’t yet happened upon any that sleep here eternally. So, I am unlikely to extend their pedigree on FST.

There is a Skipsea Colley buried in St Oswald’s churchyard – so I feel duty-bound…

I intended writing about the Three Wives of George Colley today. The names of two are remembered on this headstone.


In loving memory of LOUISA, the beloved wife of GEORGE COLLEY of Cliff Terrace, who died May 21st 1860, aged 39 years.

Also, two children of the above who died in infancy.

Also of GEORGE COLLEY, who died April 10th 1866, aged 59 years.

Also of SARAH, relict of the late GEORGE COLLEY, who died Dec 6th 1866, aged 33 years.

George and Louisa married at St Oswald’s on 29 April 1852. Five weeks or so later, one of Francis Smith’s guests wrote to a friend…

“Cliffe House, Filey, June 6th, 1852.

“Dear E—-, – I am at Filey utterly alone…Do not be angry, the step is right. I considered it, and resolved on it with due deliberation. Change of air was necessary; there were reasons why I should not go to the south, and why I should come here…

“I am in our old lodgings at Mrs. Smith’s; not, however, in the same rooms, but in less expensive apartments. They seemed glad to see me, remembered you and me very well, and, seemingly, with great good will. The daughter who used to wait on us is just married…

Believe me, yours faithfully,

“C. Bronte.”


Cliff Terrace is just around the corner.


I think this was where George and Louisa set up home and brought four children into the world. The infants mentioned on the monument were both called Sophia Mabel.

About a year after Louisa’s death, George crossed the Humber married Sarah TOYN in Spilsby and returned to Cliff Terrace.

Their first child, a son they called George Toyn, lived to the age of 77. Their second, daughter Emma, survived for just a week after her christening. When George died the following spring he was possibly unaware that Sarah was carrying their third child. A widow, she died giving birth. The boy’s birth and death were registered under the name “Stillborn Colley” on the 7th of December. (The “6th” is clearly inscribed on the headstone.)

This afternoon, I found a census record which put a question mark against George’s first wife. Other censuses caused me to wonder if George was perhaps the uncle of the Robert Dixon Colley mentioned at the beginning of this post. With several Filey Colleys beginning their lives in Skipsea it would be a surprise if they were not related by blood. As things are, the Shared Tree is keeping them apart. George needs parents, several children and two wives on FST. There’s more work to be done.

Little Warneford Annie

There isn’t a single representative of the WARNEFORD family name in Filey Genealogy & Connections. Kath’s database has Blanche Annie WARNFORD marrying Filey Draper Robert Dixon COLLEY. Born in “186-“, she doesn’t have a birthplace. The couple has two children, Edwin Warnford Colley and May, both born in Stockton, County Durham.

There is a small family of Warnefords enumerated in Queen Street, Filey, in 1881. Retired draper, Richard, his wife Elizabeth, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. Richard had run a linen and woollen drapery business in York from around 1850 to the early 70s when he retired to the coast. In 1877 he bought at auction a house and shop on the South Cliff, Scarborough for £1,420 but clearly didn’t occupy the property for long.  After residing in Filey for a while he moved the thirteen miles to Bridlington, where he died aged 61 on June 4, 1886. His wife Elizabeth, nine years his junior, was living with married daughter Elizabeth in Sheffield in 1891. Daughter Mary, approaching 30 and single was there too. Both Warneford women were “living on their own means”. Head of household, daughter Elizabeth’s husband William Henry NEAVE, was described as a “Foreign Corresponding Clerk”, which sounds quite exciting.

There are more Elizabeth’s than are helpful in this family. Draper Richard seems to have first married Elizabeth BREALEY in 1854. She gave birth to William later that year and died the year after. (I’m basing this supposition on the death registration of an Elizabeth Warneford aged 28 in York.) Elizabeth the Second appears very clearly in the next four censuses, birthplace Howden, but I cannot find a second marriage source. Christening records are available for Elizabeth and Mary (mother just “Elizabeth”) but birth registrations for them, and for Blanche Annie are yet to be found.

There is a civil marriage record for Blanche Annie and Robert Dixon COLLEY in Stockton (1884) but at her death in 1922 she is just Annie.

FamilySearch offers two christening sources for Anne/Annie Warneford.


The 1871 census gives “All Saints” as the birthplaces of four children of Richard and Elizabeth I and II – William, Elizabeth, Mary and “Annie”. I can only find a birth registration for the Annie who is a daughter of Farmer John. This little Warneford didn’t marry, preferring to live à deux with female companions.

Are Anne, Annie and Blanche Annie the same person? There isn’t enough evidence yet to say for certain one way or the other. But, hey, remember Robert Dixon Colley was a draper.

Robert is one of the Skipsea branch of Colleys. They settled in Filey for many years, but I haven’t yet happened upon any that sleep here eternally. So, I am unlikely to extend their pedigree on FST.


I photographed this SIMPSON stone in 2017.


Two months ago, “the gang” had put the simple jigsaw together.


On Saturday, I noticed the stone was standing. (I have no idea how long ago it fell and broke.)


In affectionate remembrance of WILLIAM, the beloved husband of MARY SIMPSON, who died May 2 1875, aged 50 years.

‘Thy will be done’

Also MARY, wife of the above, who died Jan 18th 1889 (sic), aged 63 years.

‘She sleeps in Jesus’

Also THOMAS, their son who died May 4 1876, aged 20 years.

And of JOHN MATTHEW, their son who died March 17th 1879, aged 14 years.

‘Safe in the arms of Jesus’

ALICE ANN JACKSON died July 15 1934.

MARY JANE SIMPSON died Jan 3 1935.

I joined William and Mary in marriage on the Shared Tree this afternoon and gave them ten children. Six children had IDs but were separated into their christening source trios with the parents. I looked in vain for newspaper accounts of the deaths of the two young men. I would have photographed the family fishmonger’s shop, where sisters Mary Jane and Alice Ann(e) died in the 1930s, but rain fell most of the afternoon. (A gloomy election day.)

There are more connections to be made in the pedigree, and some merging to be done, but you can find William and Mary’s family here.

Today’s Image

I wonder if old soldiers do turn in their graves. After 17.4 million Brits voted to leave the European Union three and a half years ago, the UK regime continued to tie the nation even more tightly to the Empire Builders. In the last few weeks, the Prime Minister has uttered his “let’s get Brexit done” mantra many more times than Mrs May cried “Brexit means Brexit”. They have both been having a laugh. Countless men gave their lives for this country. Our shamelessly corrupt political class has handed it over to the unelected bureaucrats of the EU without a shot being fired. Adolph Hitler will be dancing jigs in his tomb. This is what he always wanted.

I was the third person in our street to register at the Polling Station this morning. I wonder if the two ahead of me spoiled their ballot.

Of course, I hope I’m wrong and 17.4 million people find Boris’s oven-ready Deal Meal tasty. By the morning we’ll know if the voters have told him to go hang.