A Man Who Had Money

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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.

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