Photographer unknown, no date, courtesy Filey Museum

His headstone tells us that Robert STORK was Filey’s bellman for 28 years. The privilege of crying out the town news cost him, in today’s money, about £3,000. I’ve based this figure on a Local Board meeting report that Thomas WEBB had offered £1 7s 6d for the position of Town Crier, “a similar sum to that paid by the previous bellman, Robert STORK”. That was in 1902 and confirmation that Robert had just retired from the post is found in a news item of 1895:-

Filey’s aged and famed bellman, who in March will attain his 73rd birthday, whilst in August next he will attain his majority, having acted by that time for 21 years as bellman, proposed the health of Mr. Nicholson…

Thomas Webb, thrice married, had taken Robert’s daughter Mary Ann for his second wife.


In loving memory of ROBERT STORK who died Sep 5th 1904, aged 82 years. For 28 years Town Crier.

‘His end was peace’

Also MARGARET his wife, who died Feb 2nd 1869, aged 49 years

‘Not dead, but sleepeth’

Also ELIZABETH their daughter, who died Dec 18th 1857, aged 6 years

‘She fell asleep in Jesus’

Also RACHEL STORK, wife of the above who died Nov 27 1909, aged 87 years

‘Prepare to meet thy God’

On FamilySearch Tree, Thomas is waiting for his third wife – and Robert’s brother John seems to be an impostor. I’m not quite sure how to deal with him as he has living descendants in America. I’ll make a case for the rightful brother and present it here in a day or two.

Fathers, Lost

William Hunter BAILEY was two years old when his father failed to return home.


John BAILEY was 28-years old, George STEPHENSON 27 and John MAJOR 35. Their bodies must have been recovered because their deaths were registered locally, but I have only found a burial record for John Major.


William and his mother moved the few miles to Filey, where Frances died in August 1870. A few months later William married Elizabeth CRAWFORD. At the 1871 census, the couple was enumerated in Mosey’s Yard and ten years later in Providence Place, having been joined by two children, John William and Sarah Ann.

William, undaunted by his father’s fate, worked as a fisherman. Like his dad, he didn’t make old bones but I have been unable to find the cause of his death at age 34.

His headstone in Filey St Oswald’s churchyard has been moved from his grave to the north wall.


In remembrance of FRANCES, wife of JOHN BAILEY, who died Aug 14th 1870, aged 51 years.

‘Farewell dear son, do thou earth’s days employ

To fit thee for our Father’s home of joy

Sleep on dear Mother and take thy rest

God took thee when he thought it best.’

Also, WILLIAM HUNTER BAILEY, son of the above and the beloved husband of ELIZABETH, died 16th Sep. 1884 aged 34 years.

Find the three drowned fishermen on FamilySearch Tree: John Bailey, George Stephenson and John Major.

Today’s Image

I walked along the beach to Reighton this morning as a way of remembering the solar eclipse.



The Misses Abbey

The graves of Ann and Elizabeth ABBEY in St Oswald’s churchyard are 17 rows and about 90 steps apart. Forty-one years passed between their funerals but in 1911 the census enumerator had found them living together, on their “private means”, at 3 Station Road in Filey.

photographed yesterday

Their headstones, though very different in style, have terse inscriptions in common.


In loving memory of ANNIE ABBEY born May 26th 1868, died Dec 20th 1911.


In memory of ELIZABETH ABBEY who died 23rd April 1952.

Elizabeth’s last address was the house she had shared with her sister. They possibly moved to Filey in the early years of the new century. In 1908, at the annual parish tea and concert the vicar, Rev. A N COOPER, thanked the ladies who had “provided the trays” and those parishioners who made “gifts of money” following a fire in the Church:-

…these including; The Misses Abbey, Mr and Mrs Aspell, Mrs Breckons, Mrs W. Cammish, Mr N. Maley, J.P., Mr Wigley, Mr Wolstenholme, Mr Foster Smith, and Mrs Wheelhouse.

(Three years later Ann would take her eternal rest next to Agnes Caroline Wheelhouse.)

In August 1909 the local paper reported on the half-day collection for the Scarborough Hospital and Dispensary and noted the Ackworth station had been “presided over” by one Miss Abbey, and assisted by another.

The sisters were the daughters of Martin Abbey and Jane née DICKINSON. They had a brother and two other sisters and none of the five had a FamilySearch ID. Both parents were from farming stock but Jane was not as robust as you might expect. She died aged 31 in 1872 when her youngest child, Mercy, was about a year old.

Martin didn’t take long to find a second wife, a 38-year-old spinster, but Sarah THOMPSON lived less than two years as a married woman.

An advertisement appeared in a local paper about 18 months later…


Alice ElizabethWRAY was in post at the 1881 census, the daughter of Marmaduke, a grocer in Great Driffield.

Martin died five years later and there seems to have been nobody in the family to continue running the farm. In addition to his children, he was survived by 156 pregnant ewes that had to be quickly sold at auction.

I wonder what brought Ann and Elizabeth to Filey.