16 People Behaving Badly

Some were unfamiliar to me but others can be found in any Ususal Suspects box. I hope they get their day in a Hague court. (The link is to a PDF.)


1891 Filey · Birth Maude was the youngest of six girls born to fisherman Mark SCOTTER and Alice née COLLING. Five days after her father was killed aboard his yawl Susie by a German submariner, she married George Lenarto DORAN.

22 November 1917, photographer unknown (but perhaps George Doran Snr.), courtesy Martin Douglas

George, a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery survived the war but he had been seriously wounded in September 1916 and brought to the Perth War Hospital for treatment.

Maude died twenty years after George. They have a simple headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

1836 Filey · Baptism It took her a while, but Henrietta found a husband in her home village of Gristhorpe in Filey parish. After fourteen years and the births of two children, Francis Robert FOSTER died. Henrietta ran a lodging house in Filey for a number of years and then moved to Leeds to live with daughter Agnes, who had married a joiner in 1900. Sharing a house with four granddaughters and sister in law Sarah must have kept her young. The only death registration for her that comes close to fitting (a two-year discrepancy perhaps) gives her age as 92 in 1926.

Henrietta on the Shared Tree.

1817 Cayton · Marriage Ralph RICKABY was born in Wath, near Ripon. He married Mary DENTON in Cayton and, after bringing five children into the world, both died in 1824. Jonah, an orphan at two years, would become a master cordwainer in Filey and make connections through marriage to some of the main Filey families.

But what took Ralph and Mary at such young ages? Ralph, a farmer at Lebberston, died at the end of November, aged 41. Mary followed him to the grave three weeks later, just before Christmas. Causes unknown, (though youngest child Jane’s birth had been registered in the September quarter).

Note: Marriage licence date, Muston, dated 24 January in a couple of sources but with the intended marriage place given as Cayton.

1878 Swaffham · Death Margaret DUNSMURE was seventy when she died in Norfolk – and she was born in Edinburgh. There is a chance, however, that she set foot in Filey, maybe a few times. At the age of 23, she married a high status chap who is sometimes confusingly referred to as Robert Admiral MITFORD. A street in Filey has been named after him (rather than some other Mitford).

Robert was a quarter of a century older than Margaret but he nevertheless managed to be married to her for forty years. They seem to have had only one child, a daughter, but somehow this Mitford branch of the family is connected on social media to the 20th Century’s Nancy and her bright young sisters. (Unity “had a relationship” with Adolph Hitler and Diana married Oswald Mosley.)

Camille Silvy may have photographed Margaret a few years before she acquired dowager status. The attribution isn’t certain. Find her with Admiral Mitford on the Shared Tree.

1945 Filey · Burial Aeneas Robb SIMON is a singleton. He has a place on FG&C because in 1945, at the age of 63, he was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. There isn’t a Monumental Inscription record but Kath gives his last address as 29 The Croft.

I made a token effort to place him in a birth family, with limited success. I think he married Florence BENNION in Liverpool in 1915. Percy William Robb SIMON and Marjorie Florence are the only children I could find. Why Aeneas? It isn’t a typical Morayshire given name.


1991 Hull


Sorting, clearing, getting on.

Went to see Dot Ramsey in the afternoon. Memories of walking, running along drain side early mornings to walk Joan Veitch to school. Playing on Trevor Grief’s “bogey”, (an unfortunate word we used then for a four-wheeled, hand-built-from-scrapwood cart).

Dot in plaster. She’d recovered from a broken ankle only to be knocked down by a car on Christmas Eve. Twelve days in hospital. Cheerful though, now, and uncomplaining. Always a pleasant, light-hearted woman. Reminisced and the folk we forgot were recalled by Janet when she arrived with her daughter Helen. Alison Russell, George Kirk, Gillian Brown, Peter Carter, Johnnie Fitzmaurice, Adrian Coggin, Jennifer Williams – and many more. Two and a half hours of nostalgia. Dot said my mother was such a bonny girl. She said Ron was handsome and never short of women and that Walt had charisma – but my dad didn’t share their philandering “’cos he was married.” She didn’t sound convincing – after all, Walt was married too – and my father had occasionally hinted at “affairs”.

Dot also recalled seeing me involved in a fight on the waste ground by the school. Remember it well – though I never knew I was seen! Think it was Trevor (?) Midgeley who’d taken against me and it was “arranged” to meet after school, with Clive Boyes as my “second”. A tougher lad than me, Midgeley, but I seem to remember giving a reasonable account of myself. Dot said my mother was very upset to hear about it but my father said I had to learn to stick up for myself sooner or later. I never liked fighting and a tussle with Paul Silabon when I was 11 or 12 was the last time I used fists in, then, puzzled self-defence.

I guess I am perverted in a particular way. For the first time, I felt like weeping over the Gulf War. The images of oiled, perplexed cormorants swimming through the slick off the Saudi coast distressed me far more than the nightly scenes of Scuds shattering Tel Aviv, Haifa, Riyadh and Dharan. There really isn’t such a thing as an innocent human being. We’re all implicated in this war. But all other creatures… Each side blames the other for the spillage. Whoever opened the tanks …

Townscape 76 · Bland’s Cliff


Farmer, Publican, Farmer

Samuel Nesfield was born in 1811, the eldest son of Samuel GOFTON and Sarah. When his firstborn daughter Henrietta was baptised in 1836, his occupation was given as Farmer in the St Oswald’s register. Five years later, the 1841 census describes him as a Publican.  Samuel’s wife, Catharine, gave birth to four more girls and it seems likely that they were all born at The Bull Inn, Gristhorpe.


Catharine died in 1845 when youngest daughter Juliana was about 18 months old. Samuel might have been expected to find a second wife to help with the raising of his family but he chose to remain a widower – and return to farming.

In 1851 he is working 110 acres at Colton near Tadcaster. The return says he is employing no labourers but his widowed mother Sarah, 66, is his housekeeper and Henrietta, 15, is “employed at home”.

Ten years later the census names the farm as Colton Haggs where he employs 1 man and 2 boys on 108 acres. There are two farm servants living-in,  both carters, aged 18 and 19. Big boys! Two nephews, Samuel Gofton and John Henry SELLER(S), are there on census night and one is described as a farmer.  Samuel’s four daughters are still unmarried and presumably helping around the farm.

Colton Haggs is a working farm today, with Bed & Breakfast being a supplementary generator of income. The farm name on an old census return is perhaps flimsy evidence that this place was once owned by the Goftons – but there are photographs on the Internet that may be of interest.

Samuel seems to have returned to Gristhorpe to die – in 1867 aged 56. His headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard also remembers Catherine but does not tell us that they are “Reunited”. It is next to the grave of Rachel Swales, his father’s first wife.


Find Samuel Nesfield on FamilySearch Tree.

Today’s Image

After photographing The Bull Inn this morning I walked back to town along the cliffs. I have long thought of “North Cliffs” running from Carr Naze to Gristhorpe Wyke but Googling brought up Newbiggin Cliff for the ramparts heading east from the Wyke.

Remembering Rachel

She came from nowhere to marry Samuel GOFTON on 25 March 1794 at St Oswald’s Church. She gave birth to two known children, Robert in 1794 and Elizabeth in 1796, and died in 1803 aged just 32.


The verse that might have given us an insight into her character has been mostly erased by time and weather. Just the first word or two of each line remain. Make of them what you will.

‘Here lies…

One who…




We hope…

And O…

Take her…

Her birth family name is SWALES but I can’t find a record that identifies her parents or her village of origin. A “Rachiel” Swales was born to “Robart” in Whenby in 1769. This is close in time – a two-year discrepancy if the monumental inscription is correct – and in space. Whenby, population about 130 at the beginning of the 19th century, is 40 miles west of Filey, a few miles beyond Malton.

Her marriage and the baptisms of her children generated places on the FamilySearch Tree for the family she created – but disconnected from Samuel’s second wife and the eight known children he had with Sarah GLAVES. I have brought them together.

I don’t know if Rachel’s children made it out of childhood. I suspect neither did because Samuel and Sarah named their fifth child Robert and their last Elizabeth.


John KILLINGBECK was baptized this day 1813 in Carlton by Snaith. He was the sixth child of Thomas and Leah née BRITAIN and the paternal line for several generations seems to have stayed within a small area south of Selby containing the hamlets and villages of Birkin, Camblesforth, Cawood, Drax, and Ryther.

By the age of 24 though, John had forsaken his Killingbeck heartland,  marrying Jane GOFTON in Filey and raising four children. Ellen, the twin of their youngest, George, survived for just a month, a loss that may have prompted them to move further up the coast for a while. At the 1851 census, John was working as a brickmaker in Whitby. Ten years later the parents were back in Filey but living alone at 19 Church Street. Their daughter Nancy had died in 1856 and the boys, Robert and George had gone to London to seek their fortunes. (I’m not sure yet what happened to firstborn Elizabeth.)

In 1871 John and Jane were living in Chapel Street, Filey. In 1881 Jane was a widow of 65 giving her occupation as ’needlewoman’. The enumerator would find her living alone at No.3 Chapel Street at the next two censuses.

John was killed by an express train on 31st March 1880, while crossing the railway line in Filey.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother report describes John as a “hale and hearty man” and said he was going over an occupation crossing. There is at least one of those in the town still but where John met his end there is now a metal fence, six feet or so high and spiked, with a warning that trespass will bring a £1,000 fine. I think “Victoria Gardens” may refer to the area of land now occupied by allotments and imagine John may have been heading home after doing some gardening. Today, that route would take him past Carlton Road. Whether or not that short street of houses existed back then it is a coincidence of sorts – the only benign one I can offer.


On the 21st May 1881, the Scarborough Mercury reported a “Sad Occurrence”.

On Thursday, the 12 inst., a telegram was received at Filey, stating that Mr. Robert Killingbeck, son of Mr. John Killingbeck, who was killed on the railway a little over a year ago in Filey, had committed suicide by cutting his throat. His friends know of no reason prompting him to commit the rash act.

Robert left behind, in Kensington, London, a wife and three children aged 11, 7 and three. I was sure I’d find a newspaper report of his suicide but several combinations of search terms yielded nothing – until this appeared:-


(In the original  paper these two snippets were not juxtaposed.)


In September 1905, about two months before her 90th birthday, Jane KILLINGBECK stepped off the pavement in Mitford Street was knocked down by a horse-drawn cart. She died the following day from shock and concussion to the brain. The coroner recorded her death as accidental; no blame was attached to the cartman, Thomas Edward STEVENSON – not the Charles Edward SIMPSON of the following report.


The reference to “the level crossing at Filey” is misleading if it calls to mind the present day Muston Road crossing. The 1880 reports clearly state that John was killed a quarter of a mile from the Station.

Another newspaper report records the fact that Jane was taken after the accident to her son George’s house in Station Road. The wanderer had returned and was with his mother when she died. A small mercy.


John and Jane’s headstone has lost some of the inscription. Here is the Crimlisk’s attempt from the 1970s:-

In Affectionate Remembrance of JOHN KILLINGBECK who was killed

by an express train at Filey March the 31st 1880 aged 68 years

(eroded section)

who died        1902  aged 89 years.

Jane’s date of death should be 19th September 1905. She was buried on the 22nd.

The KILLINGBECKs of the West Riding have an extensive pedigree on FST going back to the 16th century, while Kath’s FG&C brings the family into the Twentieth.