Yesterday was the anniversary of the baptism of William APPLEBY in 1841. There are about a hundred Applebys in Filey Genealogy & Connections and William, son of James and Ann née TAYLOR, is one of six born in Hunmanby. When I began to round up his siblings on the FamilySearch Tree I hoped to connect them to the “Filey Applebys” but found instead that all seem to have steered clear of this place. I was happy to put in the work, though, because the family took me to a place I knew as a child.

William’s father was a corn miller and the birthplaces of his ten children marked his life journey. Second-born Mary Elizabeth in Buckton, the next four in Mappleton, Emma and Eliza in Skirlaugh and the last two in Patrington.

My parents married in the summer of 1940 and when the war was over they lived for a while in a caravan at Woodmansey, near Beverley. Some years after they acquired a proper roof over their heads (and mine) the caravan was transported to Mill Farm, Mappleton. There must have been twenty or more other caravans of unconventional design and construction there, with “regulars” and ephemerals minding their own business or gathering on fine evenings for games of cricket or rounders on the field or down on the beach. I struggle now to remember what happened yesterday but chasing after Applebys brought back so many vivid and happy memories of my summers between the ages of five and twelve.


I remember wandering around All Saints churchyard at dusk and perhaps walked by the grave of Ellen Appleby, who had died 98 years, almost to the day, before I was born.

Ten children equal lots of merging on FST and I didn’t manage to make this Appleby family presentable yesterday. I have not married off any of the children yet, nor “killed off” their parents. There are 22 Filey-born Applebys in FG&C and I expect James the Miller will be related to some of them.

A James Appleby, born in Hunmanby about the same time as “anniversary” William, traded as a Tobacconist in Filey for over twenty years but if the family name is remembered today it will most likely be linked to Appleby’s Farm, where George COLLEY’s horses were stabled. They hauled the cobles down to the waves and back to the landing with their catch. The farm was situated where the Providence Place houses and flats are now.


Photographed this morning.


The Battle of Flamborough Head

The Wikipedia account of this significant naval engagement, watched by citizens of Filey from their clifftops, is compelling, balanced and, I think, reliable.

I noticed this: –

Boats from both Serapis and Alliance were used to begin the evacuation of Bonhomme Richard’s crew. One or two of these boats went missing during the night, as ex-captive British crewmen took the opportunity to go home…

The author of the article offers the York Courant as a source for this observation. On the 24th September, Thomas BERRY deposed before H Osbaldeston, JP…

…That Jones called to the Alliance for assistance, who came and gave the 40 gun ship a Broadside, which being badly disabled, struck: That Jones’s Officers called for the Alliance to hoist out their boats, as their ship [was] sinking, in one of which deponent and six other … made their escape to Filay [sic].

This story is just about alive today when the Battle is discussed by anyone interested in the area’s history but it is usually accepted that the escaping prisoners came ashore at Butcher Haven and then made their way up moonlit paths to Hunmanby. They were challenged in the village, arrested and questioned. It seems reasonable, given the conflagration off the coast, that “the law” represented by Osbaldeston should arrange an emergency court session the day after the battle.

I don’t have any night photos of Butcher Haven, sorry! It is said the place was so named after the butchery on the bay. I don’t think there is an agreed casualty total but it is easy enough to imagine decks awash with blood.


The two top sea dogs in the fight were very different characters. One couldn’t imagine Richard Pearson catching the attention of Catherine the Great, or being accused of murder and rape. The Englishman was, though, court-marshaled after his surrender to the mercenary but exoneration and a knighthood followed. He had, after all, saved the convoy and millions of merchant pounds. He went on to have a steady, honorable career and died aged 73 in 1805. The multi-faceted John Paul – pirate, traitor, slaver, blackguard, hero, Father of the American Navy – had died alone in Paris 13 years earlier aged just 45.

Who has won the battle of ancestors and descendants on FamilySearch Tree? Follow the charisma. But that is a quality in a man that tends to dazzle and the several subsequent generations supposedly carrying his genetic inheritance sprang from a son, David, sired when the future Russian Admiral was only a year old.

The commander of Serapis doesn’t even have a wife on FST or a paternal grandfather. Filey Genealogy & Connections offers more. Kath has somehow located six sons and four daughters of Richard and Margaret Harrison and there are some interesting characters among his descendants. His second great-granddaughter Maria Pearson GREAVES was born in Burdwan, Bengal in 1864  and about eighteen months later her brother was born “off the Western coast of Africa”. Sir Richard’s youngest son, Jackson, was a prisoner during the Napoleonic Wars. One source has him dying in prison at Verdun in 1807, another that he was still a prisoner there three years later.  So much to look into – and not a one-year-old father of anything or anyone in sight.

The Doctor’s Daughter

Elizabeth Mary PRITCHARD was born this day 1860 in East Kirk Parish, Edinburgh. She had five older siblings who had entered the world in Hunmanby or Filey. One sister, Zillah Catherine, hadn’t survived infancy but at the 1861 census, four of the children were with their parents in Berkeley Terrace, Glasgow while the eldest girl Jane Frances, age 9, was at the home of her maternal grandparents in Newington, Midlothian. Michael Taylor was a silk merchant and judging from Google Street View owning a property in Minto Street today shows that you are “comfortable”.

Edward William PRITCHARD informed the enumerator in 1861 that he was an “MD University of Erlangen (General Practitioner)”. As a young man he had acquitted himself well as a navy doctor but after winning the hand of Mary Jane TAYLOR while serving on HMS Hecate he decided to resign his commission and enter general practice. His qualification from Erlangen was purchased rather than earned but it must have impressed the folk at the Bridlington Union because he was employed as the medical officer to the No. 3 District based at Hunmanby. The family lived there for some years but later moved to Rutland Street, Filey. A Glasgow Morning Journal report in July 1865 had this to say about the bad doctor:-

Those who knew Dr Pritchard in Filey say that he left that place with an indifferent reputation – that he was fluent, plausible, licentious, politely impudent and singularly untruthful. With regard to the last named characteristic, one who knew him intimately states that he was “the prettiest liar” he had ever known. In Filey as well as Hunmanby his lascivious disposition, manifested in some disgraceful amours, as well as his untruthfulness, became so notorious that all confidence in him as a professional man was destroyed. It may, therefore, be supposed that when he left Filey in 1859 it was because Yorkshire was too hot to hold him.

Glasgow society soon realized that “a perfect Baron Munchausen” had appeared in their midst. When the Pritchard’s servant girl died in a bedroom fire at their house he came under suspicion. Sometime later, on the 21st March 1865, gossip flew that “a medical gentleman belonging to Glasgow” had been apprehended following the death of his wife by poisoning and Dr Pritchard’s name was common currency before he was formally charged. Investigations proved that he had killed his mother-in-law too. He was tried and the day after his youngest daughter Elizabeth Mary turned five he was hanged in Glasgow, watched by 100,000 people according to one estimate.

What became of the murderer’s children? Horatio Michael married Amelia Rebecca MILLMAN in 1887 and they had at least one child, Violet Eola Robertson who married Edward Atherstone WALMISLEY in 1912. William Kenneth married Gertrude Hannah CREESER in 1904. But Jane Frances, Charles Edward and birthday girl Elizabeth Mary seem to have kept the lowest of profiles.

Filey Genealogy & Connections can give you a substantial cast of PRITCHARD characters – and Kath supplies several notes relating to the Doctor’s crimes but, as I write this the Search engine is playing silly beggars so I can’t give a link.  On FamilySearch Tree the Pritchard clan is all over the place. Here is Elizabeth Mary on FST:-


The last four lines of  A Lament for Dr Pritchard’s Children:-

Oh think of his orphans you kind hearted people,

And I hope there is none that so heartless will be,

As point with the finger of scorn towards them,

And say that their father he died on a tree.


And here is Elizabeth Mary sitting on her mother’s knee in the Cramb Brothers studio portrait of the doctor and his family, Glasgow 1861.



Kath’s database in FamilySearch’s Genealogies has “Connections” in its title as a simple way of defusing objections such as, “What have all these Cumberland folk got to do with Filey?”  For the most part they are Kath’s forebears. Fair enough?

Today’s list of “milestones” included the death of Samuel WILBERFORCE in 1873. Could this be the fellow who was bitten by Darwin’s bulldog, Thomas HUXLEY? It sure could.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has 29 members of the WILBERFORCE family. At school in Hull I was in Wilberforce House and although I didn’t bring glory to it with my lack of sporting or any other form of prowess, I was proud to be associated with William the Great Abolitionist in this random way. A Filey connection never occurred to me then or since.

Samuel_Wilberforce,_Vanity_Fair,_1869-07-24“Soapy Sam” was William’s fifth child. This Vanity Fair illustration (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) shows him in his mid-sixties, about four years before his death in Abinger, Surrey (FG&C), “near Leatherhead” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). It is difficult to imagine him on a beach.

If you look at William’s pedigree on FamilySearch (ID  LC7P-XGZ) you will catch the scent of the salt sea in the marriage place of  Sam’s older brother Robert Isaac – Bridlington. Hover over his spouse’s truncated name “Agnes Everilda Frances W…” and a well known local name is revealed – she is a Hunmanby WRANGHAM. On FamilySearch the Wrangham line only stretches to Agnes’ father Francis and mother Agnes (no Maiden Name). Kath takes us further back. Mother Agnes is the daughter of a Colonel Ralph CREYKE and Jane LANGLEY. Father Francis is the son of George WRANGHAM and Anne FALLOWFIELD.

A sad note on FG & C for Frances Everilda Agnes (yes the first and third given names are transposed) states “her mother died after giving birth to her (apparently) and she died within a short time of giving birth to Edward.”