Another Killer Gale


John William was buried just four days after his death, so he must have been almost home. The Register of Deceased Passengers held at The National Archives and available to view online via Find My Past gives the name of the ship and its approximate location when John expired.

Marcotis was almost certainly bound for its home port and 51º10’ N, 6º 40 W places her in the Irish Sea, south-west of the Pembrokeshire coast and about 280 miles from Liverpool. Innocuous as degrees and minutes, the coordinates are fiendish when converted to decimals.


The inscription on John’s red granite memorial in St Oswald’s churchyard tells us he “died in a gale at sea”, a description that paints a fuzzy, uncertain, picture of his final moments. The Register provides shocking clarity, giving the cause of death as “Hemorrhage of the Lungs”.


John’s grave is just a few yards from that of his older brother, Edwin, after whom the southernmost Filey Ravine is named. The 1881 Census reveals that Edwin, age 32, was a “Woollen Manufacturer of Martins Sons Employing 930 people”. Ten years later he has passed the running of the factory to John. Perhaps it was too great a burden for the younger brother.

In 1881 John had married Lily, daughter of Benjamin HANSON, another Huddersfield Woollen Manufacturer, employing 372 hands in 1871. John and Lily had two children, Kenneth born 1883 and Gwynneth  Adrienne in 1888. After her husband’s death, Lily moved with the children to Eastbourne on the south coast. In 1911 Gwynneth remained single but Kenneth, 29, “Company Director, Financial Corporation (Private Means)”, was married to Clarisse Lillian nee MELLIER and they had two boys, Patrick Kenneth and Jack Mellier.

For all their wealth and social standing, the Martins were poorly represented on FST. I put in a shift today but there is a lot more still to do.

Much Appreciated

Today’s image of Filey Sands was taken from the Promenade atop the “old” sea-wall between the slipway and Bridge Hole. The “new” sea wall, beyond the slipway (to the south) carries the paddling pool and Royal Parade promenade. You should be able to get your bearings in the LaFRedux header image.

In the 1880s a sea-wall was considered essential if Filey wasn’t to become “another Dunwich”. A prime mover in the fight to have the structure built was Edwin MARTIN who had earlier made his Ravine Hall estate safe with wooden barriers. It took the collapse of the Harbour of Refuge scheme to concentrate the minds that, around 1885, began to plan and push for a concrete sea-wall. It would be seven years before preparatory work began and another six months before the first block was laid – in a ceremony that I wrote about in Looking at Filey, 29 March 2011. (As I write this the UK Web Archive cannot be reached. I’ll update this post with the link as soon as I can retrieve it.)

Building a sea-wall is clearly a man’s job but two women would play prominent roles in the endeavour. Mary Elizabeth LIDDELL (Mrs Edwin Martin) took centre stage in the stone laying ceremony and Adeline Mary PYM, throughout the construction, worked tirelessly to keep the navvies out of mischief. This from the Scarborough Post, 25th May 1894:-

As the work of the Sea Wall is drawing to a close the number of navvies is rapidly decreasing, Mr. Dixon is paying them off week by week, and they are wandering away to new works. Without exception they are unanimous in their appreciation of the kindness shown them by Filonians, and Miss Adeline Pym in particular. She has been the mainspring of the Navvy Mission work during the whole term of their engagement.

PYMadelinemaryAbt1893Adeline Mary [LZJV-BWC], born in Washington, County Durham in 1862, was the fifth child of Edward Gambier PYM [LZJV-1N6], a Clerk in Holy Orders. The family is well represented on the FamilySearch Tree and if you have opened your free account put either of the personal IDs into the Family Tree Search Box to trace their lines back to the 16th century. Without an account you can search and find a number of record sources but not have access to the pedigree. What are you waiting for?

The photograph of Adeline Mary appeared in the Sea-Wall Opening Souvenir Booklet, in which photo credits were given to Alex McCALLUM, Walter FISHER and J. H. DICKSON.

Tomorrow it will be the anniversary of the opening of the Sea-Wall and Promenade and waiting in this blog’s wings is Marmaduke Francis CONSTABLE-MAXWELL.