Scottow · Scotter

Mark SCOTTOW was baptized this day, 1854, in Runton, Norfolk. In August 1917 Mark SCOTTER was “killed by enemy submarine”.


The origins of surnames are often fancifully explained on websites that hope to sell you parchments but I found one today that suggested SCOTTOW derived from a village of that name in Mark’s birth county. It also pointed out that there was a village in Lincolnshire called SCOTTER.

Ancestry has re-designed the surname distribution maps it freely provides online.


Taken at face value, this map shows a Norfolk heartland and zero Scotters in Lincolnshire, so if one accepts the morphing of Mark’s surname in his lifetime, the Scottow theory looks good.

Mark was part of the Norfolk Scottow/Scotter diaspora to the Yorkshire coast and the above map doesn’t register the seven Scotter families in Filey in 1891. If you read the small print, though, you will see that Yorkshire has 42% of Scotter families in England and Wales in that census year. We need a more accurate map.

SCOTTOW is ranked =206 in Filey surnames with 23 males and 6 females.

SCOTTER is ranked =25 with 93 males and 85 females.

These are “unique individuals” in Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database, not people counted several times in census returns.

I counted the birth registrations in the districts containing Scottow, Norfolk and Scotter, Lincolnshire in three decades, 1851-60, 1871-80 and 1901-1910, and in Scarborough Registration District.

There were no Scottows or Scotters registered in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire over those 30 years.

Thirteen Scottow births were registered in Erpingham, Norfolk in the first decade and none in the last.  There was one Scottow birth in Scarborough between 1851 and 1860 and three in the last decade.

For Scotter the count for the three decades in Erpingham was 5, 8 and 4.

For Scarborough, it was 4, 23 and 22.

This is a rather sketchy statistical analysis but it seems to confirm the growing acceptance of Scotter over the “original” Scottow – and the migration of Norfolk fisher families to the Yorkshire coast.

In 2011, David Scotter wrote three articles about the diaspora for Looking at Filey. You can learn more about Mark here.

Mark on FST.

Mark & ‘Susie’

The funeral of Mark SCOTTER took place in Filey a hundred years ago today. He had been shot and killed four days earlier by someone aboard the U boat that had intercepted the Government requisitioned ‘trawler’ Susie, 10 miles north-east by east of Scarborough. Susie was sunk by scuttling charges after her crew had put their skipper’s body in the yawl’s coble. The Filey men were picked up by the steam drifter Lord Kitchener and brought safely to Scarborough.

The Scarborough Mercury gave an account of the funeral:-

Filey: Events of the Week

Events of the week have been many – some of a kind not wanted. The death of Mr. Mark Scotter came as a blow to the community. He was a man highly respected, and sympathy was expressed on all hands. For many years he had been identified with the Primitive Methodist Church at Filey, and at one time was a Sunday School teacher. The funeral of deceased, on Tuesday afternoon, was very largely attended. Fellow fishermen carried the coffin, and the Vicar (Canon Cooper), the Rev. G. P. Maynard and Rev. G. A. Morgan (Primitive Methodist Ministers) officiated, a service being held at the Parish Church. Amongst those in attendance were several people from Scarborough, including a representative from the Missions to Seamen Institute, the Harbour Master (Captain Cass Smith), Mr. and Mrs. Fred Harrison, Mr. T. Whitehead, Mr. Geo. Sheader, Mr. Alf Sellers, Mr. Spouse Sheader, and Mr. T. Normandale. Mrs. Cooper, wife of the Vicar, presided at the organ, and the hymn “O God our help in ages past” was sung, and at the graveside the hymn “I have anchored my soul.”

A large number of floral emblems were received from the children, and grandchildren, the members of the Filey Coble Club (“With loving sympathy”); Mrs. A. Scotter and Mrs. R. Douglas; George Mainprize and family; Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Haxby; “With deepest sympathy and ever-loving remembrance from the members of the crew”; “With deepest sympathy from his class mates, Primitive Methodist Church – ‘We shall meet again’ ”; Mr. and Mrs. R. F. Scotter; “With deepest sympathy from the teachers and scholars of the Filey Primitive Methodist Sunday School ‘Anchored safe with Jesus’ “; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Harrison, Scarborough; E. Hill, Simla Lodge, Hunmanby; and Mr. and Mrs. Priestman. Another wreath from Mr A. V. Machin bore the inscription: “For Mark Scotter – A token of sincere regret – In grateful remembrance of one of the best of our brave fishermen who risk their lives to obtain food for their fellow countrymen – With true sorrow from Arthur V. Machin.” Immediately after the funeral, a rocket went off calling out the lifeboat to proceed to a vessel at sea.



I have created a page for Mark on the LaF Wiki which gives links to blog posts, the CWGC and his two ‘trees’ at FamilySearch.