Lunatics at Large

On the 7th August 1880, the unfortunate George MARTIN appeared before the Bridlington Petty Sessions. This insignificant event passed me by on Tuesday so I made a note to update the story next year. This morning the Radio Five Live breakfast news informed me that “America” was intending to impose more sanctions on Russia for poisoning the Skripals. And yesterday several social media companies in the vicinity of San Francisco wiped Alex Jones’ Info Wars from their platforms. News of other hideous events appeared during the day. They all seemed to be connected.

I wrote a brief post about poor George in Looking at Filey a few years ago. Here is the syndicated news report that also appeared in The Scarborough Mercury.

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I added the following comment:-

The only likely young George MARTIN I could find was George J., aged 20 in 1881, a jet worker living with his widowed aunt at Pier, Whitby (RG114834 f95). I hope this was the wanderer because the record suggests he had three things going for him – a roof over his head, a wage coming in and family to care for him – enough to keep the demons at bay, perhaps. I wonder what became of him.

With access to more sources, I looked again and found evidence to support my hunch. Two months earlier a Whitby jet worker of the same name had appeared before a Scarborough court.

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I think there is just enough here to proceed on the assumption that these disturbed Georges are one and the same – and that he was with his Aunt in Whitby when the census enumerator came to call the following year.

I did some more detective work but failed to discover what became of George. I found out, though, that tragedy attended his birth. He was just a few days old, at most a month or so, when a terrific storm hit the northeast coast of England. Many vessels were driven on shore and wrecked. A lot of sailors lost their lives. The Whitby lifeboat went out at least five times and rescued a number of men before a particularly nasty combination of waves, rebounding from the stricken vessel Merchant of Maldon, turned the lifeboat over. Only one of the crew survived. Of the twelve that drowned…

Six of the bodies, viz., Isaac Dobson, Matthew Laidley, Wm. Walker, Wm, Storr, Wm. Tyneman, and George Martin, were recovered on the same day. The majority of these twelve men had saved the crews of five vessels that day; and these brave fellows, especially the Storrs and the Laidleys, had on many occasions within the last twenty years heroically and devotedly risked their lives for the preservation of others; and it mattered not how tempestuous the storm, or how heavy the sea, if they saw their fellow creatures in imminent danger, they would make intrepid and strenuous exertions to save them.

This Yorkshire Gazette account of 16 February notes those left behind included “Geo. Martin, aged 25, wife and infant”, and says, “It may also be remarked that George Martin’s brother and Christopher Collins’s brother were drowned by the upsetting of a coble on February 4th, 1842.”

When the 1861 Census was taken a few weeks later, on the 7th of April, infant George James was with his mother Jane at the home in Cragg, Whitby, of her older sister Ann, and husband Mark WINN. Ten years later Jane and George were enumerated at Pier, Whitby. And, as noted earlier, in 1881 widow Ann Winn, aged 60, is recorded at Pier with George James and niece Ellen NORTON, aged 12. Sources indicate that Jane had remarried and was living nearby, at Cragg, with husband William LEWIS and 24-year-old stepson, Henry – a police constable! (You couldn’t make it up.)

The WILTON girls, Ann and Jane, can be found on FamilySearch Tree, and Mark WINN too, but they are as yet “unconnected”. I couldn’t find the Georges Martin but they may be on the World Tree somewhere.

The bravery of those Whitby fishermen and sailors, who risked their lives to save others, is in marked contrast to the behavior of “men” nowadays. A couple of news reports today say a Saudi led airstrike on Yemen has killed fifty people, most of them children in a school bus, and a report just released tells us that monks and teachers at Ampleforth and Downside schools have been sexually abusing children for over 40 years.

It seems unlikely that America will impose sanctions on the Saudis for slaughtering innocents. Perhaps it will be argued that International Law hasn’t been broken.

Unless I have missed something, there has been no evidence presented yet to prove that Russia tried to kill the Skripals with Novichok. The regimes in the United States, UK, some EU countries, Arab States, Israel – lunatics all and, terrifyingly, at large. (Many of their misdeeds are, of course, not reported at all.)

Another Killer Gale

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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.

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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”.

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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.