1979 Church Farm, Ashmansworth


Is this Spring? Today at market was thoroughly pleasant, the sun’s open warmth filling the stall. It’s only apparent now how dreadful the last two months or so have been. But we’ve come through…

(This morning, mass murder in the chicken house. Kiffer took one bird last week to Southampton. The Indian women saw it hanging and seventeen were ordered at 70 pence apiece. Kiffer stretched the necks of twenty and festooned me with their fluttering corpses. I accepted my role as calmly as I could, grateful at not taking life myself). . . .

Tony’s friend brought across a Richard Jefferies book, “Wild Life in a Southern County”, for which I paid 25 pence. I’ve seen it at the Farm but felt a definite glow of pleasure in securing my own copy. Tony loaned me “Bevis” today too, a gesture that warmed me. I’ve offered him Edward Thomas’ Collected Poems in exchange…

Driving back this evening – the country green and dun. A delightful contrast to last week’s severely beautiful white. This morning’s light painted the fields and woods almost unnaturally. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been so long under ice that the landscapes today seemed artistic conventions. Driving through a gallery of Andrew Wyeths!


Most of the day has been spent following the war that the American MIC wanted so badly and now seem clueless about how to deal with it. I will have to rush through Anniversaries.

1880 Filey · Birth  Alice disappears on the Shared Tree but Kath’s note on FG&C that she is in Sculcoates in 1901 led me to the household of Herod WALKER, Alice’s brother in law. Three years later she marries Charles Edward BARKER who, in 1911, is the manager of a hat shop. They haven’t had any children in seven years of marriage. I will try to catch up with them later.

1915 Filey · Baptism  Walter was seventeen when he was baptised at St Oswald’s. Two of his older brothers had gone for soldiers and that may have influenced his decision. The brothers didn’t come home. There is an extensive roll call of Culleys on the family headstone that includes Walter’s wife Edith. I haven’t found her details yet. From memory – Annie, mother of too many sons who died young, was invited to “open” the Filey War Memorial in 1920 or 1921.

1844 Filey · Marriage  Edward and Jane have yet to be brought together on the Shared Tree. FG&C has given them two bachelor sons but I have a feeling they had some grandchildren. The search is on.

1911 Middlesbrough · Death  Margaret is the grandmother of John Alaric SHEPHERD (see 12 January Death Anniversary.)

1892 Filey · Burial Annie Elizabeth is remembered on the WARE family headstone. She married and died at the age of 27.

Sand 44 · Hunmanby Sands

He Lived in a Pigsty

While searching for stories about Robert CAMMISH, owner of the yawl Jane Elizabeth I found this affecting snippet: –


Poor lad.

The COLEMAN family presented themselves neatly in the Filey censuses of 1861 and 1871. The seemingly horrible father hailed from Suffolk and the mother from Scotland. They married in Beverley, about 25 miles or so from Filey. All seven of their children were born in Filey, in Chapel Street or on Scarborough Road. On John’s agricultural labourer’s wages, life must have been a struggle. It isn’t really a surprise that everything fell apart when the mother, Jane, died the June quarter of 1876, aged 42. And a month after James’ court appearance, his older sister Caroline died at just twenty. Their father must have been in despair.

The family fragmented. When the census was taken in 1881, Thomas, 22, was working as a general labourer in Whitby; Isaac, 16, was living in Reighton; the younger sister, Esther, was lodging in Silver Head Street, Scarborough. The undersized boy who had lived with pigs, now 15, was apprenticed in Bridlington to blacksmith Charles DOOKS. I wonder how much bigger and stronger he’d grown! About six weeks before the census was taken, James was in court again, but I’m happy to report it was a case of a biter bit.


Five shillings then equates to about £25 now.

This is the last bit of information I’ve found concerning James. Unable to find a marriage or death registration for him makes me think that he may have emigrated. But his name surfaces in the Coleman family in 1897 when Isaac named the second child he has with Ada JACKSON after his little brother. After a spell in the army, with the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Isaac married in 1894, was a “steelworker” in 1901 and a “general worker labourer” in 1911.

Isaac’s father, John, was at the wedding and “made his mark” in the parish register as a witness. Curiously, the mother’s maiden name on James Harris the Younger’s civil registration is CUSTANCE. I can’t explain this. The mother of Isaac’s other children is, as expected, JACKSON – except for a second John William, whose mother is also given as CUSTANCE. On the 1911 census form, John states that he and Ada had produced nine children in their 17 years of marriage, of whom two had died. These figures tally with the GRO Index of Births (and Deaths) – if the Custance children are included.

The Filey Colemans are present and correct in Filey Genealogy & Connections but were scattered about on the FamilySearch Tree. I made an effort today to bring them together. I have held back from connecting the father, John Harris COLEMAN, to his forebears because he is currently absent from the list of children born to Jeremiah and Sarah née HARRIS. There isn’t much doubt that he belongs there but I’m hoping “family” will check the records and add the Filey branch to the world tree.