Remembering Henry Perryman

One of twenty children born to William John and Agnes Ann in 1883, Henry didn’t get to know six or seven of his older siblings. They had already departed for the next world. The lost ones were replaced and in 1891 there were six Perryman children at home in North Street, Filey. Edward, 16, was the eldest and Henry, 7, the youngest. An older sister, Agnes, had died the previous year aged 20. Mary and Albert had not reached their first birthdays when they passed over in 1885 and 1887.

Henry married a shepherd’s daughter in 1911. Mary Ellen PATTISON, raised at the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, brought her first two children into the world in Nottingham, where Henry had found work as a fireman.

Shortly after war was declared in August 1914, Henry enlisted with the Sherwood Foresters (The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). In the late summer of 1915 he was with the 1/7th Battalion in the area around Hooge and would become one of 50,000 British casualties in the Battle of Loos, fought between 25 September and 16 October. Wounded in combat, he died on 5 October.

The memorial in Filey St Oswald’s gives him the rank of Corporal but his headstone in Vermelles Britsh Cemetery, and most official sources, show him as a Private (Service Number: 2285). He is also remembered at the Filey Memorial in Murray Street. His adoptive city, Nottingham, is more fulsome in its remembrance than the town of his birth. His name appears on the Nottingham Police Force Memorial and on a memorial board saved from the demolished Holy Trinity Church. Nottinghamshire County Council’s Roll of Honour website also generously offers a Personal Profile of Henry compiled by Jim Grundy.

I have put Henry and sixteen of his siblings on the FamilySearch Shared Tree. An older brother, Frank, has a baptism record but I have yet to find sources for his birth and death. Children 19 and 20 remain a mystery.

Mark of Man 76 · Memorial Gardens

Egyptian Variant

A vulture, not seen in this country for over 150 years, reminded me of a nightjar from the same neck of the desert, shot by Albert Charles SPINKS in 1883.

I didn’t need much reminding – I read the story while having my breakfast a couple of days ago.

Egyptian Nightjar, Caprimulgus aegyptus. This pale desert nightjar has been recorded just twice in Britain. The second occasion was in 1984, but to the first attaches an entertaining story. A Nottinghamshire gamekeeper, Albert Spinks, flushed a bird from its resting spot while he was shooting rabbits and, thinking it looked unusual, brought it down with his second barrel. A day later when it started to smell he threw it on to the ashpit near his cottage, only for his ornithologist employer, J. Whitaker, to notice and retrieve the skin. Whitaker sent it to his taxidermist and subsequently had its identity confirmed as an Egyptian nightjar, then he honoured ‘his’ find by erecting a monument at the site of discovery (Thieves Wood near Mansfield). The inscription, in which the largest letters spell his own name, was intended to read: ‘This stone was placed here by J. Whitaker, of Rainworth Lodge, to mark the spot where the first British specimen of the Egyptian Nightjar was shot by A. Spinks, on June 23rd, 1883, this is only the second occurrence of this bird in Europe.’ In fact ‘occurrence’ was misspelt and the date appears to have been wrongly given as 1882.

The stone is significant as probably the only memorial raised to an individual wild bird in Britain for more than a century (see Great Auk, page 254). Whitaker’s mounted skin of the bird is now in Mansfield Museum, but his stone was recently replaced by a simple concrete post with only a nightjar etching and the date, which now forms part of a nature trail through Thieves Wood.

Birds Britannica, Mark Cocker & Richard Mabey

There is a photograph of the concrete post on Joseph WHITAKER’s Wikipedia page.

Albert’s claim to infamy isn’t obvious on the FamilySearch Tree and his employer, who didn’t have to work for a living, only has one ancestor – his father Joseph.

Looking for Whitaker descendants offers an example of good sources leading to unbelievable outcomes.

One source attached to the tree places the marriage of Joseph and Mary EDISON (sic) in Mansfield, in the Second Quarter of 1872.

A second source is even more helpful in recording the ceremony at Blidworth on 16 April 1872 and informing us that the bride was the “only surviving daughter of the late Booth Eddison, surgeon of Nottingham”. Booth is represented on the Shared Tree but is not yet married to Eliza ELLIS, with whom he had three daughters and one son, Alfred. Two of his girls were with him when he died on 7 March 1859 in Funchal on the island of Madeira. The more benign climate there was no match for tuberculosis. If one of the daughters at his deathbed was firstborn Sarah Anne, she would die in Mansfield just a few months later, aged 19. Alfred died in Penzance in 1861 aged 16 and middle daughter Margaret in Nottingham in 1866, aged 22.

The middle name of the first child born to ornithologist Joseph and Mary Eddison came from his grandmother Mary RANDALL. His birth in Blidworth in 1875 was registered in Mansfield. In April 1911 he is with his widowed father at Rainworth Lodge (near Thieves Wood) and before the year is out he has married Selina READ in Curling, Newfoundland. A whirlwind romance?

Booth Eddison seems to have been a remarkable doctor. If you want to discover more about his short life, start here and follow the offered links.There is a likeness of him here and lot of information about his forebears here.

But don’t forget the poor Egyptian Nightjar.

Path 140 · Nuns Walk

Annie o’ the Brigg

On the 23rd January 1894, a gale blew a Filey coble into danger in the Bay. The three occupants were rescued by Matt JENKINSON’s yawl. With this minimal information from a note on Filey Genealogy & Connections, I hoped to fashion a brief post.

In the 19th century there were more people with this family name than any other and among them were several candidates for the owner of the life-saving fishing boat. Captain Sydney  SMITH’s database offered Matthews who owned cobles, herring cobles, and luggers but only one had a yawl, George Peabody, in partnership with the Roberts JENKINSON (senior and junior) and Charles REYNOLDS, a Hunmanby grocer. But that vessel was bought in the mid-1860s,  when “Brazzy” JENKINSON, one of my possibles for 1894, was only 16-years-old. Checking on various branches of the Filey Jenkinson tree took up most of the day and I failed to make a sure connection. So, no post.

I had only one photograph on file for Today’s Image and, by chance, yesterday’s research efforts provided a human story to go with it.

One of two Matthew Jenknsons born in 1832 had a 13 –year-old servant in 1871, Annie Jane PROCTOR. She was the niece of his first wife, Mary Jane Proctor, who had died seven years earlier. In 1873 Annie Jane earned extra money in the summer guiding visitors to the caves and pools at the back of Filey Brigg. The season was nearing its end when the PAGETs of Ruddington Grange, near Nottingham, came to Filey for a couple of weeks. Charles Paget, once a Member of Parliament, was 74 years old but still fit enough to negotiate the rocky shelves on the northern side of the Brigg. It wasn’t much more than an hour to low tide but it would appear from the story that has come down to us that Annie had a sixth sense of danger and urged her employers to return to a place of greater safety than a ledge near the Emperor’s Pool. Mr. Paget wanted to stay a little longer and was soon swept into the sea by a rogue wave, with his wife and sister-in-law. Annie managed to grab hold of Miss TEBBUTT, saving her life, but the Pagets were lost. There is an account of the tragedy here. Annie was misrepresented as “Emma Proctor” in every newspaper account I have found, and I have been unable to find any reports of her being thanked, let alone rewarded, for saving Miss Tebbutt.

The Paget family did pay for a stone pillar to be made by monumental mason William DOVE of Scarborough, bearing a warning to visitors. It stood near Agony Point for many years, on the south side of the Brigg, before suddenly disappearing. The inscription was later found and can be seen in the garden of Filey Museum.

Charles PAGET is on FamilySearch Tree but there are more of his children and forebears here. Stuffynwood offers a short biography.

Annie o’ the Brigg is not on FST but you will find her with husband Frederick and twelve children on FG&C.

Have another look at Today’s Image – the “Emperor’s Bath” is in the doodle beyond the foreground tide pool.

A Sign of the Times

On my afternoon stroll today I was surprised to see a couple of sinister-looking ships in the bay. My pocket camera did its best to shoot them…



Two people walking their dogs on the beach told me the vessels were NATO warships. A friend at Flat Cliffs had clocked them already. When I got home Ship AIS confirmed they were part of a NATO force. A900 flies a Dutch flag and M31 the Royal Ensign. The latter ship is HMS Cattistock, a minesweeper, and appears to be Baltic-bound for three jolly months rattling the Russian bear’s cage. Let us hope she gets up to nothing more annoying than that. Sadly, the west seems to want a big profitable war and may find an excuse anytime soon.

A Sherwood Forester

Henry PERRYMAN was born in Filey in 1883 to William John, of Irish and Alice GIBSON, a Folkton girl. The couple brought 19 other children into the world but when William John filled out the 1911 Census form, as a 65-year-old widower, he indicated that only eight were still living. Four years later there would be seven..

At age 17 Henry was working as a house painter for his father but in 1911, still single, he was a “Police Fireman”, boarding at 1 Guild Hall Cottages in the city of Nottingham. A few days after the Census he married Mary Ellen PATTISON, 25, whose roots were in Swaledale, North Yorkshire. The couple had two children before the Great War started, Sydney in 1912 and Barbara the following year.

Henry had enlisted with the Territorials in Filey in 1908 so it is not surprising that he volunteered for the army within a month of the war beginning. He joined the 7th Sherwood Foresters and in February 1915 landed with his battalion in France. The following month an article in The Nottingham Evening Post, with the title Robin Hoods Under Fire – Will Make a Name for Themselves, prompted him to write a letter to the Editor.

Just a few lines to let the Nottingham people know how the Robin Hoods fared in their first experience of being in the trenches under fire. We left Bocking, Essex, on February 25th, and arrived France on the 28th. At some places we were only 80 yards from the German lines. It was quite exciting, the English, French, and German guns going all day and night long. It reminds one of a fireworks display, especially when the rockets go up every now and then to find out the different positions at night time; only you have to be very careful. I have heard it said the Germans can’t shoot, but you must not expose yourself in the daytime. We only lost one poor fellow by accident and two wounded by the enemy so didn’t do amiss. We are enjoying ourselves as well as we can, and our officers do everything in their power to make us as comfortable as possible. We don’t stay long in one place, always on I the move, not much time for letter writing. You can take it from a good source that the Robin Hoods will make a name for themselves before they come back to England.”


In early October 1915, Henry and his fellow Robin Hoods were part of the 18th Brigade in the trenches at Potijze, near Ieper.

The battalion advance post known as Oder Houses was rushed by the enemy about 6.30 in the morning’ (on 5 October). The Germans at first opened a heavy artillery and trench motor fire on Oder Houses, and on the main fire-trenches occupied by ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies in rear of the post. The front trench and two cottages in the rear were flattened out by the enemy’s artillery, and what remained of the garrison withdrew down the communication trenches towards the main line. Captain Robert, commanding ‘B’ Company, from which the garrison of the post was drawn, arranged for a counter-attack up the two communication trenches leading to the post, while the so-called ‘Toby’ Motors were laid on the front of the post. A patrol was first sent forward to ascertain the exact position of the enemy, but these, on seeing the advance of the patrol, at once retreated and the post was reoccupied. The casualties were rather severe, ‘B’ Company having 11 killed, 19 wounded -mostly by shell fire- 1 man missing, believed killed, and 1 wounded and missing, believed captured.

Source: The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War compiled by Colonel. H. C. Wylly, C.B. pages 114 & 115. Gale & Polden Aldershot 1924, extract found here.

This source shows that Henry was one of eighteen Foresters who died of their wounds on this day. He is buried at Vermelles British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais.

If you followed the link to Henry’s letter you will have seen that he is remembered on the Nottingham Holy Trinity Church and Police Force War Memorials as well as on the CWGC website. In Filey, his name is on the Murray Street Memorial and in St Oswald’s Church (where he has been given a promotion to Corporal).

As I write this, he is not on FamilySearch Tree and his pedigree on Filey Genealogy and Connections appears limited at first glance. His older sister Carrie’s marriage connects him to the wider “Filey family”. I hope to link him on FST to those forebears already there (scattered) and perhaps add some more,  found while researching this post. I have created a LaF Wiki page for him.

His grandparents, Henry GIBSON and Alice née BAKER, though “incomers”, are buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. I photographed their headstone this morning – and William John’s former lodging house on The Crescent.