The father of William WINSHIP (Thursday’s post) made at least one dismal life-choice in his youth.

A month later (13 July), the Halifax Guardian listed the cases that were to come before judges and jury at the Yorkshire Summer Assizes.

47. John Winship, 18, c[harged] with having, at Paull, feloniously assaulted Fanny Barchard.

On Tuesday the following week, the grand jury at the Assizes “ignored the bill” against John for the rape and so he was, I assume, allowed to return home.

He was 17 years old, not 18, and I expect all the villages dotted around the Plain of Holderness knew what he had done.  He was not driven away and stayed in the village of his birth until he married Eliza WISE in 1859. She was just nineteen. They set up home in Hull, the “big city”, and Eliza died there in 1862, possibly in childbirth. (Filey Genealogy & Connections records a daughter Emily, born 1862 in Sproatley near Hull, but I haven’t found her in the GRO Index.)

John, a fisherman, moved up the coast to Filey and on 24 July 1864 married Jane KITCHING at St Oswald’s. Two daughters were born before William. In 1871 the family was living in Church Street, Filey (and the aforementioned Emily was with them). Ten years later, Jane occupied the dwelling with her second husband, Charles BRIGHT. John had died six years earlier, aged just 42.

Shed no tears for him. What about his TWO victims? There were two girls called Fanny BARCHARD – first cousins, having the same paternal grandparents. In 1841 they were living a few miles from each other, the elder in Ellerby, the younger in Roos. At the time of the rape, one would have been 15 years old and the other fourteen. I don’t know which of the girls suffered the attentions of John Winship. The triangle made by their home villages measures about 10 miles on each side. Newspaper notices concerning the outrage offer no helpful details.

If the girls discussed the rape with each other, I imagine they were both psychologically harmed in ways that would shape their futures. It is a simplistic idea, I know, but I wondered if their approaches to marriage would indicate which one had suffered the physical assault.

Fanny the Elder was 28 years old when she married James SEAMER, a farm servant aged 30. I have not found any children.

Fanny the Younger married at 30, her husband 40 year-old widower Matthew THURLEY, a shoemaker. They appear to have been childless also.

Consequences, perhaps, but no conclusion. ( I have had a quick look for their deaths, with no success. A Fanny Seamer who died in Brighton in 1927 aged 82 is not our girl.)

Insect 24 · 5 Spot Burnet Moth

Common spotted orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsia, Burnet moth, Zygaena trifolii, Muston Cliffs

A Town Called Telford

I lived in this currently notorious place for over 25 years. It was named in honour of the Father of Civil Engineering. Thomas TELFORD was the posthumous child of a shepherd in the Scottish border country who shrugged off his unpromising start in life, made good, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

For the last twenty years or more, fathers (and grandfathers) in the town that bears the great man’s name have been grooming, drugging, raping and pimping young girls. The girls are from what used to be called “the lower orders”, have had lives that began unpromisingly, and between the ages of 10 and 15 turned horribly worse. The girls are mostly “white” and nominally Christian; the men that have abused them are mostly “brown” and from Muslim communities of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage.

I arrived in Telford about fifteen years after a cluster of declining coalfield communities had been declared a “New Town”.  In the early 80s it was still a raw and rather bleak place but by the time I left in 2008 the thousands of newly planted trees had flourished, hiding the scars left by mining and heavy industry. The communities that filled the new estates had some “issues” but always seemed peaceful to me under the Shropshire skies. (I was a census enumerator in 1981 and was invited into several houses on Brookside. They were all “little palaces”.) The New Town Commission sold the place to businesses back then as “The Growing State”, and its future looked rosy, with the influx of household-name, high tech industries.

I lived a sheltered existence in the deep south of the State and only briefly had any sort of contact with “the Asian Community”. I can’t remember how I met DD, (I maybe should be spelling this Dee Dee), but he introduced me to a group of elderly men who met each week in a community centre in Hadley. I arranged to photograph them, singly and collectively.


Every one a gentleman. (Dee Dee is the one with the smile.) I have their names written down somewhere, but can only guess at the religious affiliations of those without turbans. Not all the victims of the rape gangs have been White British. Sikhs, I think, will always face any threat to their children with courage and determination – and be willing to help anyone from other faiths, or none, to deal with their suffering in the face of this evil. Bhai Mohan Singh offers his thoughts on the scandal in this five minute YouTube video.

In the last week or so the BBC has come in for much criticism for being slow to report on Telford. The Corporation ceased to be “impartial” many years ago and is no longer the place to go for principled and accurate reporting on the important happenings in the world. Credit where it is due, though, the BBC was one of the first news organizations to become aware of the activities of the Telford “grooming gangs”. I don’t think the license-payers have been told yet, truthfully, why they swept the intelligence under the carpet.


The Common Senseguy will tell you more, but note the date stamp and “40 children”. Eight years on, over a thousand young girls are thought to have been raped and trafficked.

Returning to Telford the Man. He didn’t marry, doesn’t appear to have had brothers or sisters, and very little about his ancestors has found its way onto the FamilySearch Tree.