The Man Who Scared Me

When I was nine or ten years old, my mother took me to Wilberforce House in High Street, Hull. Wandering alone through the museum rooms, I saw a dead man and fled in panic to find my mam.

The effigy of the Great Emancipator is still there and you may happen upon him if you take the Virtual Tour. The image above is a screen grab. From memory, the room was more true-to-life in the 1950s than it is now. Today is the anniversary of William’s passing. A couple of years after my scare, I found myself doing a six-year stretch in another Wilberforce House – at Malet Lambert School. The other houses were Andrew Marvell, De La Pole and Ferens. (Times have changed. “Malet Lambert have six houses, each with its own ethos.”)

One of the four sons William had with Barbara Ann SPOONER married into the  Hunmanby WRANGHAMs. I don’t know of a closer Wilberforce connection to Filey but there are now twenty-nine of their ilk in my RootsMagic database. Maybe I am just being sentimental.

Today is also the anniversary of Elsie May BURR’s death. (See yesterday’s post.)

Thomas ROSS, Filey-born, crossed the river and married Maria BANNISTER in Cleethorpes, not long after she had turned eighteen. Though Thomas had generations of fisher forebears, his first census occupation was “clerk”. But he was soon working in Grimsby as a fish merchant and must surely have influenced, encouraged, and supported his second son John Carl when he created what would become a famous British brand.

The Ross Group was a British food company founded in Grimsby, England in 1920. The Ross brand remains prominent in the retail frozen fish market. David Ross, the co-founder and significant shareholder in mobile telephone retailer The Carphone Warehouse, is the grandson of J Carl Ross. Originally a small family-owned fish merchanting company, Ross diversified into trawling, fish processing, and later into food processing in general, expanding into factory farming to become the largest chicken producer in Europe by 1962 via a series of takeovers. The company bought out rival Young’s in 1959 and, after a series of takeovers and mergers and de-mergers, forms part of what is now Young’s Bluecrest, the UK’s largest company in the frozen fish sector. The company’s history is also Grimsby’s industrial history.

William ALDEN is the brother of Joseph (birth anniversary 11 April). Baptised at the old Primitive Methodist Chapel, he married Mary Elizabeth AGARS in 1893 and they had three daughters and a son. Firstborn Hester did not reach her first birthday. In her short time on earth, she seems to have been known as “Maggie”. William worked as a porter at Gristhorpe Station and was only thirty-eight when he died.

Richard Cammish “Snosh” JENKINSON and Lily JOHNSON married at St Oswald’s in 1915. Richard served as a sailor/stoker in the First World War and survived. Sadly, three of the couple’s children born after the war died in infancy. Third child George Thomas Johnson JENKINSON, “Tommy Snosh”, became Mayor of Filey.

A new headstone in the churchyard remembers…

The old stone had this inscription (Crimlisk Survey 1977).

In ever loving memory of ELSIE ALICE, the beloved daughter of GEORGE THOMAS & ANN JOHNSON of Filey, died Dec 29 1920, aged 27 years.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart

For they shall see God’

Also, of the above GEORGE THOMAS JOHNSON, who was drowned near Filey Bay from the Coble ‘Mary’, Dec 14 1896, aged 26 years.

‘Out of the deep I cried

Oh Lord be merciful to me’

And his wife ANN JOHNSON, died March 14 1951, aged 82 years.

‘Sadly missed’

About ten years ago, Lily was identified in a photograph of women and children celebrating Christmas at the Ebenezer in, I guess, the late 1940s. Please let me know if this isn’t her.

Photographer unknown, courtesy of Martin Douglas

Samuel Edward HALL is on his own in Filey Genealogy & Connections but has the company of his wife Charlotte Alice BEST in St Oswald’s churchyard. The couple married in Leeds in 1893 and had two children, Lottie and Frank. In 1911, Samuel worked as a Tailor and Draper.

Flower 33 · Bindweed

Bird 119 · Wren

Seven Filey fishermen lost their lives on this day in 1919. See FV ‘Emulator’.

A ‘Member Tree’ on Find my Past brings George WHEELER into the world on 28 March. The 1939 Register transcription plumps for 16 April. The page image is somewhat afflicted.

I am going to stand by the 15th.

Filey Genealogy & Connections had little to say about Hannah Elizabeth beyond noting her baptism. I hoped she would have a life but sadly she died thirteen days after being brought to Christ. Her mother died in her thirties – as did her father’s second wife, Jane SHEPHERD. James Luddington made older bones but died in 1875 aged 52.

I haven’t photographed the grave of Williamson BAXTER and Mary Jenkinson EDMOND. “Kerbs” are usually sad, neglected affairs. But here is the Crimlisk transcription (with burial register notes) –

In loving memory of my dear husband WILLIAMSON BAXTER, died 2nd April 1950 (sic) aged 48.

Also of his wife, MARY JENKINSON BAXTER, died 15th Dec 1953, aged 60


‘He suffered much but murmured not’

The EYFHS entry (2173) has the following Burial Register notes:

1940 Apr 5. Williamson Baxter, Filey Reservoir. 48.

1953 Dec 18. Mary Jenkinson Baxter, 98 West Rd., Filey. 60.

Citation: Filey, St Oswald’s Monumental Inscriptions, Part 3: 2173, page 69. East Yorkshire Family History Society, Publication No. M304, © 2015

The place where Williamson’s life ended is not as alarming as it seems. When the Register was taken a few months earlier he was living at Reservoir Cottage, Airey Hill. He worked as the Caretaker of the Filey Reservoirs. There were two ponds back then but one seems to have dried up. You can see the other by entering these coordinates into a search engine: 54.174397, -0.295605.

Beach 159 · Filey Sands


1893 Filey · Birth The son of ‘Old Naz’ and Elizabeth Towse SHEPHERD, Richard was killed when SD Emulator hit a mine off Scarborough.

Shared Tree

1844 Filey · Baptism  Stephen TODD and his wife Mary POPPY started a family in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk but moved to Filey about 1839. Their second Yorkshire-born child, Sarah, died in her first year. Their next daughter was born about a year later and they named her Sarah. After the 1851 census, the family moved to the West Riding and in 1861, when Sarah was seventeen, they had a boarder called John WOOD, aged 19. A Primitive Methodist Local Preacher, he married Sarah less than a year later. The couple set up home next door to Stephen and Mary in New Wortley, Leeds and had three children when the enumerator called in 1871. In 1901, Sarah is a widow, living with three children and a servant in Headingly, Leeds. Ten years later she is alone at 11 St Michael’s Road, Headingly. A Leeds death registration in 1913 fits her closely (age 70) but needs confirmatory evidence. She is named on a 1922 source relating to the death of her son Stephen in the United States.

1827 Bridlington · Marriage  Henry and Ann had nine children, all born in Bridlington. Third son Carr Dixon married Mary Ann POOL in Bridlington but died in Filey and is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

1851 Filey · Death  Kath expresses uncertainty in a note on FG&C that Susanna GENERY married chief boatman John STOCKDALE. But the Shared Tree has Susanna JENNERY and “Susan” is remembered on a handsome stone in St Oswald’s churchyard, though her name is hidden by grasses and bluebells.

1844 Filey · Burial  The bodies of young John COWLING and Thomas WISEMAN, lost from the two-masted lugger Jerome in Scarborough Bay, were brought home for burial. John’s father drowned with them but his body was not recovered. See Brief Wives.