A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ

On this day in 1897, a large number of people gathered at St Oswald’s Church for the funeral of Forster CROZIER. About four months earlier he had collapsed in the pulpit while taking the Wednesday evening service at the Wesleyan Chapel in Filey. He was taken by cab to his home in Rutland Street, unconscious, and made only a limited recovery in the weeks remaining to him.

His vigour as a Wesleyan Minister had dissipated some years before, but in his prime, he’d been a great facilitator for school and church building in a number of circuits around the country.

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His brother, Richard, was also a Wesleyan Minister. Their starts in life made them unlikely Christian soldiers. Forster was six, and Richard a year old, when their father was killed in a mining accident. At the 1851 census Forster, given age 10, was a coal miner. Richard followed him down the pit and in 1861 both were miners, living in Pelton, near Chester le Street, with their mother Margaret and sister Mary. Before the next census was taken Margaret was dead, the brothers had found God, and Forster had a wife.

In October 1871, Hannah Hart née ROBINSON gave birth to a girl, Edith Maud, in Govan, Scotland, and perhaps not long afterwards died. (I haven’t found a record of her death.)

Forster married Mary Ursula WOOLLEY at the beginning of 1875 and their first child, Clara Jane, was born about nine months later. The Croziers would have four more children.

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In loving memory of FORSTER CROZIER, Wesleyan Minister, who died at Filey April 23rd 1897, aged 56 years.

‘A good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ

His languishing head is at rest.

His thinkings and achings are o’er

His quiet immovable breast

Is heaved by affliction no more’

Also MARY URSULA, wife of the above, born April 30th 1848, died April 30th 1926.

‘Now we see through the glass darkly

But then face to face’

One of the many wreaths on Forster’s coffin had carried the following inscription:-

A good soldier of Jesus Christ. A tribute from friends in King’s Lynn.

Christians are now the most persecuted religious group on this messed up planet. What would Forster and his Wesleyan “family” make of this – and the unbelievably gross insult of being called “Easter worshippers” by war criminals. For God’s sake…

Find this Forster on FamilySearch Tree and information about several more in this PDF.

The Grapes of Death

In the spring of 1861 the SAYERS household in Ocean Place, Filey must have been quite lively. William, a 46-year-old fisherman, had conspired with his wife Susannah née CAPPLEMAN, to bring thirteen children into the world and the ten survivors were all still at home. The eldest, William junior, was 24 and the youngest, Robert Edmond, had been baptised just a couple of months before the census was taken. And yet there was still room for 86 year-old widow, Jane Cappleman née WEBSTER, Susannah’s mother – and grandmother of Ann Cappleman, who married one of the contentious William Jenkinsons of an earlier post.

Five years passed and widow Jane was still able to get out and about. But on a December day in Queen Street, her life came to a sudden end.

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The hatches still stretch almost the full breadth of the footpath. I photographed them this morning.

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Mr ROBINSON, the publican, was Francis, born 1835 in Filey, married to Mary COVERLEY. The couple had just one child in 1865 but three more followed. The birthplace of all four children is given as Sawden (or Sawdon) in Filey Genealogy & Connections, which suggests the family left the town soon after the sad accident. However, when Francis died in 1880 he was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard and is remembered on the headstone of his parents.

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He has a place on the FamilySearch Tree but awaits his wife and children.

Geoffrey, Lost at Sea

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BradleyG2There are 13 people born BRADLEY in Filey Genealogy & Connections but none are Samuel, Jack or Geoffrey. The family remembered in Filey churchyard is not yet represented on the FamilySearch Tree. Geoffrey’s name does, however, appear on the War Memorial in Murray Street – and on the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill in London.

The official record and the family headstone say he died on the 11th July but he lived for about two hours of the twelfth day. Two torpedoes from U-582 struck the SS Port Hunter at 01.47 hours, west-southwest of Madeira. Explosions ripped the vessel apart and she sank in a couple of minutes. Three men who were sleeping on deck were blown into the sea and rescued a few hours later. Sixty-eight crew members, 14 gunners and five passengers were lost “presumed drowned”. (Some would have been killed in the explosions.)

Geoffrey was an apprentice in the Merchant Navy, 17 years old. The master of Port Hunter was John Bentham BRADLEY. I have spent some time gathering Geoffrey’s forebears but, so far, haven’t discovered that they are related.

Geoffrey’s birth was registered in Scarborough but his father was a Lincolnshire lad. His mother, Hannah, was a SMITH and has so far evaded capture. She was Samuel’s second wife. He first married Lusianna ROBINSON in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1888. I found eight children in Boston born to a Bradley/Robinson couple in the GRO Online Index but the 1911 transcription on Find My Past states they had 7 children in 23 years of marriage, one of whom had died.

Lusianna (various spellings) died in late 1917, aged 50. Samuel married Hannah Elizabeth SMITH in the summer of 1919, in Boston. Jack was born two years later and Geoffrey in the last quarter of 1925.

I have some information for about thirty of Geoffrey’s ancestors. FamilySearch has records for most of them but I have found just three on the World Tree thus far. It’s a start.

Private Abbott

AbbottGAThe first name on the Filey War Memorial seems to be a mistake. A search on the CWGC website brings a George Alfred, Manchester Regiment, and a gunner with the initials G A who served in the South African Field Artillery. I think the initials should be ‘E A’.

Private Ernest Alfred ABBOTT enlisted in the Huntingdonshire Cyclists when the battalion was formed. Posted to Filey early in 1915, he courted local girl Mary Ann STORK and the couple married on 11th December 1915 at St Oswald’s.

When the Hunts Cyclists were disbanded in 1916 he was transferred to the 683rd Agricultural Company, Army Labour Corps (Service No. 434613). He died in Cambridge Easton General Hospital on 18th November 1918, a week after the Armistice. The exact cause of his death is not known. He is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Dan Eaton, In Flanders Fields…The men of Filey who fought and died during the Great War for Civilization (1914 – 1919)

His birth registration, though, gives his name as Arthur Ernest, and for some records of his short life he omitted the middle name and just answered to Ernest.

When I looked him up on Lives of the First World War, two people were remembering him. A photograph of his headstone has been added but there isn’t much detail about his life.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has very little about Ernest’s origins, and Mary Ann was illegitimate so her pedigree is difficult to research. FamilySearch Tree was more helpful, providing a start with his birth family – a father and eight siblings. The mother was given as “Ann M. ABBOTT” but the GRO quickly supplied her birth name – GAVINS – and four more children. Ernest was the youngest, then, of thirteen. Ernest’s father and eldest brother had the middle name “FAVELL” and it was no surprise that this proved to be the maiden surname of his paternal grandmother.

Most of these Abbotts and their spouses were landed peasantry from a small area of Huntingdonshire. Initially, I had the notion that it had taken a war to push Ernest out of his family heartland but research unearthed an earlier migration of some Abbotts to Yorkshire. Ernest’s Aunt Rebecca married agricultural labourer Joseph ROBINSON in Alconbury cum Weston in the mid-1850s,  and the childless couple moved to the Howden area of East Yorkshire sometime between 1871 and 1881. They both died in 1910 before Ernest was sent to Filey with the Hunts Cyclists. Rebecca departed first, in July, and was buried in Howden. Joseph, in his mid-seventies, had no family to care for him and was dispatched to the workhouse where he died before the year was out.

After Ernest’s death, Mary Ann didn’t fare well. Their only child was two years old and another boy was born in late 1919. Life must have been a great struggle for her and she died in the North Riding Asylum in York in 1924. The Borthwick Institute in York probably has details of her last weeks or months there, and maybe a photograph. I hope she wasn’t certified as a lunatic – and that the Abbott boys did well after their difficult start in life.