‘Joan Margaret’

On this day in 1941, a German mine exploded in the Humber and sank the drifter Joan Margaret. Five Filey fishermen lost their lives and only Jimmy BRIGHT survived.

I wrote two posts about the tragedy for the old Looking at Filey and when I have tidied them up I will reprint them here. Heritage Gateway is worth a visit. The article suggests the fishing boat struck the mine but there is a different narrative. (Isn’t there always?)

‘Joan Margaret’, photographer not known, no date, courtesy Martin Douglas.

The lost fishermen are remembered on family stones in St Oswald’s churchyard and at Tower Hill.

Mark of Man 87 · Reighton Sands Holiday Park

A Caring Husband?

1834 Filey · Baptism  A census return tells us that Elizabeth Ann STAMFORD was born in Hull, but she was baptised in Filey. She married a Norfolk-born sailor, Richard BORRETT, in Beverley in 1854. Filey Genealogy & Connections shows that their firstborn, Mary Elizabeth, reached adulthood and married, but their next two girls, Susannah and Ann Eliza, did not reach their first birthday.

Elizabeth Ann died aged only 27. In checking the burial register, I noticed that John Borrett, an infant, was laid to rest a few days later. The boy’s birth was registered, but the GRO Index gives the mother’s maiden surname as HEATH. I was already feeling sorry for Richard for the loss of two girls and his wife in the space of three years. To also lose a son would seem to be more than any man could endure.

I looked to the newspapers in the hope of finding the cause of Elizabeth Ann’s early death and found only this –

Records show that Richard married Isabella Hunter CAMBRIDGE in Hartlepool in 1867, and “Captain Borrett” expired at 54 Scarborough Street, Hartlepool on 19 November 1888. He was 54 years old.

1881 Filey · Birth  I chose Edwin Percy because he was one of five children born to Joseph CRABTREE of Leeds and Emily TINDALL from Muston. There is not much information in Filey Genealogy & Connections about the family but it notes that Edwin was baptised privately at the Wesleyan chapel on 28 July, when he was four months old. This seems rather ominous and it is no surprise to see his death registered in the September Quarter of 1881.

The family continued to grow. Following Edith’s birth in Filey in 1883, Joseph Harrison arrived during a brief sojourn in Sunderland. The family moved back south and four more children were born in Scarborough. Mother Emily is found in the 1939 Register – in Tindall Street, Scarborough – with daughter Lilian and son in law Thomas MORLEY. She is “incapacitated” and died at the beginning of 1940, aged 87.

At first glance, only the parents are to be found on the Shared Tree. I have added Edwin.

1888 Filey · Death  See Storms and Skerrys. (The Storm pedigree at Rootsweb may not load.)

Happiness, Now

Bird 114 · Woody

Clouds 58· Arriving Storm


1881 Filey · Birth I chose to remember Mary because of her middle name. I was curious as to discover her connection with the PHILLISKIRK family. There was very little information about her in Filey Genealogy & Connections (FG&C) and an initial search on the Shared Tree failed to turn up IDs for Mary, her husband George CURTIS or their immediate forebears.

It was quite a shock to find that when Mary married at Filey St Oswald’s in 1909, her newly acquired mother in law was a Cookman. Her husband hailed from the end of the world that is Spurn Head. His birth was registered in Patrington, and so were those of two other boys called George Curtis around the same time. Care is required to avoid traps. But for now, I have to move on to…

1833 Filey · Baptism  William doesn’t have forebears on FG&C and his father is “Unknown Pinkney” on the Shared Tree. So I don’t know if Fylingdales and Baytown were staging points on a journey from a more distant Pinkney heartland. (The Surname Map points towards Durham/Northumberland.)

Whatever, some Pinkneys moved on and Peace, born in Robin Hood’s Bay, married William CAMMISH at St Oswald’s in 1852. FG&C and the Shared Tree have given Peace different parents. Another fine mess I don’t have time to sort out.

Wykeham may be William’s last resting place but he died aged 69 in Ruston, fifteen miles south of Fylingdales. I failed to find what happened to his wife, Peace.

1855 Filey · Marriage  John and Ann Rebecca’s first two children were born in Filey but the family then moved up to Scarborough and when the 1861 census was taken they were living at 14 Blenheim Terrace. I would like to know how John met Ann. She gave her birthplace as Axminster, Devon at one census and the hamlet of Up Cerne, Dorset, at the others. Her family name was BAZLEY but in most sources, this is butchered into Barley or Bailey. She clearly signs “Bazley” in the St Oswald’s register.

Most of the time, Ann’s middle name is missing from the records but the Shared Tree gives her death in 1894, with a supporting source for “Rebecca Forge”.

1947 Filey · Death Frances Carter CHAPMAN married fisherman John William WILLIAMSON at St Oswald’s in 1893. They have a headstone in the churchyard.

Treasured memories of JOHN W. WILLIAMSON, a devoted husband and father,

died July 13th 1939, aged 73.

‘Always thoughtful, always kind, a beautiful

memory left behind’

Also of FANNY, his beloved wife, died March 4th 1947, aged 78

‘Reunited in everlasting love’

And their dear son, Lt. JOHN WILLIAMSON, S.A.A.F., died July 22nd 1942, aged 46,

buried at Cape Town, S.A.

‘Loved, honoured and remembered’

1939 Filey · Burial 

Take My Breath Away

To think, as children, we used to call her Auntie. This morning, the propaganda arm of the UK regime gave a platform to a woman who was angry. Angry that we did nothing when Putin flattened Damascus and other Syrian cities. She wants a no-fly zone over Ukraine and in this topsy-turvy, upside-down clown world, her wish may be granted. But maybe the reincarnation of Churchill will save us all.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

And here is a bit-part player in America, the recently appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

Samuel Brinton

The end seems nigh.


1741 Kirkbean · Birth  Mary Anne is an older sister of John Paul JONES, Scottish traitor and American patriot, who memorably visited Filey Bay in 1779.

1755 Filey · Baptism  Thomasin (Tomasyn on the Shared Tree) is a grandaunt of Elizabeth CAMMISH, the love of Robert SNARR’s life. (See Anniversary · Death 17 February.) I don’t have any information about Thomasin but her sister Elizabeth gave birth to Flamborough MAINPRIZEs (and Grace to Filey Cammishes).

1752 Filey · Marriage  Find My Past offers three transcriptions of marriage information from the original register and Bishop’s Transcripts. One has the wedding of Richard and Frances taking place on 1 March 1752; the others on 2 March 1751.

1752 was the first time in England when the year officially began on 1 January. Unofficial folk had long welcomed the New Year in on the first day of January but the medieval PTB insisted that Lady Day on 25 March kicked off the annual activities.

With this in mind, the transcribed dates offered for the marriage of our happy couple are both wrong.

Source: Borthwick Institute for Archives, York

So, if 1751 was the last year to begin in England on Lady Day, Richd. and Frances married on March ye 2d 1752. (The illustration is not a facsimile of the original document. I have removed the baptisms.)

Only one of the modern transcriptions gives the ages of Richard and Frances. Their calculated birth years are 1727 and 1731. The couple’s entry on the Shared Tree has almost nothing to say about them.

The HALL family name in Filey Genealogy & Connections ties with WATSON at Number 18. The 203 instances for each show an “opposite” male/female split. Watson 57.1% males; Hall 52.7% female. I will keep an eye open for any descendants of Richard and Frances.

1809 Filey · Death John probably shared a last meal of mouse and ship’s dog with James ROTHWELL. FG&C indicates he was buried on the day he died, as was James. (Both in unmarked graves.) The burial register shows the order of their interments has been lost in transcription.

Their story is recounted in The History and Antiquities of Scarborough, and the Vicinity By Thomas Hinderwell (Kindle £6.95). See what Thomas looked like here.

1851 Filey · Burial  Isabella’s family on her father’s side were Filey folk but her maternal grandparents hailed from Fylingdales and Robin Hood’s Bay. She did not marry but the Shared Tree presents an extensive pedigree stretching over five centuries. Her grave in St Oswald’s churchyard is unmarked.

Clouds 57 · Filey Bay

Mark of Man 86 · Contrail


1777 Staithes · Birth  At eight days old, Mary was baptised at Hinderwell. She was twenty-nine when she became the second wife of William BULMER(46). They married in Filey, had three children and then William left Mary to experience thirty years as a widow. She is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard in an unmarked grave.

1870 Filey · Baptism  When she died at the age of thirty, her father carved a handsome stone that ensured she would be remembered. (But I don’t know the cause of her death.)

Reposing with a peaceful trust in Jesus

1831 Beverley · Marriage  Edward and Hannah’s descendants struggled to keep their line going but great-granddaughter “Louie” STENNETT married Herbert Copley MOWTHORPE in Skirlaugh and gave us local historian “Ces”. He contributed a description of The Black Hole (Hunmanby’s Lock-Up) here.

1822 Scarborough · Death Christopher was born in Bridlington but soon afterwards the family moved to Filey. Kath noted his unfortunate demise in Filey Genealogy & Connections.

On 1st March 1822, he fell into the sea whilst boarding a ship at Scarborough. He had previously fished at Filey.

I don’t think he has a place on the Shared Tree yet but I am fairly sure he belongs to this family.

1919 Filey · Burial  Jane Elizabeth Scotter née CAMMISH was only thirty-three when she died.

It seems that most “official” sources record Jane as a Cammish but I think she was widely known as Jane Sayers. Her mother, Sarah Cammish, married Edmond SAYERS a couple of years after Jane’s birth. The fact that Jane named her son Edmund Sayers Scotter suggests to me that the man who raised her was her biological father.  Here she is on FG&C –

The picture is somewhat different on the FamilySearch Shared Tree.

The inscription on her headstone reads –

In sweet remembrance of JANE ELIZABETH, the beloved wife of GEORGE SCOTTER,

who entered into rest Feb 25th 1919, aged 33 years.

‘Father in Thy gracious keeping

We now leave our loved one sleeping’

Mark of Man 85 · Archaeology

Filey Sands scoured out


1872 Filey · Birth  Ernest Richard was one of seven children born to Robert CRAWFORD and Elizabeth BRAMLEY – and the only one not to reach adulthood. He has a memorial in the churchyard of unique (to Filey) design.

1804 Hutton Buscel · Baptism  There are three generations of ANGELs on Filey Genealogy & Connections (FG&C), all born in Hutton Buscel. George is the most recent and, as I begin writing this, I don’t know if he left the village, or where he died. One of his offspring must have spread their wings because there are descendants in Filey. The flight is suspect, however, as the link person appears to be a girl-child with three warnings attached – parents married after the parents’ birth, father 13 years old when the person was born, and mother was 9 years old when the person was born.

FamilySearch offers an 1851 census source that indicates the above problems have been resolved somehow.

The age of Charlotte PASHBY is puzzling, but George D’s family moved from Cayton and three younger sisters were born in Filey.

1810 Filey · Marriage  Sarah, daughter of HenryandAnnwould marryJohn CHAPMAN in 1839 and the Shared Tree shows how many descendants ensued. Henry, a mariner, died in the Scarborough Seamen’s Hospital in 1850. Ann lived on and the Seamen’s Hospital would be her last address too. She died in 1873 and two years earlier the census had noted she shared accommodation with a “servant” at the Hospital – her granddaughter Mary Ann Chapman, 31 and unmarried. (FG&C gives Mary Ann three children, fathers unknown.)

1976 Filey · Death Matthew HAXBY awaits his wife on the Shared Tree. Florence May has an ID – they can be hitched any day.

I have a placeholder photo of their headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

I’ll put a better picture on the Shared Tree as a memory soon.

1942 Filey · Burial  Margaret Cowling OVERY, the mother of Tom Robert Overy ROBINSON, is “Maggy” on the Shared Tree and not yet married.

Fire from the Sky

Old LaF 2013

In her interviews for Exploring Filey’s Past Ann Wilkie née JOHNSON recalled two incendiary raids on Filey during the Second World War. In the first, the bombs rained down on the West Avenue area and brought a dance at the Southdene Pavilion to a premature close: –

…the dancin’ finished straight away and you were scurryin’ on and duckin’ down, y’ know. One thing, we only had to go from Southdene to Rutland Street so there’s just Brooklands in between, y’ know…and me friend lived in Bell Vue Street. So we hadn’t far to go but it was frightening, scurryin’ along, y’ know. And, of course at home, y’ see, we, when the sirens went, we just went down into the basement, y’ know it was, erm, well, safe I suppose down there. But, erm, yes and then at the Laundry End I think it was worse still, y’ know…

Doreen Mason née HOLMES remembered: –

…we were at the Southdene Pavilion dancin’ and …somebody said, I’ll go and get you a glass of cider at that pub at bottom … and these incendiary bombs were comin’ all off the roofs, so I dashed out and, by God, din’t I run home?

For Doreen, this was the night of the Laundry Hill raid and when she heard that her job had gone up in flames: –

…ooh good laundry’s burnt down. Good, hurray, hurray (laughter). Oh lovely…

Filey Laundry today, 54.212080, -0.290342

Lily Cronk née COLLING was working at the Brigg Cinema when the incendiaries began to rain down. She reckoned that 11,000 were dropped on the town and she had close encounters with a “helluva lot” of them.

I went up on t’ roof at Brigg…with a sweepin’ brush and swept ‘em off (laughter). I don’t know how the hell…I wunt do it now but I did. Hung through thing and took a brush, long brush, y’ know… I ‘ad ‘em off before they went off, must ‘ave ‘ad because [they] din’t do any damage… I just swept ‘em off top… I din’t care where the ‘ell they went as long as they weren’t on top o’ cinema…whether I did right or wrong. But I can’t a done wrong can I? (laughter). It was still there next mornin’.

Keith Lang’s sister worked at the Laundry and he recalled that she lost some of her clothes to the flames.

Nancy Mann nee BROWNING was employed at the Laundry for quite a long time but her health suffered and Dr Dibb wrote a letter enabling her to leave for more amenable work as a shop assistant. During the war, she was a First Aider and was expected to work alternate nights – but to turn up for duty if bombs were falling. On the 26th February –

…it was my night on and I went round as large as life an’ they ses, where were you last night? I ses, I was in bed, why? Well, din’t you ‘ear bombs droppin’?

About 80 metres south of the Laundry an incendiary fell onto Cammish’s Shop, 2c Mitford Street. Robert ‘Bobbin’ CAMMISH raked the tail fin from the gutter – and here it is, with a 20 pence piece to give an idea of scale… Thanks to Joanne for allowing me to photograph it.

The missing “business end” would have been about 12 inches/30 cms long.

Joanne emailed to say that the cast iron guttering still has a crack in it and “every time it rains a poor unsuspecting passer-by gets a reminder of Hitler’s actions to this country”.


1880 Filey · Birth  George was the fourth of ten children born to Mark SCOTTER and Alice COLLING. He married Mary Ann SAYERS when he was 21 and had two children. He died at the age of 36, a few months before his father was shot and killed by a U Boat crewman while fishing from his yawl Susie.

Shared Tree

1789 Frodingham (or Beeford) · Baptism  George was the non-bio father of Martha ROOM (Anniversary Marriage 27 January). I speculated a month ago that Martha was a nurse child of George’s wife, Rachel MAULSON. This Rachel has since been replaced by another – Rachel ROOM. So Martha was maybe raised by her mother’s sister and George. The church register indicates that George was a widower when he married Rachel Room.

Shared Tree

1867 Filey · Marriage  In the thirteenth year of his marriage, William was washed overboard from the yawl Elizabeth and Emma off Robin Hood’s Bay during the Great Storm of 1880. He is remembered on the Fishermen’s Window in St Oswald’s church. Johanna (or Joanna Hannah) married again. She is the brother of John (Anniversary Birth 3 February).

Shared Tree

1976 Filey · Death

Photographer unknown, no date, courtesy Martin Douglas.

I think Arthur’s shop was in Queen Street – and he’d relied on those crutches for many years.

He was cremated on 27 February and his ashes were buried with his wife Ruth on 3 March.

Shared Tree

Beach 158 · Butcher Haven