Miner, Soldier, Accountant, Contractor’s Clerk

In July 1938 the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer informed readers of the marriage of Samuel Hughes DIXON, Accountant, to Olive, the eldest daughter of Charles FERRAR, of Filey. Samuel, the notice said, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Philip Dixon, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. He had been born in Fenton, one of the unlovely Six Towns of The Staffordshire Potteries, and at age 13 in 1901 he worked as a miner below ground, probably at Fenton Glebe Colliery.

Ten years later his presence on the North-West Frontier was noted. He was with the 2nd Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, which had been raised in the next Pottery town in the chain, Longton. He didn’t leave the army until 1929 and so, had he stayed with the North Staffs, would have served for at least ten years in India, a couple of years in Ireland until the Free State was established, and the remainder of his army life at the regiment’s depot in Lichfield or other “home stations”.

His military conduct had been exemplary and for the last ten years he was a Company Quarter-Master Sergeant. He re-started his civilian life in Burslem, as licensee of The Legs of Man Inn in the Market Place. For eight years there were no complaints against him but early in 1937, he found himself in court, charged with supplying intoxicating liquor to two women during “non-permtted” hours.  One of the women, Elizabeth Bridgford, pleaded guilty and was fined but the evidence that she was supplied after 10pm was not strong enough to convict Samuel.

The Stipendiary Magistrate’s view that the case was nonetheless “suspicious” may have weighed heavily upon Samuel. Ten months later The Staffordshire Sentinel reported that the Wine Licence for The Legs o’Man Inn had been transferred from Samuel Hughes Dixon to Alfred William Wood.

Samuel must have quit The Potteries immediately because a couple of months later his marriage to Olive FERRAR was registered in Buckrose. Olive was forty-years-old. Samuel, aged 50, claimed to be an accountant. Eighteen months later, when the Census was taken at the beginning of the Second World War, he told the enumerator who called at 67 Muston Road that he was a Contractor’s Clerk.

Samuel died in the summer of 1952 and is buried at Cayton. His widow married again and is remembered on the FERRAR stone in St Oswald’s churchyard as Olive JACKSON. She died in 1975 aged 78, about 18 months after her youngest sister Gladys Ann BROWN. Their brother Arthur’s life had been snuffed out at nineteen while fighting for King and Country in France.

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Find the Ferrars, and Samuel, on the Shared Tree.

Two Lives Cut Short

To the left of the path leading up to the door of St Oswald’s (Today’s Image) are two ‘table graves’. Both remember a “George Fowler”.

On the right, George FOWLER, a land and ship owner who died aged 61. To the left, George Fowler TAYLOR, who lived for just 22 years. The young man succumbed to consumption at the home of his aunt, Mrs George Fowler, on The Esplanade, Scarborough. (A different Mrs George Fowler is memorialised on the adjacent tomb.)

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On this day in 1895, Fanny Deadman Hanson (born SCOTTER) was buried in the churchyard. She was 21 years old and had been married to fisherman husband, John Henry, for just 14 months. I haven’t discovered the cause of her death. Phthisis may have taken her too – it was one of the biggest killers in Victorian Britain – but perhaps she died in childbirth.

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I have put this headstone photograph on FamilySearch Tree. (The angel, pointing upwards, symbolises “a sudden departure or untimely death”.) John Henry married again and had five children with Annie Elizabeth PASHBY.

Gravelines

German forces kicked off The Battle of France on 10 May 1940. They muscled their way through the Netherlands and Belgium and on the 20th their forward Panzer units could see the River Somme flowing into the English Channel. Eight days later they had pushed the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force to a small strip of land at Dunkirk.

William BIGGINS, born in Filey in the summer of 1913, was a Lance Corporal with 6th Bn The Green Howards, part of the 23rd Northumbrian Infantry Division under Major General W. N. HERBERT. In the Order of Battle (1940) the Division is listed as a formation “undergoing training and performing labour duties” but, with France falling about their ears, nowhere was safe. William was killed on the 24th.

A kerb inscription in St Oswald’s, recorded by the Crimlisks, revealed that he was killed in action at Gravelines. While Kleist’s 10th Panzers half-circled nearby Calais, Gerd von Rundstedt’s armour attacked Gravelines. I don’t know how many other Allied soldiers lost their lives in this encounter but, towards midnight on the 24th, von Rundstedt asked Kleist to pause the Panzer advance. Hitler gave a “Halt Order” that has long puzzled historians – but it allowed the refuge at Dunkirk to be defended until the armada of small boats arrived.

Without the old kerb source, I may not have discovered William’s whereabouts on his last day. It has been replaced by a new headstone.

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William is buried at Longueness (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, about 20 miles south of Gravelines.

His pedigree on FamilySearch Tree isn’t extensive but Filey Genealogy & Connections takes his mother’s line back to the 17th century in Fenland, to Christopher SCOTTOW and Lucretia FISH.

Scottow · Scotter

Mark SCOTTOW was baptized this day, 1854, in Runton, Norfolk. In August 1917 Mark SCOTTER was “killed by enemy submarine”.

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The origins of surnames are often fancifully explained on websites that hope to sell you parchments but I found one today that suggested SCOTTOW derived from a village of that name in Mark’s birth county. It also pointed out that there was a village in Lincolnshire called SCOTTER.

Ancestry has re-designed the surname distribution maps it freely provides online.

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Taken at face value, this map shows a Norfolk heartland and zero Scotters in Lincolnshire, so if one accepts the morphing of Mark’s surname in his lifetime, the Scottow theory looks good.

Mark was part of the Norfolk Scottow/Scotter diaspora to the Yorkshire coast and the above map doesn’t register the seven Scotter families in Filey in 1891. If you read the small print, though, you will see that Yorkshire has 42% of Scotter families in England and Wales in that census year. We need a more accurate map.

SCOTTOW is ranked =206 in Filey surnames with 23 males and 6 females.

SCOTTER is ranked =25 with 93 males and 85 females.

These are “unique individuals” in Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database, not people counted several times in census returns.

I counted the birth registrations in the districts containing Scottow, Norfolk and Scotter, Lincolnshire in three decades, 1851-60, 1871-80 and 1901-1910, and in Scarborough Registration District.

There were no Scottows or Scotters registered in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire over those 30 years.

Thirteen Scottow births were registered in Erpingham, Norfolk in the first decade and none in the last.  There was one Scottow birth in Scarborough between 1851 and 1860 and three in the last decade.

For Scotter the count for the three decades in Erpingham was 5, 8 and 4.

For Scarborough, it was 4, 23 and 22.

This is a rather sketchy statistical analysis but it seems to confirm the growing acceptance of Scotter over the “original” Scottow – and the migration of Norfolk fisher families to the Yorkshire coast.

In 2011, David Scotter wrote three articles about the diaspora for Looking at Filey. You can learn more about Mark here.

Mark on FST.

Aunt Mima’s Wedding

Jemima SCOTTER (9XLP-RRP), the seventh child of Mark SCOTTER and Alice COLLING, was baptised at St Oswald’s on this day 1887.  The family is fairly well represented on FamilySearch Tree but there is some work to do there.

Mark was one of a number of Norfolk fishermen who moved north and put down roots on the Yorkshire coast. His life was ended by a German bullet in November 1917. A U boat had intercepted his yawl Susie and Kath, in a Filey Genealogy note, suggests its captain thought Mark was reaching for a gun and ordered him shot. Susie was scuttled but the remainder of its crew took to the small coble, were picked up by the Lord Kitchener and, with Mark’s body, brought safely home.

Jemima’s mother had died about 9 months earlier so when she married Herbert Salvidge HALL on 15th June 1918 she was given away, I think, by her brother in law Jenkinson HAXBY.  She looks rather solemn in her wedding photograph, as does her younger sister Maud standing at the other side of the groom.

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After the wedding Herbert and Jemima moved to the Middlesbrough area and their daughter Olive’s birth was registered there in the September Quarter of the following year.  Olive was just two years old when her father died. Martin, who donated the wedding photo to Looking at Filey, told me that his grandaunt Jemima returned to Filey after her husband’s death but he didn’t know what became of Olive. With all the extra resources I have access to now (compared to four or five years ago), I thought I would be able to trace the little girl but she remains elusive. Find My Past hints at three death registrations in the north of England for a middle aged unmarried Olive that don’t convince, even though the birth dates are acceptably close. There are several possible marriages and some 1939 Register entries that could be hers but, for now, her life journey must remain a mystery.

Filey Genealogy & Connections doesn’t have Jemima’s death.  If her birth registration in the September Quarter of 1887 was “late” she may be the Jemima HALL who lived to the ripe old age of 89. Born on the 14th June she was working as a Cook/Housekeeper at Drumranck Hall, Stokesley when the 1939 Register was taken (RG101/3298A/022/23 Letter Code: JHTJ).

A mystery of a different sort is pictured in Today’s Image. At the lowest tides the rocky “pier” jutting out from Filey Brigg is revealed.  Some think it a natural structure, others that the Romans built it. Or perhaps it is a medieval pier to facilitate the remove of building stone from the Brigg quarries. Divers have measured and mapped the boulders beneath the surface and perhaps a report will be published some time that will tell us, irrefutably, what the Spittals are all about.