The Widow Precious

Elizabeth BEAN was born in Newland, near Drax, in 1817. She married John PRECIOUS, of Selby, in February 1841 and, as far as I have been able to determine, bore him just one child, Annie. The girl died in March 1856, just thirteen years old. Five years earlier, the census caught the small family visiting farmer Timothy KNOWLES and wife Sarah in East Retford, Nottinghamshire. John, described as a Spirit Merchant in 1841, was now an “Independent Gentleman”. Five years after the death of his only child, he was a schoolmaster, enumerated at the school in Hensall, near Pontefract.

In the early 1860s, something happened to turn John from a pedagogue to someone who supplied footwear to Filey folk. In October 1865, one of his workmen at the “shoe warehouse” in John Street stole three pairs of shoes. Richard BENTLEY, 40, was taken into custody, charged, found guilty and sentenced to three months in jail. Before he was released, his employer died. The body of John Precious was taken for burial in Selby but his widow stayed in Filey and kept the business going for another fifteen years or so. In 1868 she advertised her wares as follows:-

PRECIOUS, 4,   John  Street,   “Begs  most  respectfully   to  inform   the Inhabitants and Visitors of Filey that a first-class stock of FRENCH and ENGLISH boots and shoes are always on hand, which for beauty, style and elegance cannot be surpassed. A visit to this Emporium of Fashion will be esteemed a favour.”

 

And in March 1878:-

E. PRECIOUS, 4, JOHN STREET, NEW FILEY, keeps a first-class Stock of French and English BOOTS and SHOES, and Berlin and other Fancy Wools, are always on hand, which for Style and Elegance cannot be surpassed.

This morning, the sun shone upon Lilly’s Sandcastle, 4 John Street. (I’m assuming that there hasn’t been a renumbering of the street’s properties.)

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At the 1871 Census, Elizabeth was living here with her “grandson”, George BEAN, aged 14 and described as an “assistant teacher”. He would later get a real job, and in May 1892 drown from the fishing boat Unity.

In 1881 Elizabeth shared 4 John Street with her “granddaughter”, Elizabeth BEAN, age 15 –  the eldest of George’s four sisters.

There is much work still to be done on the BEAN pedigree but, as it stands today, Elizabeth was not related by blood to these young people.

Widow Precious decided to relinquish the John Street business in March 1882. An auction notice in the Scarborough Mercury described some of the house contents:-

BEDROOMS.-Iron and wood Tudor and French bedsteads and hangings, prime feather beds, bolsters and pillows, mattresses, palliasses, blankets, sheets, counterpanes, cane-seated chairs, carpets, washstands, dressing tables, mahogany chests of drawers, and other chamber requisites.

SITTING-ROOM.-Drawing-room suite in green rep (walnut frames), very handsome marble-top walnut chiffoner, plate-glass back and panels; splendid inlaid walnut whatnot, mahogany loo centre table, mantel glass, carpet and hearthrug, fender and fire-irons, pictures, &c.

BACK SITTING-ROOM and KITCHEN, &c.-Couch, arm chair, rocking chairs, tables, kitchen utensils, and all the pots, pans, and other articles too numerous to mention.

Elizabeth moved a short distance to the Crescent and experienced some aggravation. In 1885 she introduced a Mr. Haxby, probably Frederick (1830 – 1910), to Judge BEDWELL at Scarborough County Court. The reporter for the local paper described the case thus:-

PRECIOUS v. HAXBY.-This was an action brought by the plaintiff, Mrs. Elizabeth Precious, The Crescent, Filey to recover damages from the defendant, Mr. Haxby, joiner, of Filey, for damage done to her property which she holds as tenant under a two years lease, granted by Messrs. Rowntree and Sons, of Scarborough, the then owners of the property.-Mr. Richardson, of Bridlington, represented the plaintiff, and Mr. Royle the defendant. It was stated by Mr. Richardson that the property in question was subsequently conveyed to the defendant. The property was situated in the Crescent at Filey, and was rented at £75. The defendant and his men came one day, and in spite of all remonstrances of the plaintiff pulled down a wall, which act, it was alleged, interfered with the privacy of the house. The defendant had several times asked the plaintiff if she would have the wall down, but she, said that on no account would she consent to it-Mr. Royle raised the question of jurisdiction, and the case was ousted, being struck out of the list.

This unhappy experience may have been enough to drive Elizabeth from Filey. In 1891 the enumerator found her in Bilton, just outside Hull, living with her “sister”, Ann, eight years younger and also a widow. Elizabeth defined herself as a “retired lodging housekeeper”. Ann was still working the family farm.

When Ann married James ENGLAND in 1846 she gave her last name as BOULTON, not BEAN. She was only 21 when she married and unlikely to have been a widow. I don’t have the proof yet but I became fairly sure that Ann and Elizabeth were full sisters when I discovered their father was called John Boulton Bean (Source: marriage record for John Precious and Elizabeth). He is represented on the FamilySearch Tree as the illegitimate son of Ann BEAN, a case perhaps of the family accepting the father was a Mr. BOULTON.

Elizabeth didn’t make it to the 1901 census. Thirty-five years of widowhood ended on the farm at Bilton in the September Quarter of 1900.

Duckling Update

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Spot the mother! (The boating lake in Glen Gardens this morning.)

An Occupational Hazard?

Frederick Andrew CULLEY and Annie LANGFORD married in 1881 and brought nine children into the world. The first three births were registered in Somerset, the others in Scarborough. I think only the last two, Walter Edgar and Sydney Horace, were born in Filey. The family headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard is a sad one. Both parents died at 86 – having mourned the deaths of at least five of their children. One boy died at 14 months, the Great War took two young men, “middle age” two more (though we would say 37 and 43 are “young”). The first name on the headstone is  Sydney Horace who “died as a result of an accident”, a few months before his 19th birthday.

I couldn’t find a newspaper report of the fatal accident but towards the end of 1916, The Driffield Times offered a snippet of Filey news –

Sydney H. CULLEY, son of Mrs. Culley, Vernon House, aged fourteen, has been successful in passing a railway clerkship examination.

Earlier that year Annie had received letters informing her of the two who died “on active service”, so perhaps seeing her youngest making good progress raised her spirits. Did you wonder about the absence of Mr. Culley? Annie and Frederick were still married at the 1911 Census but, it seems, living apart. Annie was a “Clothier” at 1, Union Street, aged 50. Ten years later she was given the honour of opening the Memorial to the Fallen in Murray Street.

But back to Sydney. His death was registered in Selby, a small town of no great distinction. My only memories of it are of the Trans-Pennine train rumbling slowly over the old bridge spanning the River Ouse, and the sight of the Abbey – rare beauty on this rather grim northern journey. Of course, I’m jumping to a conclusion thinking Sydney died on the railway. Perhaps somebody reading this may know what happened to him.

There were three Culley girls. Rhoda Susan died aged 74 in 1969. She did not marry. I haven’t researched Edith Madeline or Dorothy Winifred yet.

There are only three Culleys on Filey Genealogy and Connections and they are not “joined up”. I have added a few sources to the FamilySearch Tree. The casualties of war have had LaF Wiki pages for a while but I haven’t had a chance to update them.

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Reginald Vernon CULLEY 1882- 1916

Thomas Joseph CULLEY 1888-1916