The distinctive first name came from his paternal grandmother’s family. Jane WRIGHTSON was born in “Heartbeat Country” – Goathland on the North York Moors – and died at the beginning of the year in which her grandson was born.

Wrightson married Mary Jane SHAW in 1877. The newspaper report of his death says he left three children. Filey Genealogy & Connections has daughters Miriam Elizabeth and Mary Jane; the FamilySearch Tree just Miriam. (More work to do.)



Little Maggie and Her Great Aunt Richard

I have not been able to find Maggie in public records. Perhaps the only evidence of her short stay on earth is the inscription on a St Oswald’s gravestone.


Her parents, William ALDEN and Mary Elizabeth AGARS, had four children together. The last, Lilian Wilhelmina, was born after her father’s death. Mary Elizabeth, four years a widow, wrote on the 1911 census form that she had been married for fourteen years and had given birth to four living children. Two had subsequently died.

The births of four children can be found in the GRO Index. For a reason that probably nobody knows, first-born Hester may have been remembered after her death as Maggie.


In loving memory of WILLIAM EDWIN, the dearly loved child of WILLIAM and MARY E. ALDEN of Gristhorpe, who died Aug 8th 1901 aged 13 months.

Also MAGGIE their little child who died in infancy.

‘Suffer little children to come unto Me’

Also of WILLIAM ALDEN, dearly beloved husband of MARY E. ALDEN

of Gristhorpe, died Sep 12th 1906, aged 37 years.

‘Gone from memory to…’

The AGARS are well represented on the FamilySearch Tree but I had to add Mary Elizabeth to the six children of William and Mary. She lived below the census radar, being with her grandparents in 1871 and working ten years later in the service of Registered Physician and Surgeon Alexander BREDON.

Little Richard appears in the Find My Past transcription of the 1851 household of gardener John AGARS.


Any consternation is quickly dispelled (?) by the page image –


A foul but no harm is done, though one occasionally finds someone on the Shared Tree for whom the only evidence is just one census household of uncertain veracity.

We know what Maggie’s great aunt Rachel looked like. She was 45-years-old when Maggie made her brief appearance, I wonder if they met.

If, dear reader, the name Alden rings a bell – I posted four times about the family in May. The past rolls up like a carpet behind me. I’d forgotten!

24 The Impossible Wife, 27 Cant, 28 A Missing Marriage, 29 Just Williams.


Another Mystery Pearson

John was the son of Charles PEARSON and first wife Martha SIMPSON. The parents and several of his siblings are remembered in the churchyard but John isn’t to be found there. This is surprising as he had been the sexton at St Oswald’s.

The Scarborough Mercury on the last day of 1909 informed readers of his passing.

Another misfortune was the death which took place yesterday of Mr. John Pearson, the old sexton. So well known was he that his death, which came suddenly at the end, was regarded as a town’s matter-for the sexton was almost part of Filey. Visitors to the Parish Church will have seen him frequently. He was an aged man, well on to 80 years, and was quite a character in his way. He had been poorly for some little time past, and had been medically attended. It is thought that he had had a fit during the night, and died. Just over a year ago he was married for the third time. It was thought, at first, that there would be an inquest, but as he had been medically attended, it was deemed that an inquiry was not necessary. He had been sexton for very many years.

John’s age at death is given as 71 in the GRO Index. In Filey Genealogy & Connections he has only two wives listed but Kath acknowledges Elizabeth the Second in a note, but is not sure of who she is, adding “[there’s a] choice of a few in 1908”.

I have also been unable to determine who won the heart of John after Elizabeth the First died in 1874. Twist my arm and I’d say it was Elizabeth JENKINSON, daughter of George and Elizabeth née SIMPSON (and not related to him by blood through his mother). I’m not sure enough to add this marriage to FamilySearch Tree. John has, as yet, a tenuous foothold on FST. His half brothers and sisters have a better representation.

On Friday 10 January The Scarborough Mercury had this:-

Mrs. Pearson, wife of the sexton, of the Parish Church, died on Wednesday evening at about seven  o’clock, at her home in Church  Hill. She had been ill for some time.

John married Jane GREEN on 21 November that year and died thirteen months later.

Today’s Image

Since receiving its award last year, Nuns Walk has been made more suitable for the tenderfoot. The path borders have been skelped and, it seems, dosed with weedkiller. I preferred it in a wilder, more natural state.


Swift Action

Dinah BROOKS was born 1797 in Epworth, Lincolnshire and married a young man from that village in 1824. They brought seven children into the world. Their first daughter, also Dinah, married Thomas SWIFT, a Lancashire solicitor, in 1856. A month or two after their sixth child Eva Sampson Swift was born in 1870 Dinah’s mother died, miles away on the other side of the Pennines.

Dinah Sampson was buried in St Oswald’s, Filey. Her headstone is one of those moved to the shelter of the churchyard’s north wall. It is quite weathered but the transcription’s assertion that she was from Broughton in Lincolnshire can be discerned, just.H24_SAMPSONdinah_20170504_fst

Sacred to the memory of Dinah SAMPSON, late of Broughton, Lincolnshire, who departed this life April 25th 1870, aged 72 years.

Several records relating to the Lancashire Swifts place them in that county’s Broughton and I rather hoped that the monumental inscription was in error, thereby placing the elder Dinah with her grandchildren. But the Lincolnshire Broughton is very close to Epworth – so I am left wondering how much she saw of her Swift grandchildren.

One of these children, Ernest William, was coming up to his fourth birthday when his maternal grandmother died. When he was 23 years old he had an unpleasant experience.


The thoughtful Mrs. Swift referred to was Ernest’s stepmother, Emily Mary. Ernest took his time finding a wife. He was 37 years old when he made an honest woman of Frances Isabel DYKE. I wonder if he left a written account of his meeting with “the great man”.

A bite from a mad dog is nothing to what Ernest’s older brother John Oakden Swift had to endure. FamilySearch Tree shows him married to Ruth Cecilia. This was his second wife. His first, Mary Adelaide OLDROYD, died in August 1890 after just five years of marriage.

John had begun practicing as a solicitor in 1880 and his business in St Helens had flourished. After the early and unexpected death of Mary, he left the provinces for the nation’s capital. He married Ruth in London in 1897 but his practice there failed. In desperation perhaps, he made some unwise investments and traded unsuccessfully on the stock exchange. In 1901 he filed for bankruptcy showing liabilities of over £13,000. This is around £1.5 million in today’s money. I found death notices for John and Ruth. In 1909 John departed this life on 21 April and Ruth followed just 9 days later. Their deaths appear to have been less newsworthy than dog bites and bankruptcy.

The Mad Dogs of Idlib

RT reported this morning that filming of the long-forecast chemical attack has begun. We’ll know this is ‘fake news’ if it doesn’t appear on social media anytime soon. Sadly, rabid psychopaths in Washington, London and Paris are all too real.

Desert Rat, Desert Fox


This satellite view of a small square of Libya, where rock and sand meet the Mediterranean Sea, is in the vicinity of El Agheila (Al Uqaylah). After Operation Compass routed the Italians in North Africa, the Allied Forces rested in this area – until Erwin Rommel’s infant Afrika Korps arrived to send them packing on this day 1941.

Cecil SIMPSON was born at Cayton and baptized at St Oswald’s, Filey, on 6th March 1918. He was, therefore, 21 years old when the Second World War began.  I don’t know how soon he joined the army but he was with the 1st Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers when a force commanded by The Desert Fox ended his life.

Cecil is remembered on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt (located about 1,000 kilometers from where he died), on the Gristhorpe Memorial in Filey Parish, and on his parents’ headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.


The pedigree of this branch of the Simpsons is not extensive on Filey Genealogy & Connections – and I have struggled today to find forebears on FST to whom he can be readily linked.