The Brothers Philliskirk

George, named after his father and grandfather, was born in 1800. Harrison, six years later, took the surname of his paternal grandmother and Davison, from 1809, would carry his mother’s family name until his death.

All three were born in Bridlington, or that part known as Bridlington Quay, and George died in the town when he was 25 years old. Davison, the youngest of the three, married first, in Bridlington in April 1832. His bride was a Filey woman, Mary JENKINSON, and a few months later Harrison also married a Filonian, Mary WYVILL, in St Oswald’s Church. This second Mary was an aunt to the brothers James and Crompton Wyvill who married Jane WATKINSON (Monday and Tuesday’s posts).

Both marriages were long but neither was blessed with children.

Davison became a master saddler but then branched into property, multi-tasking as an estate agent. It seems he saw an opportunity when “New Filey” was established in the late 1850s. In 1861 he was Secretary to the York City and County Bank, encouraging people to buy shares in the Filey Public Bath and Saloon Company.

The many improvements recently carried out in FILEY, and particularly in the Hotels and Lodging Houses, have induced a much larger number of Families to visit the place during the Season than could at one time have been anticipated, and Filey has now become one of the most fashionable Watering Places on the Yorkshire Coast.

As a further attraction, and to comply with the wishes of many of the Visitors, some of whom have been compelled to leave the place in consequence of the want of such accommodation, it has been decided to erect suitable BATHS in Filey, and for this purpose a Company has been formed and registered under the “Joint Stock Companies’ Limited Liability Acts.”

The Building, which is now in the course of erection, upon a most eligible site on the Undercliff, contains Hot, Cold, Shower and Vapour BATHS; a SALOON and READING ROOM, and a suitable Dwelling for the Manager, and will, it is expected, be completed in the month of July next.

Nearly two-thirds of the shares have already been taken, and Forms of Application for the remainder may be had on application to

Mr. DAVISON PHILLISKIRK

Filey, June, 1861; Secretary, Filey

N.B. Bathing Machines in connection with the above establishment.

This building became an important focus of resort and all year round town social life and is currently nearing the completion of refurbishment as luxury apartments. I wonder how much Ackworth House cost to build 157 years ago.

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Photographed this morning.

Harrison worked variously as a painter, plumber, glazier and decorator, employing five or six workers (“men and boys”).

Both brothers were ardent Wesleyans and trustees when the foundation stones were laid for the “new gothic chapel” in May 1876. Davison had made a substantial contribution to the cost of the building but was too ill to attend the ceremony and died about five weeks later.

Harrison lived on for another thirteen years and when his turn came he was laid to rest next to his brother.

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Photographed this morning.

There is a less tangible memorial to the esteem in which Harrison was held. Linen draper and Filey Postmaster William STORY gave two of his children the middle name Philliskirk. Ann died in infancy but George would cross the Atlantic and make it into the Canadian Dictionary of National Biography. His short life in the service of God is considered on Faded Genes.

There is work still to be done on the Shared Tree but you can find the three Philliskirk brothers here. There are photographs of George Philliskirk Story and his wife here.

Ghost Story

A couple of posts earlier this month, Balaclava and The Missing Parson, featured some STORYs. I revisited them yesterday to tie up some of their loose ends on FamilySearch.

The stone remembering Elizabeth Alice STORY is in a sorry state. The Crimlisks in their 1977 survey noted it was broken…

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The carved lettering is very distinctive, appearing on only one other headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard, as far as I’m aware – that of Elizabeth Alice’s parents and brothers Henry Errington and William. This one reads:-

In affectionate remembrance of ELIZABETH ALICE, the beloved wife of THOMAS MATTHEW EDWARDS, daughter of WILLIAM STORY, who died at Bridlington, October 26th 1880, aged 29.

She was buried in Bridlington and to give her such a substantial memorial in the town of her birth is quite a statement. Her only child, Walter William, was four months shy of his seventh birthday when she died. He would acquire a step-mother around the time he turned eight.

After adding a source or two to Elizabeth Alice’s record on FamilySearch I checked to see if she had any duplicates. There was just one and it was quite startling – of Elizabeth Alice STOREY, with the same birth and death years and a husband with the surname EDWARDS, the marriage taking place, it appears, about the same time. Very clearly, they were “not a match”. This other Elizabeth had entered the world in Hants Harbour, Newfoundland, and departed from the same place. The location rang a bell, though, so I looked again at the biography of Filey Elizabeth’s brother, George Philliskirk STORY.

…Following three probationary years as an assistant in the two St John’s [Newfoundland] circuits, Story was ordained in 1880. That summer he married the daughter of John Steer, a leading merchant in the city. The next eight years were spent in hard and onerous labour as a circuit preacher around the island: at Channel (Channel-Port aux Basques), Hant’s Harbour and Catalina on Trinity Bay, and Freshwater on Conception Bay.

Spooky, huh?

Elizabeth Alice the First

Elizabeth Alice the Second

The Missing Parson

The Scarborough Mercury on Friday, 8th December 1882 reported as follows:-

Filey: Strange Occurrence

This retired watering-place was thrown into a state of great excitement the other day, in consequence of the sudden loss of one of the Primitive Ministers. This rev. gentleman is in the habit of walking to Filey Brig and then returning to tea, but he happened to deviate from his ordinary custom, and the result was that a very painful scene occurred. His wife became excited, hearing nothing of her husband. for several hours. The aid of fishermen was summoned and the Brig searched, but no parson [was] to be found; after which, ropes, &c., were procured to drag the sea-pools about the Brig. The townspeople spreading the news, crowds of fishermen began to move towards the cliff top ; during this excitement a well-known ironmonger and a parson stepped among the crowd to enquire what was up, when the parson to his astonishment was told they were going to search for his body on the Brig, having heard he had been drowned. Naturally enough he bolted home to his distressed wife. I can’t describe the meeting, to explain that he had stayed tea with the ironmonger and had forgot to send a message home where he was. The fishermen were recalled from the Brig and the little town soon settled down to its normal quietness. This should warn husbands and wives to be sure and “come home to tea.”

The ironmonger was almost certainly John ROSS senior, a native of Castleton (near Danby) and active in the overlapping circles of Filey Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists. He probably had parson friends of both persuasions and after his death, in January 1885, the Rev. G. OYSTON opened a meeting of the Port of Hull Society Sailors’ Orphan Home with an “appropriate allusion” to John’s passing.  Reading the 19th-century newspapers one gets the impression that this watering place rarely had fewer than a dozen parsons going about their singular master’s business, so which one got his wife excited is anyone’s guess.

Amongst a supporting cast of lay preachers and circuit trustees were William STORY senior, who featured in yesterday’s post, and Harrison PHILLISKIRK. William indicated the depth of their friendship by giving a daughter, Ann, and a son, George, the middle name “Philliskirk”. George would take the name with pride across the Atlantic. He worked himself into an early grave as a teacher and Methodist clergyman in Newfoundland.

George married Elizabeth STEER in St John’s in 1880 and one of their descendants died in January last year – a William Story who had brought the honoured middle names, Philliskirk and Steer, into the 21st century.

Balaclava

William, the fourth child of Filey Draper and Postmaster William STORY, died at the age of 17 in the Crimea, a year or so after the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade. I have been unable to find any information about the part he played in what is sometimes referred to as “the first modern war”. Given his youth, I’m not surprised he is seemingly lost in the mists. I’m left imagining his path crossing one, or maybe both, of our Victorian wonder nurses, blessed Florence and irrepressible Mary. (Find their underwhelming pedigrees on FST here and here.)

Young William was one of about 25,000 British combatants who died in that conflict and as the preponderance succumbed to disease and neglect we can assume our Filey lad did too. Sevastopol fell in September 1855, the Russians retreated and several months of mopping up operations by the winning side ensued. The Treaty of Paris brought the war to an end on 30 March 1856.

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I have put a photograph of the headstone on FST as a “Memory”,