Posted to Old LaF on 13 January 2011

James BULMER’s life was complicated enough to cause some confusion in the minds of 21st century seekers of genealogical truth. So far, I have only put his birth family on the Filey Community Tree. Kath, in her Filey Folk database, has James marrying twice, first to “Mary Ann Bulmer” and then Ann TEMPLE. Ann, the daughter of George TEMPLE and Mary, had a son in 1873 who was given the name Pickering TEMPLE. Kath has Ann marrying John PICKERING in Darlington that year.

Bulmer Families Genealogy records only one marriage for James but two family groups for Ann, the first headed by an unnamed male who appears to have given her four children, none of them called “Pickering”. When James and Ann did marry their offspring went into the melting pot of half-siblings at subsequent Bulmer census households.

Bulmer Families gives James’ occupation as “Farmer & Carter at Brickworks”. The Filey censuses show him “at home” in 1851, aged 17, out of town in 1861, a Farmer in 1881 and 1891, and a Carter in 1901. He had a ‘tween census adventure as an Innkeeper.

On Saturday, 22nd September 1878 the Scarborough Mercury reported –


James Bulmer, landlord of the Star Inn, was also summoned for permitting drunkenness in his house on the 4th inst. Sergeant Winpenny proved the case, but as there appeared to be a doubt on the minds of the bench they dismissed it.

More serious trouble found James a year or so later. The following notice appeared in the local paper on Saturday 10th January 1880 –




In the Liquidation of JAMES BULMER.


MESSRS HUME & FOWLER have received instructions from Mr ROBERT MITCHELL, Public Accountant, 2, St. Nicholas Street, Scarborough, (the Trustee in the above Estate), to SELL by AUCTION, on TUESDAY, January 13th, 1880, the following HORSES, FARM PRODUCE, IMPLEMENTS, HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, &c., viz.:-

Four Horses, aged.

About 4 Tons of Good Hay.

Do. 5 Tons of Barley Straw.

Do. 5 Tons of Oat Straw.

Do. 4 Tons Rakings.

Lorrie in excellent condition, to carry 2 tons; 2 carts, trappings for 3 horses, plough, 2 pairs harrows, stone roller, turnip-cutter, weighing machine, corn mill, 3 wheelbarrows, 5 forks, 2 rakes, 18 shelter boards, winnowing machine, stone trough, shovels, corn bin, scuttle, grindstone, &c.

About 5 Tons of Swede Turnips.

D. 30 Tons Flint Stones and Gravel.

The Straw and Stones will be sold in a Field near the Railway Station.

THE CONTENTS OF THE “STAR INN” consist of dining table, 8 small chairs, arm-chair, mantel glass, small table, fender, fire-irons, tapestry carpet, hearth rug, muslin shades, &c. Tap-room.-Eight small chairs, two armchairs, long-seat, with back; large round table, eight days’ clock, chimney glass, pictures, fender, fire-irons, &c. Also, Contents of 4 Bedrooms, Kitchen and Scullery Utensils, &c.

Sale to commence at Eleven o’clock a.m. prompt.

James didn’t know it then, but he still had 30 years of life ahead of him. At the 1881 census, there were ten mouths to feed, including seven children he claimed as his own, aged 19 down to 2, plus 8-year-old boarder, Pickering TEMPLE. (James had married Ann TEMPLE in 1875.) Sensibly, he seems to have gone back to doing what he knew best, farming and transporting people and their products around the district, though he still got into scrapes.

Scarborough Mercury, Saturday 9th April 1881


At the Bridlington Petty Sessions on Saturday, James Bulmer, carriage driver, Filey, was summoned for keeping a dog without having a license. Sergt. Cooper stated that on March 14th, from a complaint that he had received, he went to defendant’s house and asked him if he had a dog, to which he replied “Yes.” Witness said it had been worrying some sheep or lambs. He said “Yes, it worried a lamb at Muston to-day.” Witness said, “I wonder you keep it, you know it got Cogill into trouble the other day.” Witness was directed to an outhouse, and there saw the dog. He then asked the defendant if he had got the license for it, and he replied in the negative, as he had not paid Cogill for it yet, and did not know whether it was his or not. Witness told him that he was responsible for it and for what it had done. He replied that he knew that. Defendant stated that he only had the dog on trial for a week or two, and the first day he had it out it worried a lamb so he sent it back.—The Chairman said there was a doubt in the case, and gave the defendant the benefit of it, and dismissed the case.

Four years later James put in the lowest tender for scavenging, which the Local Board accepted. (James wanted £43, Mr APPLEBY £65 and Mr G. GEDGE £50.)

Two years before his death in 1911 a James BULMER was in the dock with George BULMER, Thomas SMITH, and two or more characters called STONEHOUSE. Liquidated James was 74 years old so the BULMER facing the disapproval of the Lord of the Manor could have been his sons, James (born 1864) and George (born 1879). In the 1901 Census, the brothers were both living with their parents at 81 Queen Street, James described as a general labourer and George a carriage proprietor.

Scarborough Mercury, Friday 14 May 1909


In the Chancery Division on Friday, Mr Justice Neville had before him a motion in the action Mitford v. Bulmer and others, which related to foreshore rights in the neighbourhood of Filey. The plaintiff moved for an interim injunction to restrain the defendants from carting or carrying away stone, sand, gravel, seaweed, etc… from the foreshore.

Mr Maugham, who appeared for the plaintiff, said that as regarded three defendants, he asked for no order, except that the costs of the motion should be costs in the action. They were James Bulmer, George Bulmer, and Thomas Smith. Their case was that there was a narrow strip of land that did not form part of the foreshore, and it was from this that they had been taking the sand, etc. As regarded the defendants Stonehouse, however, he should submit there was a clear case, and he asked for an interlocutory injunction.

His Lordship granted an injunction against the last-named defendants until the trial or further order.

I don’t know how this case concluded but my money would be on his Lordship winning it. James BULMER Senior died on February 16th, 1911 and was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard. He shares a grave with his father.


1830 · Francis CRIMLIS(K) · 786 Crimlisk G642

There is a photograph of Francis and a family tree here.

1768 · Dorothy GRINDALE

Baptised in Folkton, five miles from Filey, she is “Dolly” and only has her father for company on the Shared Tree.

Thirty years earlier, John GRINDALL, son of William, was baptised at Filey St Oswald’s. On Filey Genealogy & Connections as John Grindale, this man married Elizabeth REYNOLD in Folkton. Whether or not this makes a family unit, the trail has gone cold from here. I wonder what happened to them.

1856 · Thomas Jennings KNAPTON & Editha Sarah Ann FOSTER · 985 Harland C37

It appears that Editha was named after her maternal grandmother, but FamilySearch prefers both women to be “Edith”.

1839 · Frederick LORRIMAN · 480 Lorriman G372

1942 · John Webster BULMER · 1849 Bulmer E60

John Webster is not related by blood to “complicated” James.

Townscape 75 · Seafront

Thomas Knapton Squared

I messaged a contributor to the two-in-one representation of Thomas Jennings Knapton on FamilySearch Tree and received a swift response. Graham told me that his Thomas had died in the Warren Vale Disaster. He wasn’t sure how to correct the record, so I offered to do it if he gave me the green light to do so.

After being given the go-ahead, I first sought to complete the coal miner’s family – and found five children to add to the existing four. I then removed “my” Thomas Jennings Knapton from the Rawmarsh family’s page.


I’m sure there are corrections still to be made to the information illustrated above, but the main task of presenting two individuals rather than one hybrid coal miner/draper is done.

If you have the eyes of an eagle and read the account of the 1851 tragedy at Warren Vale, you may notice a discrepancy in the age of John Knapton. In the account he is said to be the son of Thomas and aged 16. His age at death in the GRO Index is 14 – and his birth was registered in the second quarter of 1850. I have a vivid image in mind of a child aged only eight or nine working in a mine, an illustration in a 60s school textbook. So, if John went down with his father at age 11 going on 12 there may not have been a sanction against Thomas. Perhaps there are other explanations for the discrepancies in John’s age in various sources.

As if the thought of over fifty miners losing their lives in the methane explosion isn’t sad enough, the birth registration of Thomas and Sarah’s youngest child indicates that the mother had recently conceived when her husband was killed. Thomas would not have known he would become a father for the ninth time. It is no comfort that he was spared the grief of burying young Sarah shortly after her birth.


Given the carryings-on in the Houses of Commons and Lords this past week, it is hardly surprising that Cream’s ‘Politician’ has become an earworm for me. And then, a couple of days ago, near the end of a Jonathan Kellerman thriller…

The murderer’s daughter, Grace, is having a long-distance phone call with her lawyer and former social worker, Wayne. They are discussing an acquaintance, and Wayne is becoming angry.

‘Not very human,’ said Wayne, with sudden fury in his voice, ‘You’re the one with the Ph.D. Grace. Tell me: Why doesn’t evolution select against human monsters?’

A host of answers flooded Grace’s head. Including: Where else would we get our politicians?

Next stop civil disobedience, martial law, civil war? The wilful destruction of democracy by human monsters isn’t going to be pretty.


Doubting Thomas

KNAPTONthosjenningsThis is the duplicate record for Thomas Jennings KNAPTON that caught my attention yesterday. Born in 1815, “my” Thomas was 41 years old when he married Sarah SMITH in Homerton, Middlesex. The couple’s first child, Annie Elizabeth, can be seen in the screenshot (left) You will notice that the children with the other Sarah were born between 1840 and 1849. It is theoretically possible that this was Thomas’ first family.

I already knew, however, that my Thomas Jennings, masquerading as “NAPTON”, was working as a draper’s assistant in High Ousegate, York in 1841, a single man living in the home of his employer, Robert BAINBRIDGE.

The GRO Index was available first thing this morning. Checking the births of the quartet of children revealed that their mother’s surname at birth was also SMITH. At the 1841 census, a Thomas Knapton and his wife Sarah were enumerated in Rawmarsh, Rotherham, with two children age 3 and 1. John, the youngest child in the screenshot, had an older brother, William. This Thomas worked as a coal miner. The next ten years saw the arrival of Mary, Elizabeth, Ann and George. Mary, of course, was missing from the 1851 household in Green Lane, Rawmarsh, but William, 13, was working down the pit and John, 10, would soon follow him below ground. With three wage-earners towards the end of 1851, the family may have been managing just fine.

Five days before Christmas, Thomas and John were killed in a methane explosion at the Warren Vale pit. They were among 32 miners whose funerals took place on the 23rd December. Nine more were buried the following day. In all, 52 men and boys lost their lives in the disaster. There is an account of the event online here.

Mr Burgin went down the pit again and gave an account of the operations that went on to […] inspect the mine and recover the bodies.

“We then got some tarpaulin sheets and nailed them in place of the trapdoors and stoppings, which were all blown down. We continued on the level where we found six bodies. We then went to the No.3, or far most bank, and found Thomas Knapton, Henry Gothard, Joshua Bugg, Charles Sylvester and Benjamin Lane.

They were all dead…

In 1861, Elizabeth, now 17, and her brother George, 12, were living with their uncle John Knapton, a coal owner and farmer. I couldn’t find their mother’s death as a Knapton. I think she remarried before 1861 but I haven’t attempted to trace her.

A sad case of mistaken identity on the Shared Tree.