Some Clay Figures

Arthur Travis CLAY died on 16 October 1919 and a probate entry gives two addresses for him – Holly Bank in the West Riding (Rastrick) and Waxholme in the East (Filey). His effects were valued at £58,997 0s. 8d, which is about 3 million pounds in today’s money. For many years, Arthur lived next door to Rastrick House in Brighouse – the “family home” occupied by his older brother, John William.

John died in October 1918, leaving effects valued at £60,650 12s. 1d.

Arthur’s youngest son, Wilfrid Travis Clay, was residing at Holly Bank when he died in 1945, leaving property to the value of £30,281 14s. 6d. – a mere million and a quarter today.

Waxholme, Arthur’s red brick Filey home, is now a Convent. In 1901 he was there on census night, a widower with his five surviving children, aged 24 to 18. Four servants and a “lady housekeeper” described as a “boarder” completed the household.

At the opposite side of the driveway leading to Ravine Hall (now Glen Gardens), Langford Villa was occupied by recently widowed Annie Isabella BIRCH, a son Alan Grant, and two servants. She married Arthur the following year and in 1904 her eldest son, John Kenneth Beaufoy, married Janet Elizabeth Clay, Arthur’s elder daughter.

Langford Villa & Waxholme, 20 September 2021

Path 152 · Long Lane

The Clays of Rastrick

Arthur Travis CLAY was born in the Lake District and Edith Beaumont BATES in Seacombe, on the Wirral, but the fates led them to Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were caught there by the 1871 Census, living in households about five miles apart. Somehow they met and four years later were married, and all six of their children were born in Rastrick. Only the last of them, Guy Travis, failed to survive infancy.

EdithStainedGlassArthur’s family manufactured worsted and he went along for the lucrative ride, though he also tried his hand at farming. It isn’t clear what pushed Arthur to set up a home in Filey. Edith’s ill-health may have been a factor. She died in Rastrick on the 24th August 1889 and her body was brought to Filey for burial five days later. There are two memorials to her at St Oswald’s – a panel in the east window of the church, where she can be seen at the right hand of Jesus, and a Celtic cross in the churchyard bearing a distinctive Pre-Raphaelite inscription.


Several Clays appear in Looking at Filey but I’m somewhat embarrassed to discover that I failed to realize that Edith of the Cross couldn’t possibly have presented school prizes at the National School in 1903! The second Mrs. Arthur Travis Clay was Annie Isabella, nee TURNBULL, the mother of her step daughter Janet Elizabeth CLAY’s husband John Kenneth Beaufoy BIRCH. I wish I could show you this somewhat unusual set of relationships on FamilySearch Tree but, yet again, I have found families of wealth and influence under-represented on the World Tree.

I made a start on bringing “the scattered” together and dealing with duplicate records but found myself being drawn further and further back – to the TRAVIS family – and pulled forward to the two generations of BIRCH men who served with distinction in the Royal Navy during the two World Wars. I also looked further into the car accident that took the lives of Janet Elizabeth and Kate BIRCH.  There’s a lot to do.

Looking at Filey, Waxholme

Calderdale Companion

Photographic pedigree of the descendants of Isaac and Rachel Wilson (pages 14 to 16)