The Man Who Scared Me

When I was nine or ten years old, my mother took me to Wilberforce House in High Street, Hull. Wandering alone through the museum rooms, I saw a dead man and fled in panic to find my mam.

The effigy of the Great Emancipator is still there and you may happen upon him if you take the Virtual Tour. The image above is a screen grab. From memory, the room was more true-to-life in the 1950s than it is now. Today is the anniversary of William’s passing. A couple of years after my scare, I found myself doing a six-year stretch in another Wilberforce House – at Malet Lambert School. The other houses were Andrew Marvell, De La Pole and Ferens. (Times have changed. “Malet Lambert have six houses, each with its own ethos.”)

One of the four sons William had with Barbara Ann SPOONER married into the  Hunmanby WRANGHAMs. I don’t know of a closer Wilberforce connection to Filey but there are now twenty-nine of their ilk in my RootsMagic database. Maybe I am just being sentimental.

Today is also the anniversary of Elsie May BURR’s death. (See yesterday’s post.)

Thomas ROSS, Filey-born, crossed the river and married Maria BANNISTER in Cleethorpes, not long after she had turned eighteen. Though Thomas had generations of fisher forebears, his first census occupation was “clerk”. But he was soon working in Grimsby as a fish merchant and must surely have influenced, encouraged, and supported his second son John Carl when he created what would become a famous British brand.

The Ross Group was a British food company founded in Grimsby, England in 1920. The Ross brand remains prominent in the retail frozen fish market. David Ross, the co-founder and significant shareholder in mobile telephone retailer The Carphone Warehouse, is the grandson of J Carl Ross. Originally a small family-owned fish merchanting company, Ross diversified into trawling, fish processing, and later into food processing in general, expanding into factory farming to become the largest chicken producer in Europe by 1962 via a series of takeovers. The company bought out rival Young’s in 1959 and, after a series of takeovers and mergers and de-mergers, forms part of what is now Young’s Bluecrest, the UK’s largest company in the frozen fish sector. The company’s history is also Grimsby’s industrial history.

William ALDEN is the brother of Joseph (birth anniversary 11 April). Baptised at the old Primitive Methodist Chapel, he married Mary Elizabeth AGARS in 1893 and they had three daughters and a son. Firstborn Hester did not reach her first birthday. In her short time on earth, she seems to have been known as “Maggie”. William worked as a porter at Gristhorpe Station and was only thirty-eight when he died.

Richard Cammish “Snosh” JENKINSON and Lily JOHNSON married at St Oswald’s in 1915. Richard served as a sailor/stoker in the First World War and survived. Sadly, three of the couple’s children born after the war died in infancy. Third child George Thomas Johnson JENKINSON, “Tommy Snosh”, became Mayor of Filey.

A new headstone in the churchyard remembers…

The old stone had this inscription (Crimlisk Survey 1977).

In ever loving memory of ELSIE ALICE, the beloved daughter of GEORGE THOMAS & ANN JOHNSON of Filey, died Dec 29 1920, aged 27 years.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart

For they shall see God’

Also, of the above GEORGE THOMAS JOHNSON, who was drowned near Filey Bay from the Coble ‘Mary’, Dec 14 1896, aged 26 years.

‘Out of the deep I cried

Oh Lord be merciful to me’

And his wife ANN JOHNSON, died March 14 1951, aged 82 years.

‘Sadly missed’

About ten years ago, Lily was identified in a photograph of women and children celebrating Christmas at the Ebenezer in, I guess, the late 1940s. Please let me know if this isn’t her.

Photographer unknown, courtesy of Martin Douglas

Samuel Edward HALL is on his own in Filey Genealogy & Connections but has the company of his wife Charlotte Alice BEST in St Oswald’s churchyard. The couple married in Leeds in 1893 and had two children, Lottie and Frank. In 1911, Samuel worked as a Tailor and Draper.

Flower 33 · Bindweed

Just Williams

I made another attempt today to discover where William ALDEN originated. In the 1881 census, he gives his birthplace as “Hornsey”, Yorkshire. I took this to be Hornsea. In 1891 he offers “Hatfield”, possibly Great Hatfield just four miles from Hornsea. In 1901 it is back to “Hornsey” and in 1911 “Hornsea”. Both William and Ann are wayward in giving their ages but a fuzzy search for William in Skirlaugh Registration District between the start of civil registration and 1843 doesn’t find him.

Looking again at the census, I was distracted by a William Alden working as a Carter in Skipsea with a calculated birth year of 1840, between one and three years older than Ann’s future husband may have been. He gave his birthplace as Thorpe, in Norfolk. The fact that Ann’s parents had married in Skipsea 29 years earlier gave me pause. (Perhaps she met him while visiting relatives and fell instantly in love.) After searching for this William in the Norwich area records, and coming up blank, I’m still wondering.

I also looked in newspapers for a Norfolk William who may have been driven from the county of his birth by a shameful deed. I found a William Alden, who could conceivably have been our man’s father, committing suicide by throwing himself from Whitefriar’s Bridge into the River Wensum. This was in 1856, the place of demise just a few miles from Thorpe. (It was suggested at the coroner’s inquest that “the deceased had suffered from a kind of religious fanaticism, and had also been much depressed in spirits”.)

I think I’ll let Ann’s William rest in peace, with his secrets buried with him in Filey churchyard.

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A Missing Marriage

The funeral of Ann ALDEN took place 102 years ago. She was buried close to her son William, who had died eleven years earlier, and her yearling nephew William Edwin. (A cross marks their spot.)

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On the 1911 census form, William wrote that he had been married for 46 years and that he and Ann had eight children, of whom one had died. I have found the birth registrations of seven children, so one is missing.

I have been unable to find a civil or parish record of the marriage, so that is missing too.

Ann’s firstborn, Joseph, arrived on 11 April 1865, 45 years and 51 weeks before the 1911 census. William’s calculations may have been misjudged but I could not turn up a marriage in England and Wales in 1863 or 1864.

A woman called Ann Raine did, however, marry in Driffield in the last quarter of 1864. This town is not many miles from Lebberston, where the Aldens lived for most of their married life. This Ann’s husband was either Thomas BOYES or William HOLLAND. Before you write both fellows off, say Alden and Holland a few times, aloud. It is a stretch, I know, but perhaps the clerk was hard of hearing.

William and Ann’s children are no trouble to the Scarborough Registrar, though the mother’s maiden surname is not always right as RAIN. So the missing marriage registration is odd. A cursory search for Holland children between 1864 and 1870 found none in the East Riding of Yorkshire. In the same period, Driffield saw an influx of BOYES (both sexes), some of them the offspring of the aforementioned Thomas and his wife Martha STOCKELL.

Marriages Dec 1864
Boyes  Thomas    Driffield  9d 571
Holland  William    Driffield  9d 571
Raine  Ann    Driffield  9d 571
Stockell  Martha    Driffield  9d 571

Source: Free BMD

Find Ann on FamilySearch Tree.