Bird 119 · Wren

Seven Filey fishermen lost their lives on this day in 1919. See FV ‘Emulator’.

A ‘Member Tree’ on Find my Past brings George WHEELER into the world on 28 March. The 1939 Register transcription plumps for 16 April. The page image is somewhat afflicted.

I am going to stand by the 15th.

Filey Genealogy & Connections had little to say about Hannah Elizabeth beyond noting her baptism. I hoped she would have a life but sadly she died thirteen days after being brought to Christ. Her mother died in her thirties – as did her father’s second wife, Jane SHEPHERD. James Luddington made older bones but died in 1875 aged 52.

I haven’t photographed the grave of Williamson BAXTER and Mary Jenkinson EDMOND. “Kerbs” are usually sad, neglected affairs. But here is the Crimlisk transcription (with burial register notes) –

In loving memory of my dear husband WILLIAMSON BAXTER, died 2nd April 1950 (sic) aged 48.

Also of his wife, MARY JENKINSON BAXTER, died 15th Dec 1953, aged 60


‘He suffered much but murmured not’

The EYFHS entry (2173) has the following Burial Register notes:

1940 Apr 5. Williamson Baxter, Filey Reservoir. 48.

1953 Dec 18. Mary Jenkinson Baxter, 98 West Rd., Filey. 60.

Citation: Filey, St Oswald’s Monumental Inscriptions, Part 3: 2173, page 69. East Yorkshire Family History Society, Publication No. M304, © 2015

The place where Williamson’s life ended is not as alarming as it seems. When the Register was taken a few months earlier he was living at Reservoir Cottage, Airey Hill. He worked as the Caretaker of the Filey Reservoirs. There were two ponds back then but one seems to have dried up. You can see the other by entering these coordinates into a search engine: 54.174397, -0.295605.

Another Mistaken Identity

I have given up all of today to Henry Ephraim SPIVEY. He led me in a merry dance.

Two starting points –

Of the few crumbs of information behind the screens, the most useful is the fact that Henry’s father was a Primitive Methodist Minister.

Two sources are attached to Henry on the Shared Tree. The birth registration truly introduces our birthday boy. The 1901 census source belongs to a different Henry Spivey. The blue hints provided by FamilySearch are all good for Henry who married Robina COMBE and had a daughter, Elizabeth.

I made a beeline for the 1881 Census and found that Henry had two brothers and two sisters. The GRO Births Index gave their mother’s maiden name as STORR.

In 1891, Henry is a fifteen-year-old schoolboy – and then he disappears. I snooped around my available sources and picked up a couple of leads pointing to the Far East. In 1910 Mr and Mrs H E Spivey boarded a ship and travelled first class to Singapore.

Could they have been the couple that had married four years earlier in Bangkok?

And is this our Henry anyway? Distressing news brings confirmation that it is.

Henry appears to have left nothing but the payout from his life insurance and that, eventually, went to his wife, Bellarmina.

I sought out his school online in the hope of finding him on a list of headmasters. It is a select establishment for boys of wealthy parents now.

I found no trace of Henry’s memory there but here is his last resting place, courtesy of Billion Graves. (There is also a Find A Grave link on FamilySearch. The photo there shows the whole stone and you can just make out “Filey” on the base of the cross. Henry’s ID isG6L7-WTP.)

I have used the time left in the day to put some sources on the Shared Tree. To the end, Family Search thought Robina Combe’s husband could be a duplicate of Filey’s Henry Ephraim.) I will update this post with its Anniversary Grid in the next day or two.

Landscape 154 · Hedge

By the Old Tip

Update 12 April 2022

Here is the missing Anniversary Grid –

Evelyn Mary and her sister Henrietta were born in Derbyshire – and I could not find either on the Shared Tree, nor any forebears or descendants. I had to start their GEORGE line from scratch.

They are buried in St Oswald’s. Henrietta’s probate record indicates that she was still living in the family home in Derby at the end of her life and was probably on holiday in Filey with Evelyn when she died.

Richard was the husband of elder sister Frances Elizabeth. I haven’t put her on the Shared Tree yet.

“Lord Help Me”

About ten weeks after his Christmas Day wedding, William JENKINSON sailed for the North Sea fishing ground aboard the yawl Jane and Elizabeth, skipper Bayes COWLING. Thirty miles from the coast the lines were cast from the yawl’s coble – and then a “sudden gale sprung up”. (All quotes are from a syndicated report that appeared in many local newspapers around the country.) Many other fishing boats ran for shelter but Captain Cowling, quite reasonably, chose to bring in his lines and their catch before heading for shore. Three of the crew, William Jenkinson, the skipper’s son Thomas Hunter Cowling and William SAYERS, brought in fourteen lines and then went out to haul the remaining seven.

…a fearful sudden sea rose and struck the coble, filling her with water. This caused her soon to upset, throwing the crew into the sea. Whilst they were struggling in the water, Cowling caught hold of a bowl and an oar, Jenkinson two bowls, and Sayers grabbed hold of the coble, which was bottom uppermost, and got upon it. Soon after he was joined by Jenkinson, but Cowling could not reach it. The Captain, who had seen this sad affair, at once ran the yawl towards the men, and whilst passing, Cowling seized hold of a “fender” which hung over the yawl’s side. One of the boys on board got hold of the hair of his head and held him up, whilst his father, the captain, seized a rope and life-belt, which he threw to the two on the coble. His son was then pulled in, and the yawl turned round to the rescue of [the] others, but on getting to the coble, Sayers alone was holding on nearly exhausted. A second sea had washed them off, but fortunately he had again got hold of the coble. Poor Jenkinson, on attempting to do so, fell backwards, exhausted, exclaiming, “Lord help me,” and was never seen again. Jenkinson was about 26 years of age, and has left a young widow, he having been married only three months.

There may be an official record of William’s death somewhere but, lacking his recovered body, there isn’t a civil registration. He isn’t remembered on a stone in the churchyard and he wasn’t with Jane long enough to leave a genetic inheritance.

Jane gave birth to a daughter about four years later, father unknown, and eight years after William’s death she married again and had five children with Thomas JOHNSON.

With the only evidence of his passing being a brief, if widely disseminated, news item, it isn’t too surprising that he has not yet been accurately represented on the FamilySearch Tree.

As I write this, Ann CAPPLEMAN is still William’s wife on FST. One of the blue hints by his name on the pedigree leads to his rightful marriage to Jane CAPPLEMAN. (The women are first cousins, their common ancestors being Thomas CAPPLEMAN and the Jane WEBSTER of Sunday’s post.)

England Marriages 1538-1973; page image via Find My Past

Jane and Elizabeth

There are several fishing vessels with this name in Captain Smith’s database but none are yawls. There is a yawl called Jane Elizabeth, built in Scarborough in 1867 and registered SH70. The date of first ownership is annoyingly given as“7???” in my digitization of the Captain’s handwritten pages. However, the owners are “Thomas Hunter COWLING & Bayes COWLING, fishermen of Filey & Robert CAMMISH, grocer of Filey”. In Filey Genealogy & Connections, Robert has just the one child, with Jane ELDERS, baptised Jane Elizabeth in August 1861. You can find her on FST. A case, perhaps, of coincidence challenging a possible recording, transcription or digitization error!


Two Brothers, Valued

At the  1861 Census, William JENKINSON was living at Hope Cottages, Filey, with his wife Frances and infant daughter Mary Elizabeth. His younger brother, Matthew, was in Mosey’s Yard with Jane née COATES and two children, William and Mary.

William was master of the yawl Hope, and in a gale on November 2nd that year he was lost.


At the beginning of December two years later, Matthew was drowned from his coble in Filey Bay.  The Yorkshire Gazette of 5th December carried a vivid account of the tragedy.

Two Lives Saved by “The Hollon” Life-Boat

This life-boat only arrived at Filey last week, and was the gift of the Lord Mayor of York, by whom it was formally presented to the town of Filey on Thursday last. On Tuesday several cobles went off in the morning for the purpose of fishing. The wind was rising at the time, and about noon blew a gale from S.S.E., with a heavy sea running into the bay. Seeing that the cobles would return shortly from the fishing ground, the new life-boat was speedily got out, manned and launched, in readiness to render assistance. The arrival of the boats was watched with great excitement. One boat upset near the shore, and the crew, consisting of three men, were thrown into the sea. The poor fellows had to struggle for life, and eventually the despairing cries of those on shore were changed to joy as they saw the last of the three men washed upon the beach, the lives of all having been saved. Shortly afterwards, another coble came in sight, the storm, in the meantime, having increased. When some distance from the shore, a huge breaker lifted the frail boat as if it were a toy, upsetting it and throwing the crew into deep water. The life-boat sped to their assistance, and after great exertions, succeeded in rescuing two of the men from a watery grave.; but the third, named Matthew Jenkinson, was never seen after the boat upset. He has left a wife and four children.


Two months after Matthew’s death, widow Jane took their fifth child to St Oswald’s to be baptized.

The Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society is now 178 years old and still “making a difference”.

One would expect Jane to receive more support from the Society but how much did the widows receive in today’s money? £6 5s. doesn’t seem a lot, does it?

There are several online calculators and those offering a single, and simple, answer usually satisfy curiosity. In this instance, Frances received £535 at 2016 prices. What’s that, roughly – two or three weeks’ wages?

The £535 figure is a calculation of the changing “real price” of a “commodity” valued at £6 5s over time, arrived at by multiplying the original sum by the annual percentage increase in “RPI”.

There are other ways to make the calculation, though, and they give wildly different figures.

Historic opportunity cost: £631

Assessing the labour value/labour earnings/labour cost of our commodity: £4,162

Income value/economic status: £5,606

Economic cost: £14,950

These terms are helpfully defined at Measuring Worth. For the two bereft Jenkinson families, I think “labour earnings” might be the most appropriate. So imagine Frances receiving about £4,000 and Jane £7,700. That would have helped a lot, perhaps, but both widows married again – Jane in 1870 to John PRESTON and Frances in 1872 to Thomas SEXTON.

William and Matthew’s parents have, like the CREASERs yesterday, loads of IDs to sort out on FamilySearch Tree. I have made a start but suggest you go to Filey Genealogy & Connections if you are interested in following the family fortunes in pedigree form.