A Problem Family

George LEAK, an agricultural labourer, and his wife Ann were caught in Ingleby Berwick by the 1841 census enumerator. With the couple was Margaret NELSON, aged two. A fellow recorded as George LEAH had married Ann Nelson in Thirsk, 25 miles to the south, a few months earlier. Ten years later, Margaret had the Leak surname, two sisters and a brother at the family home in Balk End, Scarborough. George was then a railway labourer and the only one given a birthplace – Aldborough, about fifteen miles south of Thirsk.

Ann was pregnant when the enumerator called and gave birth a month or so later. The baby girl was baptised at Filey St Oswald’s on the last day of July. (Lebberston is in Filey Parish and Scarborough Registration District.)

Just over a year later, another daughter with the same given names was baptised at Filey’s parish church.

Birth registrations tell a different story.

A death registration in 1851 was for Jane Hannah…

…but she was buried somewhere in St Oswald’s churchyard as Jane Ann five days after baptism.

After the baptism of Jane Ann a year later I could find no further information on the family.

Christopher AUTON was born in Patrick Brompton near Bedale and found his wife Margaret WILLIAMSON in Leyburn, a small market town about seven miles distant. They raised a family of ten children in York, where Christopher worked on his own account as a painter, plumber, and glazier. One of their sons, William Williamson carried on the same trade in Filey. After Christopher died, Margaret spent some of her short widowhood in Clarence Terrace, Filey, with William and his wife Jane. Christopher and Margaret’s representation on the Shared Tree is somewhat sketchy.

Horace William HOLSWORTH’s father worked in Great Yarmouth as an oilskin dresser for seamen and gentlemen’s outfitters. In 1916, Horace was a pupil teacher but in 1917 joined the army and served in France with the 12th Bn King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Demobbed in 1919 he was given a Government Allowance of £120 a year for three years and attended Sheffield University.

Meanwhile, in the north of England, Durham-born John Thomas WAGGITT married Annie Hoggard HAXBY and settled in her hometown, Filey. While he worked as a hairdresser, Annie kept a lodging house on the Crescent. Lilian was the eldest of four daughters and married Horace in 1923. It would be interesting to know how the two families came to be connected. More so because Lilian’s youngest sister Edith had married Horace’s older brother Harry five years earlier.

Harry was also a teacher, for many years the headmaster of Tibenham and Pulham St Mary School in Norfolk. In the summer of 1963, Horace and Lilian attended Harry’s cremation service at St Faith’s, Norwich. Edith was supported by her daughter Daphne, now Mrs INGHAM. The daughter of Horace and Lilian, Mrs Hilary ROSS, was also present. Lilian still had almost thirty years to live; Horace only four.

Theodosia POCKLEY makes the grid because she is the only person in FG&C who died on this day. This could be an error though – FamilySearch says she was buried on 31 July. The Shared Tree doesn’t make it clear that Theodosia was from the elite OSBALDESTON family. Sir Richard (1655-1728) was her grandfather but the link that would connect them has not been made yet. (From her mother KZ56-W42, there is a direct line to Alfred the Great, King of Wessex L8MB-ZF7.)

Scotsman William MUNRO married Agnes BARBER in Edinburgh in February 1832. It seems to have been an extended family decision to travel south and set up a home in Filey. On census night 1841, a dwelling in Main Street sheltered William, a surgeon, his father Donald, grocer, and younger brothers John, confectioner, and Donald junior, an engineer. Agnes had died the year before, and William’s mother Janet must have been away visiting. She died in 1843. Three servants, one of them male, ran the household. There was another Munro family enumerated in Bridlington that year who may have been close relatives.

William added to the fees he collected as a doctor. A note in FG&C reports –  

A warm bath may be procured by applying at the house of Mr Munro, surgeon, who is possessed of a portable one, manufactured out of tin on an improved construction, which can be either lent out, or persons may be accommodated with it at Mr Munro’s house.

Erected to the memory of WILLIAM MUNRO, late surgeon at this place, who departed this life on 27th July 1841, aged 36 years.

Also, of [unreadable] his wife, who departed this life on the 25th Dec. 1840, aged 40 years.

Also, of JANET, wife of Donald Munro and Mother of the above, who died the 22nd December 1843

Landscape 160 · Cayton Bay

Neighbours · 1

WilliamGravesWilliam Munro and Graves Bulmer rest eternally in St Oswald’s churchyard, about a hundred paces from each other. In life, for a short time, they were near neighbours. In October 1834 a notice in a local newspaper gave advanced notice of an Auction of properties in Filey to be held early the following year.


Also, two other MESSUAGES or DWELLING-HOUSES, one of them newly erected, and now in the occupation of Mr. Wm Dunn, and the other occupied by Mr. Munro, Surgeon.

Also, a neat STONE COTTAGE, with the Barn and Out-buildings adjoining, in the occupation of Graves Bulmer. Also the BATH-HOUSE, fitted up with Hot and Cold Baths, and a piece of Building Ground in the Town Street.

A note in William’s record in Filey Genealogy &Connections states:-

1823:  a warm bath may be procured by applying at the house of Mr Munro, surgeon, who is possessed of a portable one, manufactured out of tin on an improved construction, which can be either lent out, or persons may be accommodated with it at Mr M’s house.

(The date “1823” must be treated with suspicion. A 17-year-old surgeon?)

At the 1841 Census, four Munro men were living in Main Street, Filey. William is first named, age 35, occupation Surgeon. Donald, 65, is a Grocer; John, 20, a Confectioner; Donald, 25, an Engineer. Also enumerated are a Surgeon’s Assistant, two female servants and a boy, 10, also a servant. William’s wife, Agnes, had died the previous year but his mother (and the elder Donald’s wife) was still living but enumerated elsewhere.

In 1851, Donald senior is living alone in Murray Street, Filey, age given as 74 and described as a widower and “Out Pensioner of Chelsea and Bath Keeper”. I don’t know what happened to the younger Donald or John, but the deaths of William, his mother, and wife are recorded on this headstone.


Erected to the memory of WILLIAM MUNRO, Late Surgeon at this place, who departed this life on 27th July 1841, aged 36 years.

Also of [blank] his Wife, who departed this life on the 25th Dec. 1840, aged 40 years.

Also of JANET, Wife of Donald Munro and Mother of the above, who died the 22nd December 1843.

The East Yorkshire Family History Society’s transcription gives the name of William’s wife as “—ES” but the first three letters of Agnes can, just about, be recognized. The GRO Death Index entry offers confirmation.

Name: Age at Death (in years): 
GRO Reference: 1840  D Quarter in SCARBROUGH  Volume 24  Page 306

William’s father died in the June quarter of 1861, probably in Filey because his death was registered in Scarborough District, but I can’t find him in the census, taken that year on 7 April.

I’ve mentioned the Munro ethnicity – and don’t have the slightest idea what brought the family to Filey. I turned to FamilySearch, hoping to find William’s origins. I searched for him in Scotland with a birth year between 1804 and 1806 and 15 Williams of that ilk were returned. Only one had a mother called Janet.


I checked the christening source.


“Daniel” is a caution. But wait!



And on Find My Past there is a transcription from Scottish Marriages 1561 – 1910 recording the union of Donald MUNRO and Janet SHEPHERD at Canongate, Edinburgh, 28 May 1803. These pieces of evidence suggest that “Daniel” on the christening record is a transcription error.

I haven’t found a cause of William’s early death but he clearly made an impression on the people of the area. On 11 March 1878, under the challenging title Monuments of Negligence at Filey, a gentleman began his letter to the editor of The Scarborough Mercury thus:-

Sir,-Through seeing in your paper for some weeks past sundry notices relative to the ancient town of Filey, I was induced to visit the place, and would fain call back to memory the names of men such as Dr. Munro, Dr. Cortis, Mr. Suggitt, and many others who were ever alive to the necessity of enhancing the interests of this romantic spot, and by them a spirit of enterprise was manifested in attending to the wants of a growing population.

‘Sinus Salutaris’

Tomorrow I’ll tell what I know about Neighbour BULMER.