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


Kath’s database in FamilySearch’s Genealogies has “Connections” in its title as a simple way of defusing objections such as, “What have all these Cumberland folk got to do with Filey?”  For the most part they are Kath’s forebears. Fair enough?

Today’s list of “milestones” included the death of Samuel WILBERFORCE in 1873. Could this be the fellow who was bitten by Darwin’s bulldog, Thomas HUXLEY? It sure could.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has 29 members of the WILBERFORCE family. At school in Hull I was in Wilberforce House and although I didn’t bring glory to it with my lack of sporting or any other form of prowess, I was proud to be associated with William the Great Abolitionist in this random way. A Filey connection never occurred to me then or since.

Samuel_Wilberforce,_Vanity_Fair,_1869-07-24“Soapy Sam” was William’s fifth child. This Vanity Fair illustration (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) shows him in his mid-sixties, about four years before his death in Abinger, Surrey (FG&C), “near Leatherhead” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). It is difficult to imagine him on a beach.

If you look at William’s pedigree on FamilySearch (ID  LC7P-XGZ) you will catch the scent of the salt sea in the marriage place of  Sam’s older brother Robert Isaac – Bridlington. Hover over his spouse’s truncated name “Agnes Everilda Frances W…” and a well known local name is revealed – she is a Hunmanby WRANGHAM. On FamilySearch the Wrangham line only stretches to Agnes’ father Francis and mother Agnes (no Maiden Name). Kath takes us further back. Mother Agnes is the daughter of a Colonel Ralph CREYKE and Jane LANGLEY. Father Francis is the son of George WRANGHAM and Anne FALLOWFIELD.

A sad note on FG & C for Frances Everilda Agnes (yes the first and third given names are transposed) states “her mother died after giving birth to her (apparently) and she died within a short time of giving birth to Edward.”