Frances and Francis

They were brother and sister, born at the end of the 18th century and baptized in Filey. Their mother, Frances, was unmarried and there are few sources that reference her. The “best fit” indicates that her mother was also Frances, married to John MORGAN.

For most of their adult lives, Frances and Francis went their separate ways. Francis, an agricultural labourer, is working for George GARDINER on a Muston farm in 1851. Ten years later he gives his birthplace as Muston and is living-in at Carr House Farm, a mile or so from the village. In 1871 he is with Frances in Filey. It is the only census (of four) that gives her an occupation.

The lodger that has their family name is George Francis WILLIS. In 1861 Frances tells the enumerator he is her nephew and offers his true name. (His given age, 5, is more accurate than “18” at the 1871 census.)

In 1851 Frances is described as a pauper and shares her small cottage in Church Street with another – and different – young lodger.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has two boys called William Willis born in 1843. One has a substantial pedigree. He marries Mary KNAGGS and they name one of their daughters Frances. The other William is without parents, or a future that takes him beyond the age of 22. Searching for a glimpse of the two Williams in newspapers, the one who married becomes a local hero when he rescues three children from drowning in Filey Bay. The year before the other William dies he falls into bad company and ends up in court. (More about this later.)

In 1841 Frances Morgan is living in King Street, Filey, in a household headed by Timothy HOPPER.

She is possibly the fisherman’s housekeeper. With them are Robert WILLIS (a sailor) and Rachel nee HOTHAM, and their children Sarah and William. The boy’s full name is William Hotham Willis and when he is seven years old his Aunt Nancy (Rachel’s sister) names her last born child William. It is this William who is living with Frances in 1851, a consequence perhaps of his mother’s death in July 1845 when he was two years old.

Clearly, Frances Morgan had a close connection to the Willises but I have yet to confirm a blood relationship with “the nephew” in 1871. Not knowing for certain who the mother of George Francis Willis is doesn’t help.

George is the father of one of the boys who died as a result of the Bridlington rocket explosion (last Thursday’s post). The birth registration suggests his father is not known.

WILLIS, George Francis, Mother’s Maiden Surname: -. GRO Reference: 1856 J Quarter in SCARBOROUGH Volume 09D Page 278.

On Filey Genealogy & Connections George has a wife, but no children or forebears. Mary Helen AINSWORTH is represented on the Shared Tree [MGHS-L96] with her parents, five siblings and her paternal grandmother.

I don’t yet have firm evidence that Sarah Willis was George’s mother. The Hotham sisters both named their firstborn Willis children “Sarah” in 1834. Nancy’s Sarah married John MOORE two years after George’s birth and had at least five children. I have not found Rachel’s Sarah after the 1841 census and think she is more likely to have given birth to George. Or maybe it was someone else altogether.

I have a bit more research to do regarding the bad company William Willis kept so will tell that story tomorrow.

Found Object 42 · A Framed Picture

Cliff path near Primrose Valley

The Herring House

Edmund CRAWFORD was 32 years old in 1851 and working as a fisherman. The red granite stone marking his grave in St Oswald’s churchyard tells anyone who passes that he died a man of substance.

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In 1861 he was a fishmonger, at the next two censuses a fish merchant and in 1885, a year before his death, he owned a herring house. That summer, an awful event took place there.

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I wrote briefly about this in 2017 (Two Graces) and at greater length in Looking at Filey. Disappointingly, the British Library still hasn’t restored the old LaF so I will re-post the story on REDUX in the next few days.

Frank GRICE (not Grace) died of “natural causes” in jail, before completing his two-year sentence. Mary Lizzie died three years later, aged thirteen. I put her on the Shared Tree earlier today and while checking some information in the course of writing this post I happened upon something quite grotesque. You will see in Two Graces that I was upset that Mary Lizzie’s headstone was moved close to the grave of her abuser. I have just noticed that Frank’s older brother, George William, named his firstborn child Horatio Wilkinson Grice less than six months after the assault. Mary Lizzie’s father, Horatio Wilkinson, had drowned from the yawl Integrity in 1883. George was married to a third cousin of Mary Lizzie’s mother, Mary née WILLIS. But why…?

Metal 12 · Coble Landing

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‘Trio’ Again

A year ago I wrote about the loss of six Filey fishermen from the yawl Trio, off Spurn Point. I said that the only man not remembered in the churchyard was also absent from the FamilySearch Tree. He was there, but masquerading as the son of William and Ann TAIT.

Ann had given birth to her first child in 1834 and her ninth, and last, twenty years later, when she was aged about 44. It was possibly a misunderstanding that caused the enumerator in 1871 to add Robert to her roster, though she would have then been about 54 at the time of his birth.

Robert was the illegitimate son of William and Ann’s eldest daughter, Rachel, but only a few weeks after he was baptised she married Charles VEARY. Whether or not he was the boy’s biological father, Charles accepted him as his own.

Charles and Rachel seem to have had just one child in marriage, John William.

I think I have set the records straight on FST, though there is more information to add. Find the unfortunate Robert here. If you go to the pedigree you will see that Charles is a WILLIS. He seems to have adopted this surname shortly after he married. The GRO Index gives his “bachelor name” as Charles Willas VEARY. Filey Genealogy & Connections shows him to be the illegitimate son of Susannah VAREY. His sister, Sarah (Varey) WILLIS married Filey fisherman and boat owner William HUNTER. They had eleven children together and the name Varey (usually in parentheses) is occasionally met on the community tree. I have no idea who the original “Willis” may have been.

Yawl ‘Dorothy’

Captain Syd has Dorothy in his database, registered as SH 142, and built in Scarborough by T. W. Walker in 1883. She was 63’7 long, lute stern, weighed 44 tons and worked out of Hull initially (H1348) before being brought “home” in 1891.  Her first Scarborough owner was fisherman William MENNELL. The vessel passed through several sets of co-owners and numerous skippers, though only five of the latter are listed. She was broken up in April 1905.

In late April 1902, she brought melancholy news to Scarborough that one of the six crew, John COLLING, had died in his sleep as Dorothy sailed from the Dogger to Grimsby with her catch.

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John was 28 years old and his widow, Elizabeth Ann née WILLIS, a year younger. Betsy Jenkinson Colling was born twelve or so hours after her father died. As she grew older she would surely have been told about Thomas Cammish Willis COLLING, a younger brother who had lived for just 5 months in 1900.

Elizabeth Ann did not marry again and died in 1961 aged 86.

Betsy married Thomas Robert CRIMLISK, known as “Tommy A” (to distinguish him from Tommies B and C), and lived to the equally grand age of 85.

I put John on FST a few weeks ago and added Elizabeth Ann and the children today. John was one of 13 children and, although two siblings died as infants, two others easily passed their biblical span, four reached their eighties and three celebrated their 90th birthdays.

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In loving memory of JOHN COLLING, the beloved husband of ELIZABETH A. COLLING, who died at sea on the yawl ‘Dorothy’, April 26 1902, aged 28 years.

‘They sleep in Jesus free from pain

Our loss though great to them is gain

Beloved by all who knew them here

And to their kindred none more dear

Yet hope through Jesu’s death is given

That soon we meet with them in Heaven.’

THOMAS C. W. COLLING their beloved child who died Dec 20 1901 aged 5 months.

Also the above named ELIZABETH ANN who died Jany. 20 1961 aged 86 years.

‘In Heavenly love abiding’

FV ‘Joan Margaret’

It is thought that HMT D. V. Fitzgerald triggered an enemy mine in the River Humber on this day, 1941. The explosion sank the motor fishing boat Joan Margaret, and the herring drifter Gloaming, with the loss of eight lives.

There are two posts about this event on the archived Looking at Filey:-

‘Joan Margaret’

‘Joan Margaret’ Revisited

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‘Joan Margaret’ about 1934, Grimsby New Fish Dock, courtesy Martin Douglas

Wreck Site gives the location of the event, details about the vessels and their crews. Joan Margaret, Gloaming.

Below is a list of those killed with links to their Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) web pages and, for the Filey men, links to their pedigrees on Filey Genealogy and Connections (FG&C). At the time of writing, only George WILLIS can be found on FamilySearch Tree. (I haven’t looked for the Gloaming men on FST.)

 

Richard HAXBY, CWGC, FG&C

Thomas Edmond PEARSON, CWGC, FG&C

George Robert PEARSON, CWGC, FG&C

John William POWLEY, CWGC, FG&C

George WILLIS, CWGC, FG&C, FST

Charles A. LITTLE, CWGC

William S. REDGRAVE, CWGC

Robert SWANN, CWGC

‘Lucy’ Weathers the Storm

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Information supplied by Captain Syd informs us that Lucy was a 61-foot yawl with a lute stern built in Scarborough in 1878. Her first owner was William JENKINSON of Filey, almost certainly the father of Richard, named above. What eventually became of the vessel isn’t noted.

William JENKINSON is on FamilySearch Tree. Richard has a “guesswork wife” in Filey Genealogy & Connections and it appears that FST isn’t sure about her identity either. But the childless couple has a fine stone in the churchyard. I’ll try to confirm that Mary  Ann was a CRAWFORD when time permits.

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Challenger SH97 was a little smaller than Lucy, and older, built at Whitby in 1857. In 1889 her owners were Richard Williamson HARRISON and Thomas Storry HARRISON, both decorators of West Square, Scarborough. Richard Williamson became sole owner less than two months before Thomas Cammish WILLIS was drowned.

Thomas was alone at Challenger’s helm, about 32 miles east of Flamborough Head, when a huge wave broke over the vessel and swept him overboard. His seven or eight crewmates were presumably unaware of his disappearance for a short time but they would have been unable to save him had they realized immediately he had gone. Thomas left a widow and six children.

Ann KIRBY is another FG&C guesswork wife but I believe Kath chose well. She doesn’t give us the parents but FST has placed Ann as a child with the wrong family.

Two young KIRBY men from the Driffield area, apparently brothers Robert and William, married two COWLING women from Filey, Rachel and Margaret. The two Kirby-Cowling partnerships were near neighbours in Little Kelk when the 1861 Census was taken and paterfamilias Robert Kirby senior lived close by. Unluckily for confirmation purposes, Ann, aged 13, was enumerated that year in Queen Street, Filey, described as the niece of John JENKINSON and his wife Ann, née COWLING. Ann was sister to a Rachel and Margaret but FG&C has the latter marrying Thomas HUNTER.

I’m convinced William, and not Robert junior, was Ann’s father. I haven’t found a marriage record yet but the GRO Online Index and Census records combine to show he had five other children with Margaret COWLING, and the last was named  John Cowling KIRBY, which seems to be a clincher.

Ann and her sister Mary are only enumerated together with William and Margaret in 1851. Mary didn’t marry and she was living with Ann and Thomas Cammish WILLIS in 1891, and with widow Ann and unmarried son David WILLIS in 1911.

All this, of course, is by the by. A man died before his time and six children lost their dad. The eldest, Elizabeth Ann, was then 19 and the youngest, Frances Mary, just three.

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In Loving Memory of our dear mother and father, ANN WILLIS, wife of

THOMAS C. WILLIS, who died May 4 1917, aged 69 years.

Also of the above THOMAS C. WILLIS who was lost at sea,

February 22 1893, aged 47 years.

‘Be ye also ready’

Also, MARY KIRBY, sister of the above, died September 30 1927, aged 78 years.

Also of DAVID WILLIS, their son, died 12 Sep 1944 aged 61.

‘In Heavenly love abiding’

Coastguard

John STOCKDALE was buried in St Oswald’s churchyard this day 1849. His headstone tells us he was  “Late Chief Boatman of the Coastguard Service”.  Born around 1776 he would have been in his mid-forties when the Service was formed, an amalgamation of the Revenue Cruisers, Riding Officers and Preventative Officers. He probably had a varied career, therefore – and must have had a very thick skin. Who loves a Revenue Man?

Well, Susanna GENERY did and they had at least four children. The first two were born in Harwich, Essex. Elizabeth seems to have come next but I can’t find a record of her birth. One source says she entered the world in Filey but her younger brother Joseph was born in New Romney, Kent. It seems unlikely that father John would have returned to Filey after a first stint here. There is a gap of at least six years between the third and fourth children too, so there are probably more to be found.

All four for whom I have some records married. The two boys settled in Filey; John junior had nine children with Mary WHITTLES(?) and Joseph at least three with Susannah WILLIS. Naomi, daughter of John and Mary married Robert SKERRY, brother of Thomas who was lost from SS Mexico. (It’s a small world.)

It is proving rather difficult tracing the journeys of those STOCKDALES who either married away or chose to venture overseas. At least two fetched up in South Africa and probably have adventures to relate.

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Sacred to the memory of JOHN STOCKDALE ((late chief boatman of the coast guard service) who departed this life September 1st, 1849 aged 73 years. Also SUSAN, wife of the above who died February 27th, 1851 aged 72 years.

The couple’s representation on FST is minimal at the moment. FG& C  gives a better idea of John the Boatman and Susan(na)’s impact on the town.

The Hands of Augustine Roulin

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In 1888, about a thousand kilometers south of Savigné l’Evȇque, the birthplace  of Father Eugène Augustine Roulin, Vincent was painting Augustine, the wife of a namesake, Arles  postman Joseph-Etienne Roulin. Father Eugène was then 28 years old and about to be ordained. He was then posted (sorry, couldn’t resist) to the monastery of Silos. For reasons unkown to me he subsequently requested a move to the English congregation of the Order of St Benedict and in October 1905 he fetched up in Filey. He served the community for 27 years before retiring because of ill-health. He spent most of his last years at Ampleforth and died in March 1939. (If you search online for images of Father Roulin you will be lucky to find one in the gallery  of Van Gogh paintings.)

20170703HUNTERgravesFiley1_1mNinety-eight years ago today Father Roulin was standing here, a Roman Catholic officiating at the funeral of a supposedly Protestant Filey fisherman. The event caused some consternation locally and in The Two Funerals of John Hunter on Looking at Filey I reproduced contemporary newspaper reports and commentary at some length.

I haven’t found a record on FamilySearch Tree for Father ROULIN but John HUNTER has at least two. One is a minimal entry triggered by his baptism that doesn’t give his mother’s full name. The other (L87F-L6H) has a warning attached pointing out his birth after his mother’s child-bearing years should have been over. Whoever created this short pedigree added thirty years to the age of Sarah WILLIS.

But was John’s mother really a WILLIS? FST says so but Kath on Filey Genealogy plumps for “Sarah (Varey) WILLIS” – with good reason.  Sarah’s mother Susannah married George WILLIS in December 1821 when she must have been heavy with child. Their son Robert was born in February 1822 and George died the following month. Kath has a note about a smallpox outbreak at the time but George, a fisherman, may have drowned.  Sarah (Varey) WILLIS was born four years later in Filey followed by a brother, Charles (Varey) WILLIS, in 1830. Edward HARRISON didn’t make an honest woman of Susannah until 1835 and they had three children together.

I searched further on FST and discovered  that George WILLIS has four IDs. Two show him in splendid isolation, linked to nobody. A third, linked to his baptism, also gives his date of death. The one ID worth developing is K2FK-1M3. It takes his male line further back than Filey Genealogy, to William WILES from Middleton on the Wolds, born 1682.

In the churchyard photo above the grave next to John’s is the resting place of his parents. The stone’s inscription reads:-

In Loving Memory of WILLIAM HUNTER the Beloved husband of

SARAH HUNTER who died 22 Nov 1881 aged 66 years

‘He suffered long, but mourned not

We watched him day by day

Grew less and less with aching heart

Until he passed away’

Also of the above SARAH HUNTER who died 7th Oct 1897 aged 74 years

‘Her end was peace’

FatherROULIN

The photo of Father Roulin’s hands is a crop from a three-quarter length portrait, a photocopy, given to me by Kath without a date or any attributions to pass on. I joked about Father Roulin being sent to Silos but he wrote a book about the place that can be obtained at Waterstones. And from Amazon you may be able to acquire his 1931 book Vestments and Vesture: Manual of Liturgical Art.