A Letter to the Editor

In 1859, fifteen years after he had seen first wife Sarah laid to rest in Filey churchyard, Jeremiah Hudson sent a flurry of letters to The Scarborough Mercury on the subject of the Harbour of Refuge, proposed for this part of the coast. Filey folk were most enthusiastic about having the facility built at their village but Jeremiah was convinced it was the worst of sites. Scarborough was safer, but the people didn’t want it, thinking that the convicts who would build it might frighten the summer visitors away. Bridlington (Burlington) was a better location still but there didn’t seem to be too much support there for the idea either. The fight for the Harbour at Filey would go on for several decades before steam overwhelmed sail and sudden storms became less of a threat to the lives of all who sailed up and down the coast.

Jeremiah had a way with words and clearly enjoyed poking fun at Filonians, but three letters about the Harbour (to make sense of it) is a bit much for a blog post. So here is a short and vaguely topical letter about France, where the present day Little Napoleon is gassing and shooting his subjects. (It is all right to foment violent and “regime changing” rebellion in Libya and Syria but on home soil, this activity must be brutally suppressed.)

Jeremiah writes from 68 North Marine Road, his home with second wife Jane Broadrick and seven of their nine children (at the 1861 census).

14 May 1859


Sir, We are all hard up. The London “Times” is now feeding us on Stock-fish from the seat of war. How different this from the palmy days of that great organ. when we read in his paper from “Our own Correspondent,” at Alma, the English and French had had a brush with the Russians, then followed in detail in apple-pie order, the slain and wounded, &c.; or what the polite world calls a graphic account of the whole engagement. And now we read about the Po or the Ticino, or something else, and then we are left to ourselves the barren conjecture which of the twain is to strike the first knockdown blow – the French or the Austrians. I must confess this great organ is most unpolitely dealt with by the Emperor of the French.

Now, whoever reads the “Times” (I mean Englishmen not educated in Billingsgate) must allow that he has always been liberal in abusing the Emperor of the French, and not always very courteous to the French nation. But since the year came in, this great organ, the “Times” newspaper, has been most profuse in his invectives against the Emperor of the French and barely civil to the French nation: whether this organ of mischief in the above particulars, has any particular party to serve at the expense of the welfare of England, is best known to himself – but this I can tell him, – if the “Times” newspaper and all red-hot Quakers were shipped off to Russia for a year, England would be no loser by the change.

Let every Englishman of age and experience, who loves peace, ask himself how it is that there should be such a change between the two countries. A short time ago, we had France a powerful ally, with whom we could keep all the world in order, with us heart and soul; but now, France is neither with us nor against us – but as it were in the balance. How can this country expect anything else when the “Times” is for ever pouring forth his vials of wrath against the Emperor of the French? Surely his organ of abuse must see that the Emperor of the French treats him as he would the greatest quack doctor the sun ever shone upon – and that is beneath his notice. I wilt say no more, for I feel vexed.


The 17.4 million Britons who are currently vexed are being seriously let down by organs like The Times and their on-screen equivalents. Yesterday, I mentioned the mainstream’s reluctance to give representatives of UKIP a voice. We have Russia to thank for bringing some balance at this potentially dangerous moment in the Disunited Kingdom’s history. The Duran continues its insightful coverage of Brexit and, earlier this morning, shared a video of Nigel Farage’s speech yesterday to the bain of 17.4 million lives – the unelected bureaucrats in the European Parliament

The Emperor of Filey

Local historian Michael Fearon, in his Story of Filey Through the Centuries (1990) has this to say:-

The Romans were competent seamen and it is reasonable to assume that they were familiar with Filey Bay. There is, however, nothing to substantiate legends associating the Emperor’s Bath, a large rock pool on the Brigg, with the Emperor Constantine!

Bummer. It is such a romantic notion. When I first heard the “legend” after arriving in Filey about ten years ago, I so wanted it to be true.

I set out for an evening walk yesterday, diverting from my intended path because of mist rolling in from the sea. I was drawn to the Emperor’s Bath, aka Emperor’s Pool, which nestles in the Second Doodle at the back of Filey Brigg.


Heavy rain in 1857 caused a slip on Carr Naze which revealed a portion of a wall. The first people to notice this unexpected evidence of human occupation removed some of the stones, finding an earthen vase, human and animal bones and some ornamented shells. A more rigorous excavation was funded by the landowner, the Reverend BROOKE, and this uncovered the five stones that now reside in Crescent Gardens, in their original disposition as foundations for a Roman Signal Station.

Five such towers were built on the east coast about 370 AD, at a time of Pictish incursions from the north and “barbarian” raids from across the sea. Constantine the Great was long gone by then so the notion of him making the journey from York to inspect the outpost at Filey on a warm summer day can indeed be discounted. There is, however, at least one picture of him taking a bath (of sorts).


This is a detail from a Romanesque fresco in Santi Quattro Coronati Church in Rome, showing Constantine being baptized by St Sylvester.

Chronology appears to kill the legend but myths are like pearls. In so many instances they are found to have some grit of reality at their centre.

Enter Constantine III,  a career soldier at the sunset of Empire. Following a power struggle in Britannia, in 407 he declared himself the Western Roman Emperor before crossing to Gaul to establish his power base. He locked horns with Honorious, was accepted as co-Emperor in 409, abdicated in 411 and was killed soon afterward. Perhaps one of his last thoughts was of a day at the seaside and a refreshing plunge into a rock pool.

A pedigree on FamilySearch Tree shows Constantine III to be the great-grandson of Constantine the Great, the brother of King Vortigern of Britain and the father of King Uther Pendragon. No shortage of romance there already, even before reaching Arthur and Guinevere. Heading back in time will bring you eventually to Troy.

The Great Storm, 1880 · 2

Loss of Filey Fishing Boats and Fishermen

The following is a list of the fishing yawls and of the fishermen belonging Filey now missing.

Francis Haxby, single, aged 23 years, washed overboard from the Felicity, near Withernsea.

The Elizabeth and Emma, yawl, stranded at Robin Hood’s Bay, on Thursday, the 28th Oct. Wm. Wiseman, aged 30 years, washed overboard and lost. Leaves a widow and five children.

The Eliza foundered with a crew of ten men. All lost. Captain Ross Jenkinson leaves a widow; John Crumpton, widow and three children; James Wyvil, widow and two children; Richard Richardson, and his son Richard, widow and three children; George Edmunds, single, and four others, names unknown.

The Sarah, with a crew of ten, foundered with all hands; Captain Thomas Cooling leaves a widow and two children; Wm. Mason, widow and three children; John Shippey, widow and three children; Thomas Holmes, aged 19 years, single, and four whose names are unknown.

The Scarborough Mercury, Saturday 6th November

The older of the two “Fishermen’s Windows” in St Oswald’s remembers all of the above, except for George Edmunds. Robert EDMOND takes his place. The window adds  George CAMMISH, John WATKINSON, and John BAYES. They were either amongst the eight whose “names were unknown”, or they were lost on other days in 1880.

The 15 memorialized are named across two of the panels beneath the main window.


Eight of the 15 can be found on Filey Genealogy & Connections, with three more being a little problematic; further research is needed.

Seven are readily found on the FamilySearch Tree; there may be others.

From Eliza

Ross Jenkinson MGC1-SY5

John Crumpton/Crompton MGCB-GC2

Richard Richardson MGZ3-ZLX

Richard Richardson jnr MGCB-GC2

From Sarah

Thomas Cooling/Cowling LHGB-F6S

William Mason MGZM-SJ9

From Felicity

Francis Haxby MGZ3-653

Four of the 15 are remembered on headstones in the churchyard, two with the date of their loss as 28th & 29th October and two the 29th.

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Matthew 4:19


Weather Eye, August

Laf REDUX has completed its first meteorological season so I can offer Summer graphs for the Yorkshire coast; data from the INORTHYO14 PWS. (I noticed this morning that Filey now has a Weather Underground personal weather station reporting. It could be interesting to compare its numbers with those from 30 miles up the coast.)

June this year flamed for the first few days and then settled into a pattern of seemingly cooler days than their equivalents last year. It was no thanks to August that the summer ended 0.32ºC warmer than last year.



So, August was just under a degree centigrade cooler than last year. (The rather pointless trend line indicates it became ever so slightly warmer as time passed.) The month was 1.19ºC warmer than the 1979-2000 baseline average and the Summer 2.04 ºC above baseline, a figure that should ring a bell. (But the Yorkshire coast isn’t the globe so perhaps there is nothing to be concerned about.)

The Summer was markedly wetter than last year with 62.6 mm more rain falling on Whitby. August 2017 had a dampness about it that didn’t go well with the cooler temperatures and yet it ended up a couple of mils drier than last year. It seems almost obscene to talk about these pitiful amounts when Harvey has brought such misery to Texas (and Nashville as I write this). And nobody in its path can be looking forward to meeting Irma.



The wettest day of the summer doesn’t really need highlighting, June 28th saw 27.4mm fall. It wasn’t nearly enough. The meteorological year to date is drier by 177mm compared to last year, and 0.7ºC warmer heading into Autumn.


Irma’s position on 6th September as projected by the GFS model, screenshot Ventusky


Weather Eye, July

Last month was my tenth July in Filey so I have averaged monthly high temperatures and rainfall for the decade to compare with 2017 figures.

But first – the July highs from 1962 to the present.


This year, July in Whitby was just over 4°C warmer than in 1962, the trendline reducing the difference to about three degrees.

For the second month running 2017 has been wetter than the previous year.


It rained in Filey all day on the 24th but in Whitby, my favourite weather station recorded a fall of only 2.3mm. Fourteen miles south of here, Bridlington received 23.9mm which is “more like it”. I think I mentioned last month that Whitby is maybe too far away, about 30 miles, to be a good proxy for Filey. Alas, Bridlington and other stations closer to home don’t offer records going back ten years.

Although the above graph gives July 2017 a wet look it was actually drier than the ten-year average, as were the four previous years.


July rainfall has been going against expectation. Warmer temperatures, I thought, usually give higher precipitation but perhaps a month isn’t long enough for weather systems to strut all their stuff.

How have July maximum temperatures compared to the ten-year average?


So, roughly speaking, 2013 has been the warmest midsummer month in the last ten years – and the driest. And this July was really nothing to write home about. A trendline on the above temperature graph would show a decadal rise of about a quarter of a degree centigrade compared to the three degrees over the last 55 years. A summer “pause” in Yorkshire coast warming?

A Touch on the Tiller

There are not enough hours in the day to do all I would like to with this blog. Barely two months in I’m going to have to change direction a little. Today’s Image was chosen from five “stock” photos to represent the clear focal point of LaF Redux going forward – the Parish Church of Filey with its graveyard, records, and memories of the town’s people. I’m going to concentrate a little more on “Churchyard Stories” and put more effort into entering information in the Looking at FileyWiki, with links (where they exist) to the FamilySearch Tree. This data entry effort is not glamorous. I would much rather research and write stories but, hey ho… I may only manage a couple of new/ updated LaF stories a week from now on.

Then there is my own family adventure. When I started this blog I had no idea I would stumble on the outrageous pedigree that links me to historical figures going way back to the Dark Ages and even earlier. I am keen to know the truth of these implied genetic connections and only have a chance of finding it if I devote more time to research – on paper and via DNA matching. The history of Filey and its People will have to take a side seat while I try to find out who my ancestors really were.

I will attempt to reach a balance and hope that those of you who have found this blog will continue to stop by occasionally.

I want to thank everyone who has ‘liked’ posts so far and those who are following LaF Redux. I appreciate your generous responses but have to confess I cannot find enough spare moments to see what all of you are up to. (If I tell you I hated every minute I was “on Facebook” you’ll understand I’m not by nature a social networking animal.)

One person has commented and offered kind suggestions for growing my audience. If he/she reads – I emailed to explain my position (old geezer in God’s Waiting Room not doing this for attention, thanks anyway) but the message bounced back undelivered.

I will try to respond to comments that advance knowledge and understanding of the people I write about but will be embarrassed into silence should I receive praise, however kindly it is offered.


Weather Eye, June

My weather figures come from thirty miles or so up the coast because I haven’t found any stations closer to Filey that can supply over half a century’s worth of data. The Whitby Coastguard data from 1962 to 2013/14 can be downloaded from the Met Office website. One of the Whitby Weather Underground stations has given me full years of data from 2010 to the present.

For the blog I will only use Daily Maximum Temperatures and Precipitation to describe the local weather. Thirty miles is quite a distance where micro climates are concerned but my observations will be so general that I don’t think it matters much to use Whitby as a proxy for the Filey experience. (There can be several degrees centigrade difference some days and storms can dump 15mm of rain on one town but not the other – but when the averages are calculated these differences all but vanish.)


The month of June delivers maximum daily temperatures in the high twenties here on the Yorkshire coast – but not often and the average rarely breaks 20°C. (I have just noticed that June 2003 tied with 1976 at 20.2 degrees; 20.1 in 2006.) The trendline indicates Yorkshire warming.

AvMaxBaseCF2017_JanJunejpgI chose a baseline period of 1979 to 2000 to enable comparisons to be made between this part of the world and major regions of the globe on Climate-Reanalyzer. It also tips a wink at the nonsense of the political figure of 2°C, the amount of warming we must avoid if we are not to compromise all life on earth. The baseline for the global comparison is usually given as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and having lived for a quarter of a century in one of its Cradles I naturally think “1709” (Abraham DARBY, FST ID KVLT-8V2) – but 1850 is more often invoked. This graph shows that Whitby in June has warmed 3.5°C in the 38 years since the beginning of “my” baseline. (I know, January hasn’t risen much, and Whitby isn’t the world.)

Jun2017maxCF2016This third graph says quite a bit about June 2016 and 2017 if you look at it from the right angle. It doesn’t show the difference between the daily maximums on the same date but rather compares the ongoing average of the daily maximums throughout the month. June last year opened with a cool spell and this year a warm one. The second week flipped somewhat and we had to wait for the short heatwave of the 17th to 19th this year to push the declining difference up again, though even the month’s top temperature (28.9°C on the third heatwave day) doesn’t impact the average all that much. But you can clearly see we had some rather cool days compared to 2016 in the final week.

PrecipJanJunBaseCF20172017 has been a dry year so far. February precipitation was exactly the same as Baseline but the other four months were deficient, chronologically, in 21.4, 24.0, 25,1 and 18.3mm of rainfall. This graph indicates what a deal this is. It’s approaching half of what we are used to receiving.




I heard a radio Weather Man a couple of days ago say that this June might end with record rainfall figures. Well, 37.5mm over Baseline isn’t all that much to shout about.



Here are the June rainfall totals from 1962. The past rolls up like a carpet behind me and I don’t remember much about 1982. Ditto 1997, but 2007… every Filonian will remember that one. My memory places the Coalbrookdale flood in June and I have always assumed Filey suffered its inundation at the same time. Checking online it appears that the big storm hit this coast on the 18th July. (Warmer temperatures put more moisture in the atmosphere. I don’t think this graph needs a trendline!)

From wet to dry – here’s the chap responsible for Today’s Image (previous post).