Saturday, 21 September 2013

A day in and around Scarborough

Today we planned to spend the day in and around Scarborough. I have quite a few ancestors who were born, lived and died in Scarborough so it was a day to check out the places that may have been near and dear to them.

Scarborough is yet another coastal settlement. It has grown over the centuries and now prostitutes itself as a holiday destination. The British idea of going to a seaside resort is a little different to an Aussie one. Australians think of a coastal visit as an opportunity to lie on a beach and, given sufficient blockout, avoid the harmful effects of UV light on their skin and then take to the water. Here in Britain it is more a case of looking at the sea, promenading along the sea front and then returning to an arcade or tea house.

Trevor and I were being very British today. Unlike last Friday when we put our toes, well actually the toe of our boots into the sea until the incoming tide decided to lap over the top of our boots and fill them with water, we did not venture any closer to the wet stuff than a sly view from a distance. Oh how very British! The dipping of the toe stuff last Friday was part of the final ritual of the Coast to Coast experience and we fulfilled the requirements to the letter even if water filled boots was not my idea of fun!

Scarborough plays a significant part in my ancestry. I have mariner roots relating to Scarborough which date back to the 17th century. Today was an attempt to see some of the significant landmarks which would have dominated my ancestors lives.

Obviously there is the harbour. Many of the men were mariners and a lot ended up as master mariners, in other words captains of vessels. The lives of the women would have been dominating by the comings and goings of the men as the ventured out to sea and, hopefully, returned at the end of their voyage.

The weather was very ordinary. The sky was grey and it persisted in light rain throughout the morning. Such is the life of a tourist. It gave us a chance to bring out our rain coats again.

We parked down on the waterfront and climbed up to St Marys'Church. A quick look at the churchyard indicated that many of the headstones had been moved and those remaining, regardless of the position, were more often than not illegible. Many of my ancestors had been buried at St Mary's but where their bones lie is anyones guess.

There has been a church on the site of the present St Mary's since the 12th century at least. It has been modified over time, sometimes quite dramatically as the result of damage inflicted during war. In the 17th century the church was significantly damaged during the civil wars.

The remains of the Quire which was destroyed in the Civil War (17th century)

The baptismal font

View from the castle over St mary's and the town of Scarborough

The church is open to visitors from Sunday (afternoon) to Friday. An auxillary provides a refreshment service which raises money to support the upkeep of the church.

After looking around the outiside of the church we ventured inside. There is one Maling plaque inside dedicated to Dorothy the wife of George Maling. George is one of my important people as he left a Will which proved the relationship of Mary Smith (who married William Maling and produced John Smith Maling, my 2xgreat grandfather) so this was a good find.

We did purchase scones and tea from the ladies of the auxillary.

Leaving the church we headed up to Scarborough Castle. It certainly had a dramatic positions on the headland. Now a ruin it is still a dramatic site dominating the town.

Cannons ... pointing at the Keep ...

The remains of the ruined Keep

The remains of one of the towers in the wall

The Kings chambers in the grounds of the castle
The site is huge and the remains of the castle are a testament to its size.

From the headland on which the castle sotod there are some great views out to sea, across the bays and across Scarborough.

Scarborough harbour from the Castle
 Having visited St Mary's and the Castle we headed back down to the waterfront and a warming lunch. We both opted for soup as we were feeling pretty cold.

After lunch we went to the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre hoping to get some clues as to how to find out more about the elusive William Maling, husband of Mary Smith and farther of John Smith Maling. Unfortunately we drew a blank even though the volunteers on duty were very helpful.

After a cup of coffee we headed for home.

Not content to let a chance go by, today we diverted into the village of Hutton Buscel. This village is primarily a farming village and Coverleys have farmed here in bygone times. The church was open so we took the opportunity to have a look inside.

The font

The font cover

Inside the church we discovered a plan for the grave sites within the churchyard. there were two Coverleys list, both Johns. After a bit of toing and froing we finally located the grave. The headstone had fall over the the face of the stone was covered in moss, soil and other wind and rain borne rubbish.

I'm yet to determine exactly which John Coverleys they are and how they fit into my family.

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