Monday, March 05, 2012


The Harrington Family ( 1750 to present day)

While I was still at home in Wales, I looked again at the research that has been carried out on my paternal family 'The Harrington's .... of Flamborough, near Bridlington in East Yorkshire.
The earliest member of the family traced was one Thomas Harrington who was born around 1750 - my sister and I are the 7th generation, while Abi and Jaycob are the 9th!

There appear to have been at least two separate families of Harrington's in the area at the time. One family, sadly not ours if research is correct, was that of James Harrington born around 1825 who at the age of 42 in 1867 was involved in and rewarded for a heroic act in saving seamen who were victims a a shipwreck. James must have been a cousin or close relative of Allison Harrington born 1826 (son of John b 1778, grandson of Thomas b 1750)... there was a family story from my grandmother of a distant relative being involved in a rescue - James looks to have been this person if not a direct relative.
The report below from the time outlines the story:

During the night of January 1st 1867, the ‘Charlotte’ of Sunderland, timber laden, from Gottenburg, suffered near Robin Lythe’s Hole.  It was a moonless night, the lights on the head obscured by the snowstorm and the booming of the gun lost in the roar of the elements.
In the morning a large quantity of wood was seen floating in the North Sea gap, and on search being made five men were found at the foot of the cliff.  One of them quite dead, another (the captain) fearfully wounded by the rocks and the others in an exhausted condition. They were rescued from their perilous position by James Harrington who kept the North Star Inn, and, at the imminent risk of his own life, brought them all into the cave.
The sea at the time was rising fast, the wind dead on shore the only access to the poor men was across the planks and mast of the wreck, which lay tossing at the mouth of the cave.  Four times did Harrington traverse this perilous path, each time bringing one of the men. His last venture was for the wounded captain, and the sea hurled Harrington and his almost lifeless burden far up into the cave and they narrowly escaped being dashed to pieces.  The captain died the next day.
Three days later another of the crew was found in a crevice of the rock known as  ‘Well Hole’.  The man had apparently taken refuge from the sea by climbing up the cliff and had died from exposure.  The body of the mate of the vessel was picked up on the rocks on the Wednesday following.
Harrington was rewarded for his brave conduct by the King of Sweden and also by the English government with a Silver Medal and £2.

Above can be seen the North Star in close to the treacherous coastline, and below is the North Star in today, looking towards the sea.

Sadly the brave 'gentleman' James Harrington who was at one point the owner of The Brittania Inn Bridlington came to a sad end in 1876.....

An accident which has terminated fatally, occurred to James Harrington , cab driver in the employ of Mrs Harrison , Brittania Hotel, on Thursday when driving Mr Robert Wilson and Mr J Parker to their home at Bessingby.
The particulars of the case will be seen in the following report of the inquest which was held before J.M. Jennings Esq, the coroner at the Bull and Sun Inn ,Bridlington, on Monday evening , and adjourned until the following Wednesday, when the first witness was Mr Robert  Wilson , who stated that Harrington drove himself and  Mr Parker from the Quay to the Black Lion, Bridlington and thence home on Thursday night. They got out of the carriage between their two residences, it being very dark at the time, they wished Harrington good night, and after getting a short distance heard the horse going at a furious rate, they then heard a groan and went back to see what was the matter, and found Harrington lying in the road. He (witness) helped to raise him and Mr Parker ran to look after the horse and carriage, which he soon returned with. They then put Harrington inside and drove back to the Quay. Harrington only said "Oh my side"- On reaching the Brittania they there found out where Harrington lived and drove him home. Had heard the horse had sometimes run away, but it went very quietly that night.

James Parker gave similar evidence, stating that he ran after the horse, which he would have expected would have taken the road for the Lodge instead of which it had gone straight on until it had come to a gate where it was standing when he reached it. The road was a very bad one being 8 or 10 inches deep in mud. He found the reins over the splash board an thought that Harrington had not had hold of them.
Hannah Harrington wife of deceased, stated that he had told her that he always got hold of the reins before getting up; that he had done so on this occasion, but by the horse suddenly turning round he was thrown down on his side and the wheel went over him. - Deceased had died shortly after getting out of bed , which the doctor had enjoined him not to do.

The medical evidence given by Dr .Brett went to show that  deceased ribs were much broken , but what internal injuries there were besides he could not ascertain. His body was much swollen, he therefore bandaged him up, which gave deceased considerable ease, and laid him on his back with strong injunctions that he was not to raise himself appeared that the medicine caused him to get out of bed, and he believed that in doing so something pressed upon  the heart and occasioned his death. He (Dr .Brett) had not been apprehensive of danger , and when he saw him last he appeared to be going on favorably.

The Coroner said the evidence appeared very plainly to indicate the cause of death. There  appeared to him no reason to believe it to have been otherwise than accidental, but that was a question for the jury to decide. the evidence was as complete as it was possible to be, and they must form their verdict accordingly jury at once returned a verdict of " Accidental death".

James is buried in St Oswald's Churchyard, Flamborough.
Grave stone reads..
In affectionate Remembrance of James Harrington the beloved husband of Hannah Harrington who died January 30th 1876 aged 51 years.
 "be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the son of man cometh"

( Dr Brett was also an interesting character as was the Black Lion at the time as can be seen in Mike Covell's blog:

Eventually I passed St John’s Avenue, where Dr Brett once resided with his family, the street still has a lot of Victorian properties and is tree lined and quite luxurious. Next up I crossed Brett Street, named after Dr Brett, which is a more modern street, lined by neat town houses either side.
What I did notice whilst walking up to the High Street, was the large number of religious buildings. Between Bridlington Quay and High Street I counted 8 churches, 6 of these within 5 minutes of The Black Lion Hotel!
High Street

Next I reached High Street, and turned left into a time warp. It appears untouched, apart from the cars, and road, and there is a wonderful collection of 17th, 18th, and 19th, Century properties adorning both sides of the street. Many of these have been turned into little shops, cafes and galleries. I noticed an antique watch shop, and chuckled at the thought of finding a watch inscribed with Stephenson’s name!
Further along I noticed another antique shop, this one with several Victorian beer bottles in the window, but nine for the Black Lion!
I also noticed that several pubs and hotels lined the street, one of which, The Victoria, was a huge three story property, and in a prominent position in the street. Finally, as I rounded the bend in the road, I saw the Black Lion Hotel. The pub, still with it’s yellow paint stands on the brow of a hill, nestled among the other properties, and it could be driven by, if one didn’t know where it was.
The Black Lion Hotel

Heading through the double, double doors, I reached two doors, one leading left, and one leading right, I chose the left, and entered a cosy bar, with exposed wooden floorboards, a log fire, and exposed brick and timber adorning the walls. I introduced myself to the Bar Manager, and passed over my research, to which I was given a free drink, whilst the manager and several locals read through the piece.
One of the men told me about the inn, and what had gone on there in the past, tales of smuggling and illegal gambling, and even the possibility of people trafficking and slavery back in the mid 1800’s!
The cross roads opposite the Hotel also had a unique story. Cross Hill obtained the name as Witches where hung from here, some attached to crucifix’s, but wether this is folklore or actual fact remains to be seen.
The Hotel consists of three bars, all with wooden flooring, exposed brick and vintage green tiles behind the bar, and seemed to be stuck in the Victorian period, not that this was a bad thing, I actually found it to be a lovely, warm welcoming pub, although it was weird sat in the spot, drinking lemonade, knowing Stephenson was here all those years earlier!
As I left the hotel, I made my way back along the High Street and headed for the railway station. I was tired out, and ready for home, but excited at what I had found. The problem is, it still raises more questions.

Why was a member of the HM Customs staying at a hotel associated with smuggling?
Why was Robert D’Onston Stephenson staying at a hotel that was quite a distance from Bridlington Quay? Especially as there were hotels closer!
Why was the barrow belonging to the Black Lions Landlord at Flamborough, a location associated with not only fishing but smuggling?
Why not take the barrow to Bridlington Quay, which is much closer?
Why did Kelburne King get sent to Bridlington?
Who Sent Kelburne King to Bridlington?
Why wasn’t the local Doctors and Surgeons trusted?
Did the friend that Shot Robert D’Onston Stephenson have ulterior motives?
Finally, a suggestion put forth by a local had me quite interested, he explained,

The Black Lion was known as a smugglers haunt, is it possible your Hull Man, a man of the HM Customs was sent here to keep an eye on things? Is this why the barrow was at Flamborough, and is this why the HM Customs sent Kelburne King, instead of trusting the locals?”

Genealogy can be really interesting.
Another interesting family name is Allison Harrington's son Elvidge,  my great grandfather, who appears on the 1901 census as a widower having lost his wife Hannah a year earlier, he then had had 9 children ( 3 having died before 1884) my grandfather was born in 1897 and was 3 and a half when he lost his mother. Elvidge himself ( a railway engine driver originally from Butterwick, Yorks) died in 1901 as the result of a railway accident..... leaving the 6 children aged between 4 and 14 without parents.... I do not know how they managed at this time however the siblings were very close from this point on and my grandfather Robert Stanley Harrington and 2 of his sisters all of whom died in the 1970's lived eventually in St Austell in Cornwall, far from their original base in Stockport at the turn of the century. 
I am guessing that they were looked after by a family member on the death of both parents, however more research is necessary. I am aware that my grandfather fought in WW1 as he took his wife on a trip around the trenches in France by motorbike I believe in the early 1920's.

No comments:

Blog Archive