From the book "Filey - a Yorkshire fishing town" by Irene E Allen and Andrew A Todd
MIGRATION OF FISHER FAMILIES
The willingness of Filey fishermen to cover large distances in search of better fishing is shown by the local story dating from earlier this century. Several men including George Watkinson ("slosh") sailed in cobles from Filey to Milford Haven, South Wales, having heard that men were required there! They followed the coast, staying in harbours at night and sleeping on board. Some Filey men and their families settled there, but most drifted back.
Nor was there any difficulty in moving the whole family and household possessions by boat if better fishing were found. Captain Smith remembers George Jenkinson Mainprize moving his household, lock stock and barrel, from Filey to Scarborough, in his little coble the "Annie Elizabeth", in the early 1920's. We've come to live here", he announced, as he docked in Scarborough harbour! A family move from Norfolk to Filey in the 18th Century was perfectly feasible.
There is an intruiging handful of fishermen (and related maritime occupations) who gave Norfolk birthplaces(mostly Yarmouth) in the 1851 Filey census. Clearly, Filey has drawn some of its population from that area.
Filey's association with fishing goes back in recorded history to the 12th century when there was a reference to a dispute over the village's tithes of fish. The development of Yorkshire industrial towns, however, will have drawn many more fishermen to the Yorkshire coast.
One Filey fishing family, the Colleys, are said to originate from Eyemouth, Berwickshire, and must have been drawn to the Yorkshire coast from as far away as Devonshire. Brixham men probably pioneered the use of the beam trawl.
With no ready market for large quantities of fish in Devonshire, they moved to south coast ports like Ramsgate, landing their catches for the London market. Devon men took their trawling further along the coast to Lowestoft in Suffolk, and certainly by the 1930's were working the Dogger Bank out of Hull and Scarborough, where many settled. Scarborough was in some ways preferable to Hull; landing there avoided the 24 mile sail up the Humber. For this reason, the Bullamore family are said to have come from Norfolk to Scarborough around 1850. (an interesting sequel to this account of fishermen's migration along the coast is the further move of Scarborough men to Hartlepool and Aberdeen around 1900.
Many of them would have had Norfolk, and perhaps even Devonshire ancestry).[Captain Sydney Smith - Yorkshire Fishing Fleets]. Long distance coastal movement was clearly common amongst fishermen and their families.
If a move from Norfolk to Filey did take place, the absence from the Filey parish registers of Robert Jenkinson's marriage to Margaret, and the baptism of a possible first child Robert, could be explained by the hypothesis that the move was staggered: these events might have occurred in Norfolk. (this is a possibility, as we have seen, that has not yet been successfully researched). Connections between Filey and Norfolk were certainly strong. In the early years of the 19th century, the yawls at Filey were involved in herring fishing, and would operate seasonally from Great Yarmouth.
Many families accompanied their menfolk to that port, where they would live throughout the summer and autumn, helping with the repair and tanning of herring nets. [Rev. G Shaw, Our Filey Fishermen (1867), Sea Fisheries Commission, evidence of Benjamin Simpson, and evidence of David Crawford]. This practice seems to have stopped in the 1830's as the Dogger Bank fishery was opened up. Robert Jenkinson of Filey appears as skipper and part owner of the three masted lugger "Prospect" in the Scarborough Sailing Fishing Vessels Registers from 1802 to 1805. (This must be Robert Jenkinson (1756-1808? : the younger Robert (c1780-1844) would have been too young at 22 to be skipper of such a boat).
This craft was 56 feet 6 inches long, had a width (beam) of 16 feet 2 inches, a depth of 6 feet and a tonnage of 58 and was clearly a herring fishing boat. So Robert will have been engaged in this seasonal herring fishing. This strenthens the case that the Jenkinsons retained their connection with the Norfolk coast long after they settled in Filey.
The Yorkshire connection with the Yrmouth fisheries continued well into this century. Thomas Flynn, a former Scarborough fisherman now is in his eighties, worked on the last yawls which sailed out of Scarborough during the First World War. He told us that Filey men were the last to carry on with the tradition of going down to Yarmouth and Lowestoft from scarborough; in fact "Jack Sled" (John Robert Jenkinson 1862-1925) was one of the last Filey men to skipper boats which made this trip. Thomas Flynn accompanied him on some occasions.
It seems highly likely, then that "Jack Sled" was completing a pattern first establishd by his direct Jenkinson ancestors.
Finally, there is one piece of evidence to suggest (but not prove) that Robert Jenkinson (1756-1808?) annually sailed to Norfolk, but did not take his family. A glance at the baptismal dates at Filey St Oswald's of Robert and Margaret's children shows that all the christenings took place in the months from August to November. Could this imply conceptions from about November to February? Perhaps Robert was away at herring fishing for some of the remaining months!