UK Genealogy Archives logo

Filey, East Riding of Yorkshire

Historical Description

Filey, a market and fishing town, a favourite seaside resort, a township, and a parish in Yorkshire. The town and the township for ecclesiastical purposes are in the E.R. Yorkshire, but the rest of the parish is in the N.½R. The town stands on the coast, adjacent to the Hull and Scarborough railway, 7 miles SE of Scarborough. "Aa the shore," says Camden, " winds itself back from hence, a thin slip of land, like a small tongue thrust out, shoots into the , sea, such as the old English called File-from this the little— "village of Filey takes its name." The place appears to have "been known and peopled, by the Romans, and either it or Dunsley was the " well-havened bay " of Ptolemy. Remains of a Roman work, seemingly of a station, were discovered on the cliff in 1857, and have been described in the Transactions of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. In Domesday book it is called Fivelae. The town, however, has made no figure in history; and, till some time after the commencement of the present century, was only an obscure fishing-village, but it has now risen into considerable note as a sea-bathing resort. It consists of two parts, old and new, running parallel to a ravine, the slopes of which have been laid out in terraces, and planted with trees and shrubs. The old part consists mainly of two streets, and has undergone some renovation. The new part consists chiefly of lodging-houses, arranged in a crescent and in handsome streets. The town is well drained and lighted, has a good supply of pure water from Artesian wells, and is governed by a local board of 9 members. It has a head post office, a station on the N.E.R., a bank, hotels, two churches, two dissenting chapels, a public library, two news-rooms, and a daily market The parish church is cruciform, partly Norman, partly Early English, has a massive square central tower, and contains a Norman font, three sedilia, and a piscina, and was thoroughly restored in 1886. The other church at New Filey, a chapel of ease to the parish church, is a cruciform building in the Geometric style, consisting of chancel, nave, and transepts. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of York; gross value, £32 5 with residence. The bathing-beach is sandy, smooth, and firm. The sands are 5 miles long, and a sea wall and promenade was opened in 1894. Filey Brig, Filey Point, or Filey Head, in the vicinity of the spa, projects about half a mile into the sea, forms a fine promenade at low water, and possesses many attractions for naturalists and geologists. The town is famous for its fish, especially lobsters. A weekly newspaper is published. A life-boat is stationed here. The township comprises 832 acres; population of the township, 2481; of the ecclesiastical parish, 2790. The parish contains also the townships of Gristhorpe and Lebberston.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyYorkshire 
Poor Law unionScarborough 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in conjunction with various Archives, Local Studies, and Family History Societies have the following parish records online for Filey:


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Filey from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for the East Riding of Yorkshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Filey are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following East Riding newspapers online:

CountyNorth Yorkshire
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Postal districtYO14
Post TownFiley