FILEY, a sea-port town and a parish, in the union of Scarborough, partly in Pickering lythe, N. riding, but chiefly in the wapentake of Dickering, E. riding, of York, 7½ miles (N. by E.) from Scarborough; containing, with the townships of Gristhorpe and Lebberston, 1590 inhabitants, of whom 1231 are in the town. This place is on the coast, and is bounded on the northnorth-east by a long ridge of rock, anciently called the File, and now Filey Bridge, which, projecting from a narrow tongue of land, forms an excellent natural pier. The bay, which is open to the east, is protected from the north-easterly winds by Filey Bridge, and on the south by Flamborough Head, affording secure shelter for ships of any burthen, and admirably adapted by nature for a harbour of refuge. There can be little doubt that, as observed by a writer in the Archæologia, it was anciently the Portus Felix, or Sinus Salutaris, of the Romans, by whom it was considered the finest harbour round the island. It has long been celebrated as a fishing-station for lobsters, cod, ling, herrings, and other fish, in taking which 40 boats and 100 men are constantly employed during the season; and after the herring-fishery is over here, 13 boats go annually to Yarmouth. The town is situated in a spot marked by boldly romantic features, and has become a favourite resort for sea-bathing, for which the extent of the beach and the superior smoothness of the gently sloping sands, render it peculiarly adapted. It is gradually improving in appearance; a handsome crescent has been built for the accommodation of the increasing number of visiters, and there is every prospect of its becoming one of the best frequented watering-places on the Yorkshire coast. The Scarborough and Bridlington railway passes within two or three miles. There is a chalybeate spring, possessing qualities similar to that of Scarborough, and from which, most probably, the water will be conveyed by pipes to a spot more convenient for general use. The parish comprises by admeasurement 2000 acres, whereof about 1200 are arable and the remainder chiefly pasture, with a small portion of wood; 710 acres are in the township of Filey, more than two-thirds of which are pasture. The soil is a strong clay, and the grounds on the sea-shore, for about four miles, are deemed the most fertile on this coast; the substrata are chiefly chalk and calcareous sandstone. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £75; patrons, the family of Mitford: the tithes were commuted in 1788, for land and a money payment. The church, an ancient cruciform structure, with a square embattled tower rising from the centre, is situated on a rugged acclivity, and has a truly romantic appearance; it was repaired in 1840, at an expense of £1500, and contains 600 sittings, of which 200 are free: the churchyard has been recently enlarged. The Primitive Methodists and Wesleyans have places of worship.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.