Ellen & William Fairbank of Lelley


A beautifully dressed Lady, probable a mourning photo, because of what she is wearing & the flowers she is holding. My estimate is late 1890’s for this photo to have been taken. There is a bit of writing on the back too..      Granny Fairbank..See pic below..


This is the best possible Fairbank family in the area of Lelley, Preston, Hull that fits with this photo. I think this lady’s name is Ellen Fairbank. Here are some census documents below, first the 1881 census, then 1891 census. Husband William born in about 1827 is alive aged 65, he’s a Farmer & a local preacher.

1881 Census
1891 Census

Then in 1895 I found that William has died on 20 July 1895..Will below..


In 1901 ..Image Below….Ellen Fairbank is with her family listed as a Widow, Old Age Pensioner.


Now we come to the 1911 Census & WOW she had had 17 Children !! 9 of whom had died. These are 13 of them..Alfred J b 1852, George J b 1853, Eliza T b 1855, Eadeth b 1856, Isaac b 1858, Benjamin b 1859, Mary A b 1862, Jane E b 1863, Emily b 1865, William b 1866, Eliza b 1867, James b 1869, Caroline J 1870.      Don’t you just love the 1911 census, the information for your family history is invaluable ! I wonder which descendant wrote on the back of this photo ?


Ellen died in 1914…Ellen Fairbank
Estimated birth year: abt 1834
Registration Year: 1914
Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec
Age at Death: 80
Registration district: Skirlaugh
Inferred County: Yorkshire East Riding
Volume: 9d
Page: 395

With all this information, I do think that the photo may likely have been taken just after William died in 1895….Here’s a bit of info below about the village of Lelley..From Genuki..More info here on their website about the area.. Preston & Lelley

” LELLEY is a township containing 792 acres of land, belonging to Mr. Joseph Thompson, of Turmer Hall, Ganstead; W. H. Wilson-Todd, Esq., Hanlaby Hall, Croft, near Darlington; Francis R. Pease; Samuel Hutchinson, and T. Appleby King. The soil is similar to that of the rest of the parish. The rateable value is £926, and the population in 1891 was 116.

The township has always been attached to the seigniory, though the present lord paramount of Holderness and lord of the manor (Sir F. A. Talbot Clifford-Constable, Bart.) has only about one acre of land over which he exercises manorial rights. The village is small, and stands about two miles north-east of Preston, and three miles north-north-east of Hedon station, on the Hull and Withernsea branch of the North-Eastern Railway. There is a small Wesleyan chapel here, built in 1859.

There was formerly a hospital for lepers in this township, founded, in the reign of King John, by Alan FitzOsbern. “It was dedicated,” says Tanner, “to the Holy Sepulchre, for a Master or Prior, and several brethren and sisters, lepers.” It was endowed by Alex. de Tunstall and other benefactors, whose gifts were confirmed by Edward II. It was dissolved in the 26th year of Henry VIII., and its revenues, then valued at £13 15s. 1Od. per annum, confiscated by the Crown. In 1553, the site was granted by Edward VI. to Robert Constable, Esq. There are no remains of the hospital now to he seen, but coins are occasionally turned up in digging on the spot, and some years ago an ancient seal, with the legend, “The seal of Master Simon, of the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” was found here…….Lelley township is in the Poor Law Union of Skirlaugh. ”

Do you know of the Fairbank family from Lelley, near Hull, Yorkshire ??                                            Are they your Ancestors ????

Till next time then………………


  1. This is my Great Great Grandmother. You are correct with a the family details in your article.
    My Grandfather was Reginald Fairbank as in the 1901 census. He had a twin brother Percy. His elder brother William Henry emigrated to Canada in 1911. His other brother Walter died in 1918 in France in WW1.
    The writing on the back will be Emily May Reginald’s sister.

    Thank you very much for showing the photo as it is the first time I have seen her.


    Stephen Fairbank


    • Oh that’s wonderful Stephen, thanks so much for getting in touch, I really appreciate it ! How wonderful for you to see her. Would you like the photo?? Please email if you wish..See Contact Me at top of Blog, kind regards Lynn


  2. My Grandma Emily wrote on the back of the photo my Father was called Douglass William Fairbanks Goulsbra who died last year 2019 at the age of 93..lelley was his home and my play ground as a child..also Grandma was the organist at the Chapel which is long gone now and supplied the Village with eggs butter and milk I could go on for ever about my time there but time to stop for now..


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