The Filey Bay 1779 Research Group Limited  (formerly the Filey Bay Research Group)   - 'knowledge through perseverance'

Filey Bay - a heritage coast with the Battle of Flamborough Head,  Richard Pearson, John Paul Jones and the Bonhomme Richard.

These pages are dedicated to Timothy Akers of Merlin Burrows, without whose brilliant technical ability and dedicated research, the Bonhomme Richard would probably have never been found.


John Paul Jones   

 The Timothy Akers Memorial Film

Richard Pearson   

" Filey Bay – a stunning location on Yorkshire’s beautiful coastline. Rugged cliffs dashed by relentless seas, brimming with stories and legends with breath-taking views, fresh breezes and exhilarating walks, make this historic and romantic coast a must -  Filey Bay  is where Commodore John Paul Jones and Captain Richard Pearson made history."

  Filey and Filey Bay are irrevocably woven into a pivotal historical event in World History. The battle of Flamborough Head in September 1779 was a classic sea battle of epic proportions. It was fought in the environs of Filey Bay with courage and self-sacrifice, all played out on a magnificent stage and irrevocably woven within the fabric of our own rich heritage and history that transcends generations.

 "These people were the astronauts of the 18th Century; they traversed long distances over great oceans…”

    Filey Bay is the location of this sea battle where Captain Richard Pearson of the British Royal Navy fought Commodore John Paul Jones of the American Continental Navy for the possession of a vital supply convoy, and became the graveyard of the American flagship, the Bonhomme Richard.

   It was a bloody and tragic battle that has enhanced the romance and mystery of the Yorkshire coast, fought by a British Captain and an American Commodore who were both Freemasons, and in their own way contributed to the international standing of their respective countries.

    Fought at the time of the American War for Independence from Britain, it gave the fledgling American State much prestige, and an experience in the projection of power by sea. Captain Pearson distinguished himself by turning to fight a battle in which he was outnumbered, an action for which he received a Knighthood.

 “When challenged on the high seas – they answered with lead and iron.”

  Such is the resonance of The Battle of Flamborough Head, that it has reverberated down the passage of time and is a by-word for daring action of magnificent proportions that is embedded into the fabric of the maritime history of Filey Bay.

 “History was made here . . .”

  The battle and its importance has inspired a Nation, artists, storytellers and filmmakers to this day, and our Heritage Coast celebrates the brave action of Captain Pearson of HMS Serapis in the highest traditions of the Royal Navy, and Commodore John Paul Jones of the American Continental Navy who fought a brilliant, but tragic action within the environs of Filey Bay.  

“We who seek their footprints and relics are humbled to be in the presence of those whose example and philosophies have built great nations, and whose teachings are as relevant to today as they were when first conceived - their spirit must never die.”

in September 2020, Filey marked the anniversary of the battle and those who died, with Fire and Flag.

Latest News

Scarborough Borough Council have made a decision to sell the building they refer to as ‘the Old Conference Hall’ but better known to locals as ‘the Old Scout Hut’ for redevelopment. The property, which is perhaps the last remaining cliff-top site with sea views, was listed by Filey Town Council as an Asset of Community Value in March 2016 but unfortunately this protection expired last month. A group of local individuals have set up a Not for Profit organisation in the hope that they can acquire the property from Scarborough Borough Council and redevelop as a Maritime and Heritage Centre for the benefit of tourism, education and local history in the town. Initial plans include a permanent exhibition regarding the world famous Battle of Flamborough Head which took place in Filey Bay in 1779 and during which many hundreds were killed, and also for community meeting rooms and lecture theatre for use by schools and other organisations. The Group is keen to hear the views of local people regarding its plans, the alternative to which would be a sale to a property developer for more flats.

This is a Coast rich in Heritage and Maritime Culture, and where is it?

What is the Filey Bay 1779  Research Group, and why is it so important to Filey and the communities of the Bay?

  With thanks to Timothy Akers of Merlin Burrows, Donald G Shomette and James Hodgson. This page is currently being developed. 

The Filey's  John Paul Jones Heritage Coast  is being progressed with the assistance of, or links with some of the following organisations and groups.

                        Filey’s Cultural Link with Calvert County, USA
                        Welcome to Yorkshire
                        Scarborough Borough Council Tourism Department
                        The Filey Chamber of Trade
                        The Scarborough Museums Trust
                        This list is being updated with further Groups

The Filey Bay Bonhomme Richard Group has a partnership with, or links to:

                        Merlin Burrows
                        The Filey Town Council
                        Welcome to Yorkshire
                        Discover Yorkshire Coast
                        Donald G Shomette of Cultural Resources, Maryland
                        Natural England
                        Pritchard Diving Services (Consultancy)
                        John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum Trust, Kirkbean, Dumfries
                        Elite Truck Bodies



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©  All the  content in this site is copyright of Anthony Green August 2005 and February 2020.  This Heritage Coast has been continuously published  online since 2005

          What and where is it?        The Battle        Heritage Features         Geology            Air Archaeology         Marine Archaeology
Filey Bay 1779 Research Group Limited         John Paul Jones at Filey         
Filey's Link to Calvert County       

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