As the range of our activities is so diverse, we have a number of different websites. The main Flamborough Manor
site, which is where you are now, focuses primarily on accommodation (bed & breakfast) but has brief details of all
our other activities. To allow for more information to be presented on these other activities, we have other self-
contained web-sites and some of the links you will encounter while browsing these pages will take you to these
separate sites. To return to this site, simply go to the LINKS page, which is common to all our sites.
For full information on the current range being offered by Flamborough
Marine, please visit the main Flamborough Marine web-site:
Views of Flamborough Head
Flamborough Marine commenced trading in 1981. Initially the stock
consisted of readily available machine-knitted sweaters of traditional
design (for example, Guernseys and Bretons). As an antique shop was also
run from the same premises we began to receive inquiries for ‘antique
sweaters’, that is, the hand-knitted Ganseys which were once so much a
feature of the fishing communities, but which had become generally
unavailable. We contacted long-time resident of Flamborough, Nora
Woodhouse, who knitted our first Ganseys (from memory) in several
different North-East Coast patterns. She had originally been taught to knit
Ganseys before the war by her fisherman father after her mother had been
drowned at Robin Hood’s Bay. From Nora’s Ganseys we were able to make
charts of the patterns which, beforehand, had not normally been written
down but, rather, were passed on by word of mouth.
Our idea was two-fold. First to offer an outlet for the sale of Ganseys once
we had recruited knitters; and second, to package a kit containing the wool,
needles, and our own charts so that the art of Gansey knitting could be
spread even more widely and not limited to those within our immediate
vicinity. As the first step in this plan we advertised for experienced knitters
who might be interested in knitting with five steel needles and showed
them what we wanted. Of the hundred initial replies only ten decided to
persevere. We supplied these first ten with needles, wool, charts and
instructions and began to build up a stock of Ganseys. During the
succeeding years some knitters have dropped out and others have taken
their places. One thing however has remained constant and that is the
premises in Flamborough where the various Ganseys are displayed. We
believe that we offer the only outlet for the authentic finished product.
Without this outlet the knitters would have nowhere to sell their wares and
the art of Gansey knitting (for, although a craft, the work itself is so intricate
as to be rightly called an art form) would again be in danger of
Classic Filey Pattern Gansey in Dark Navy
The Gansey? :
A Gansey is a distinctive woollen sweater, originally designed to provide protection for fishermen from wind and water but which is ideal for
all outdoor activity. Using a tightly spun 5-ply worsted wool (popularly known as "Seamen's Iron") the intricately patterned Gansey is knitted in
one piece on five steel needles. The patterning to back and front and, in some cases, the upper part of the sleeve provides an extra layer of
protection, while the combination of seamless construction, fine wool and tight knitting produced a garment that is both wind and
waterproof. Indeed, every part of the garment is designed with practicality in mind.
The wool is knitted tightly so as to "turn water"; the lack of seams ensures greater strength and impermeability; the underarm gusset allows
freedom of movement; the lower sleeves where most wear is sustained, are left plain so the worn part can be unravelled and re-knitted, while
the patterning across the chest provides extra insulation. Note that the patterning is the same, back and front. This means that the Gansey is
reversible, so that areas which come in for heavier wear, such as the elbows, can be alternated.
Filey Steps & Cables pattern in Falmouth Navy
Scarborough pattern in Dark Navy
An article in "Classic Boat" magazine, which featured
our Ganseys, resulted in queries and orders from
around the world. In Bielefeld, Germany Iris Heyer
noticed the article, showed it to her husband, and we
soon received a telephone call from Thomas Heyer, to
order a Flamborough Gansey. A few weeks after it
arrived, Thomas' brother Hans saw the Gansey and
was hooked! Hans ordered a Filey Gansey. And here
they are, proudly wearing their Ganseys at the Rum-
Regatta in Flensburg, a Regatta for traditional Sailing
boats which is held each year in the North of Germany.
The Ganseys proved to be immensely useful, fighting
cold temperatures and wind forces up to 6 on the
In the photograph, taken by Iris, the Filey Gansey on
the left is worn by Hans, and, at right the Flamborough
Gansey worn by Thomas. (The photograph was kindly
supplied by Hans, who added: "It is great that you took
the effort in reviving this old knitting craft and our
admiration goes to the knitters for their skills!")
We were approached by Canadian film and television actor, artist and
musician, Rajiv Surendra with a commission for a Gansey based on
little more than an old photograph in a reference book. Using the
expert knowledge of our longest-serving knitter, Marion, we were able
to produce the exquisite garment shown above left, worn (and loved)
by Rajiv. This stunning Gansey demonstrates what our knitters are
capable of; but, as a special commission, this particular pattern cannot
be repeated. So successful was this first commission, that it led to a
second, and then a third.
We offer an extended range of beautiful colours in 5-ply worsted
Guernsey wool, including the unusually named “Herring Girl’s
Pink”, shown at left in the Scarborough pattern, knitted by
Melanie Jones, who kindly sent the photograph, taken on the ferry
returning from the Isle of Jura.
A surprise was in store for David Wright when he visited our shop in
Flamborough on Father's Day, accompanied by his daughters.
Waiting for him was the Scarborough Gansey previously ordered and
knitted by one of our skilled knitters. A thrilled Mr Wright could not
wait to try his Gansey on (complete with tag) and kindly consented
for us to use the photograph at left.
While the majority of Gansey patterns are to be found in Yorkshire and the
North-East of England, other patterns originate from Cornwall and East
Anglia. Shown at left is a beautiful Cornish Knit-frock in the Polperro design.
Henry Freeman (29 April 1835 – 13 December 1904) was a Whitby fisherman
and lifeboatman. Born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, Henry worked in his youth as a
brickmaker, but with the decline of the brick trade Henry turned to the sea and
fishing. He moved to Whitby and became a fisherman and a lifeboatman. He was
the sole survivor of the 1861 Whitby lifeboat disaster when a freak wave
drowned all his companions. It was his first mission and he was the only member
of the crew wearing the newly developed cork flotation jacket. Henry was a
lifeboatman for more than 40 years, 22 years as coxswain. He participated in
many rescues and saved many lives and became a respected ambassador for the
lifeboat cause and a prominent spokesman for his fellow fishermen.
A satisfied customer, descended from Henry Freeman
(opposite), tries on his Whitby Gansey, knitted in denim
colour 5-ply wool, in our shop at Flamborough.
Whitby pattern in Navy
Seahouses (Tree of Life)
pattern in Dark Navy
Flamborough pattern in Bottle Green
Gansey in Denim
colour 5-ply wool
Shown above are two views of a Scarborough pattern with straight (split) welt instead of the usual ribbed welt. Note also the “false
seam” whihc runs up the side of the Gansey (actually just a purl stitch), which gives an indication of back and front. But rest assured that
the Ganseys are all knitted entirely in one piece.
Gansey Knitting Kits
Each Gansey or Guernsey Knitting Kit contains the appropriate quantity of 5-ply worsted Guernsey wool, a set
of five double-ended 2.5 mm steel needles, individual body and sleeve charts, and full instructions for the
pattern of your choice. A copy of the fully illustrated soft-back book "Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans"
by Gladys Thompson is also available as an optional extra.
Shown at left is a Gansey knitted by
Carolyn Swinton from one of our Kits.
Carolyn wrote to us:
“ I've just completed my first gansey! Proudly
modelled by my son. The longer sleeves and
thumb holes were his special request. I just
wanted to thank you for the excellent quality
yarn and the very well explained pattern that
resulted in such a lovely garment. Now the rest
of my family want one too!! Expect further orders
The Manor House, Flamborough, Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire. YO15 1PD
Telephone: 01262 850943 [International: +44 1262 850943]
Web-site design & content Copyright © 2018 Geoffrey Miller
The Manor House
Accommodation, Books, Traditional Knitwear & Hand-Knitted Ganseys, Breton shirts
Lesley Berry and Geoffrey Miller
The Manor House
East Riding of Yorkshire YO15 1PD
Telephone: 01262 850943 (Mobile 07718 415234)
International: +44 1262 850943