Fisherman's Friends: The Collection

13th August 2013

A collection of around 900 fishermen ornaments amassed by a former deputy Lord lieutenant of Lincolnshire over 40 years will be sold at auction in Lincoln.

Major Clixby Fitzwilliams' collection began when he received a fisherman ornament from Brazil from his youngest daughter Donna. After he died in 2009 aged 92, the collection was bequeathed to the Lincoln Cathedral Fabric Fund and it will now feature in the next sale at Lincoln auctioneers Golding Young & Mawer on Wednesday, August 21

Auctioneer William Gregory said: "This interesting collection of ornaments leads our collectors' auction which, when sold with an Internet catalogue and live bidding, will attract worldwide interest."

The collection, which has been estimated to sell for between £3,000 and £4,000, includes porcelain and pottery figures by Capo de Monte, Royal Doulton and Lladro, a signed bronze figure by Obel, spelter figures and some items of oriental carved ivory.

A resident of Healing, near Grimsby for over 60 years, Major Fitzwilliams was a watercress farmer who served as a magistrate for 26 years, a local councillor for over 30 years and was appointed deputy Lord lieutenant of Lincolnshire.

He founded the Everyman Club of Great Grimsby with the late Alec Redshaw in 1962 and was the chairman of the Jack Franklin Memorial Trust and the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Committee of the Lincoln Cathedral Preservation Council. He was also involved with Immingham Museum, the Healing Society and Healing Church.

In 1989 he was awarded an OBE for services to the community in Grimsby. Born in London in 1916, he served in the Army, RAF and the Navy during the Second World War.

He moved to Healing from his home in Greatford, near Stamford, after the war with his first wife Pauline. Sadly Pauline died in 1991 and he later married his second wife Norah in 1998.

Major Fitzwilliams' daughter Bronwyn Chapman, who has consigned the items to auction with her sister Donna Brocklebank, said: "My father couldn't resist a fisherman ornament. He travelled widely and every time he saw one on his travels, he had to have it. His house was full of shelving to display his collection.

"He would have been delighted the collection is now being sold to raise money for Lincoln Cathedral Fabric Fund."

It is estimated that Major Fitzwilliams' spent £40,000 on the collection over the years. Since his death, the collection has been held at Grimsby's Franklin College.

Caroline Williams, Fund Development Assistant for Lincoln Cathedral, said: "Lincoln Cathedral relies very much on the generosity of those who leave legacies to support our work, and every so often we receive bequests that not only help us to achieve this, but also demonstrate the importance Lincoln Cathedral holds with many individuals. The legacy of Clixby Fitzwilliams is no exception to this.

"We were extremely touched to discover Mr Fitzwilliams had chosen to leave us with his unique collection of fisherman ornaments that he nurtured for over so many years. We hope that by auctioning the items we will not only be able to raise money in his name that will go a long way in caring for the ever increasing costs of the building, but also find other individuals who will care for the ornaments in the same way Clixby did.

"As a previous Chairman of the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Committee for the Lincoln Cathedral Preservation Council, and once deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Clixby will always be remembered not only by those at the Cathedral, but by many throughout Lincolnshire. This gift offers a permanent legacy within the Cathedral and what we believe is a very fitting memorial to his name."

Meanwhile, a collection of vinaigrettes by a different vendor is also being sold for Lincoln Cathedral Fabric Fund. The collection of mostly 19th century items by different makers is estimated to make between£2,000 and £3,000 and includes a silver tankard which was a gift to Lady Brownlow with an estimate of between £300 and £400.

For more information about sales at Golding Young & Mawer log-on to or phone the Grantham saleroom on (01476) 565118 or the Lincoln saleroom on (01522) 524984.

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