Lewis, Captain Robert


Collection date: Aug 1904

Area: Somerset - West

Captain Robert Lewis of Minehead (1835-1915): age 69, 32 songs over several visits commencing 8 Aug 1904: Capt. Lewis was an important singer for Sharp and 6 of his songs were published in Folk Songs from Somerset, namely 'Crafty Maid's Policy' (FT576) in vol2; 'Watchet Sailor' (FT756), 'Green Mossy Banks of the Lea' (FT781) and 'Admiral Benbow' (FT782), all in vol3; 'Spanish Ladies' (FT835) and 'Chesapeake and Shannon' (FT836) in vol5:

Robert Lewis was baptised at Porlock church on 27/9/1835, son of Richard Lewis (sailor) & Mary. His father was born further along the coast at Mortehoe, Devon but had moved to Porlock in the 1830s. On 3/4/1858 Robert married Jane Williams at Porlock church. She was the daughter of Charles Williams, labourer. They had a son Robert, who initially stayed with Richard Lewis, his grandfather in Porlock, while perhaps his father was away at sea a great deal, becoming a master mariner according to the 1861 census (Porlock). In 1871 Jane Lewis was living in Quay St Minehead with son Robert, who was a young mariner. Some time in the 1870s young Robert Lewis was lost at sea and that may have prompted Robert Snr to give up sailing, so in 1881 he was listed as manager of a coal yard in Minehead (age 45). In 1891 and 1901 he and Jane were at 2 Blenheim Cottages next to the Coast Guard Station. Robert was now an assistant overseer of the poor. On the other side of the coast guard station (100 yds away) in 1901 lived James Vickery with Joanna Slade a few doors further along. So, Sharp could see all 3 singers in 1904 in close proximity. Robert died 10/4/1915.