Ash, Charles


Collection date: Sept 1908

Area: Somerset - Taunton District

Charles Ash at Crowcombe (1850-1927): age 58, 22 songs over several visits commencing 9 Sept 1908: Sharp said Charles was 63 but it seems that 58 would have been correct. All the censuses confirm that age. Charles was a prolific singer and his version of ‘The Pretty Ploughboy’ (FT1870) was selected for Folk Songs from Somerset vol5. He said he learned it from his mother, who learned it from her mother at Bishop’s Lydeard.

Charles Ash was baptised on 7/7/1850 at West Bagborough, eldest of 4 children of Thomas Ash, agricultural labourer and his wife Caroline. Caroline’s maiden name was Rogers and she was born 1826, older sister to the singer Emma (b1834), whose married name was Callow. Sharp noted in his field notebook (words) that Emma Callow was indeed aunt to Charles Ash (CJS1/9/1/1908/6 p14). The mysterious singing grandmother would have been Hannah Rogers (née Morgan) married at Bishop’s Lydeard in Nov 1825.

The other family link is that Charles was cousin to singer Amos Ash. Charles’ father Thomas Ash (bp 18/4/1821 West Bagborough) was the younger brother of John Ash (bp 22/10/1815 West Bagborough), Amos’ father. Charles married Mary Jane Grant at Crowcombe church on 1/5/1879 and they had one child Sidney (b1880). Charles worked as an agricultural labourer and a carter. The 1901 census shows the small family at Crowcombe (RG13/2265 f49 p6). Charles died April qr 1927.

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