Sharp first visited North Devon to look for folksingers as early as Jan 1904. This was at the invitation of Rev Alex de Gex, rector of Meshaw, 6 miles SE of South Molton. De Gex had read about the Hampstead Conservatoire concert in November 1903, when Sharp presented some of the songs freshly gathered in Somerset. Sharp made further visits to Devon over the next few years, meeting Rev Sabine Baring Gould on 3 occasions at Lewtrenchard (near Coryton station: see map below). Priscilla Wyatt-Edgell was the third intermediary who helped him.

In all Sharp met 29 singers, 1 musician and 1 dancer in Devon - the most prolific singer being William Nott (32 songs) and the most interesting (arguably) being the gypsy singers  Rebecca Holland and Priscilla Cooper. Rebecca Holland's grand-daughter Betsy Holland can be found in the West Somerset Directory, as Sharp first met her there.

From these informants (20 men, 11 women) Sharp obtained 121 songs/tunes. Their average age was 59.7 yrs. Of the men, 10 were agricultural labourers and 2 were farmers; 3 blacksmiths, 2 road labourers, and 1 each wheelwright, shoemaker and tailor. Of the women, 2 were gypsy hawkers.

For information on folk events in Devon try

Books by Author David Sutcliffe

Cecil Sharp and the Quest for Folk Song and Dance

A new biography of Cecil Sharp, written by David Sutcliffe

£20.00 + p&p

The Keys of Heaven - The Life of Revd Charles Marson

This is the first biography of the Revd Charles Marson.

£6.00 + p&p