Crossman, Frederick

Singer

Collection date: Apr 1904

Area: Somerset - Langport & Huish Episcopi


Frederick Henry Crossman of Huish Episcopi (1845-1933): age 59, 12 songs commencing 11 Apr 1904: Four of Fred's songs were published in the Folk Songs from Somerset series, namely 'As I walked through the Meadows' (FT231 vol1); 'Cornish Young Man' (FT171 vol2); 'Husbandman and Serving Man' (FT816 vol3); and 'New Year's Song' (FT2032 vol5):

Frederick Crossman was born on 3/9/1845 and baptised in St Mary’s Huish Episcopi on 28/9/1845. He had an older brother Albert (baptised 5/3/1843). Their father Thomas Crossman (b1802) was a farmer of 40 acres in 1851 census. On 8 Sept 1866 at St Mary’s Huish Episcopi Fred Crossman married Maria Jones. His father is shown as deceased by then. Maria was the daughter of Thomas Jones, stone mason. They had 10 children, one of whom died young. In both 1871 and 1881 censuses Fred was a gardener and the family was living over Bruton way. In 1891 they were in Hinton St George before settling back in Huish by 1901.

Fred was a market gardener and a bellringer. As a young man he learned many songs as he travelled around looking for work - reaping the harvest on Salisbury Plain or withy-stripping in nearby Wagg Drove. In Sharp's field notebook tunes (CJS1/9/2/1904/5 p19) Fred said that he had learned one song from a 'ballet' sold at Bridgwater Fair 'when I was about 12'. Fred died on 3/2/1933 (obituary in Langport Herald).