Frise, Harry

Also known as: Harry Friar


Collection date: Sept 1906

Area: Devon

Harry Frise of Lew Down, West Devon (1878-1959): age 27, 1 dance 1 Sept 1906: Broom stick dance FW1102 (re-collected FW1260): Sharp recorded that the dance was performed at Lew Trenchard to the tune of ‘The Soldier’s Joy’, a hornpipe tune and that it ‘always finished up the Harvest Home’ celebration. Sharp wrote the name of the dancer (who came from Lew Down) as ‘Frize’ but it has been wrongly read as ‘Friar’. 

Martin Graebe recommends Henry Frise, aged 25 in 1901 census for Marystow parish as the best candidate for dancer in Folk Music Journal 2008 p346 note 39 and this looks right. The family in most censuses and records used the spelling ‘Frise’ and that will stand here.

Henry Frise was born at Thrushelton on 11/10/1878, 3rd son (out of 8 boys) to George Frise, shoemaker and his wife Fanny (née Bailey). In 1891 Henry was living with his grandfather Richard Bailey, a farmer at Thrushelford, perhaps to learn farming ways. In 1901 Henry was aged 22, an agricultural labourer back at home with his parents (RG13/2120 f66 p10). They had been living for some years at Holster Yard, half a mile west of Lew Down village in the parish of Marystow, right next door* to James Parsons, one of Baring-Gould’s most prolific singers (89 songs). Although James Parsons had died in 1900, his influence may have been continued in the youthful dancing of Henry Frise.

* RG12/1752 schedules 33,34

By the time of the encounter with Sharp, Henry was newly married to a local girl Alice Courtice from Dippertown. Henry served for 3 years in the Royal Navy in World War One. He died Oct qr 1959 aged 81.

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