Gilson, Robert

Also known as: Robert Gillson


Collection date: Jan 1913

Area: Yorkshire

Robert Gilson of Askham Richard sword dance (1856-1937): Sharp wrote ‘Gillson’ but his baptismal record and 6 out 7 censuses record ‘Gilson’. Sharp visited Askham Richard, 6 miles SW of York, on 16 Jan 1913 and interviewed 3 men – Robert Gilson (fiddler), Samuel Bland (leader) and William Calvert (singer on). He published 4 tunes (‘Fisher Laddie’, ‘Fill the Stoup and keep it clinkin’, ‘Bobby Shaftoe’ and ‘Girl I left behind me’ in Sword Dance Airs Bk 3 pp11-13). Gilson’s version of the latter is noted by Sharp as FT2813. The Askham Richard band apparently had 2 fiddlers and a drummer (FDN 3/13).

Robert Gilson was baptized on 16/1/1856 at Askham Bryan, 9th out of 10 children of John Gilson, miller and beer-seller, and his wife Elizabeth. Robert became a miller and ‘flour dealer’ (1901 census RG13/4433 f123 p3). He married his wife Jane in 1889; they had no children. Robert died on 19 June 1937 and is buried at Askham Bryan churchyard.

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