Brown, Gladys

Collection date: Apr 1908

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)


Gladys Brown of East Harptree (1895-?): age 12, 1 song ‘We are the Rovers’ (FT1648) on 15 Apr 1908: Her song is a corruption of ‘We are the Romans’, a children’s singing game (Roud 8255 see Gilchrist collection at VWML). In Scotland the song has a line ‘Have you any bread and wine?’ Hence Sharp’s comment (FW1502) that Gladys Brown sang ‘no ecclesiastical verses whatever’. Sharp also notes that Gladys learned the song in Gosport.

Gladys Dorothy Brown was the daughter of Andrew Brown, colour sergeant Royal Marines, and his wife Harriet. She was born in October 1895 and baptised on 5/4/1896 at Devizes Wilts, although her parents’ address was Forton (barracks), nr Gosport, Hants. The family was at Alverstoke Hants for the 1901 census (RG13/1010 f34 p12). Gladys went into domestic service and was listed in the 1911 census as aged 15, a ‘nurse’ at Harptree House, where Col Francis Mountstevens required help for his young family (daughters Lucy 4, Katherine 2). Sharp was staying at nearby Harptree Court with the Kettlewells and must have encountered the young Gladys. He incidentally noted children’s singing games from other East Harptree children at this time (FT1649-52). Gladys probably married Harold Lyons of East Harptree in March 1918 at Stone Glos but further details of her life are to be confirmed.

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