Collection date: Sept 1911
Robert Grimditch at Ely workhouse (c1832-1918): age 80, 2 songs ‘Sovay Sovay’ and ‘Bonny Bunch of Roses O’ (FT2656,7) on 11 Sept 1911. Sharp also got information from Grimditch on the Plough Monday customs of Cambridgeshire including the six-handed reels of (molly) dancing (see Folk Dance Notes 2/39-40). Grimditch played tambourine and collected money at the dances. Sharp never actually collected any molly dancing tunes or figures associated with Plough Monday. This was perhaps by mischance rather than neglect - he just wasn't in Cambridgeshire at the right time of year.
Robert Grimditch was born c1832 in Little Downham*, 3 miles N of Ely; he was the last of 6 children of Richard Grimditch, agricultural labourer and his wife Elizabeth.
Robert never married and went to live with his spinster sister Margaret, who was 20 years older than him. She was a milliner and dressmaker in St Mary St, Ely (1871 & 1881 censuses). He was an assistant and was also listed as a ‘ginger beer maker’. By 1891 both Margaret and Robert had been admitted to Ely workhouse, aged 81 and 59 respectively. Robert was still there in 1901 and in 1911 too. He died in July qr 1918 aged 87 (3b 500).
*Molly dancing was last recorded in Little Downham in 1933. The revival of molly dancing in the 1970s was largely due to the efforts of Russell Wortley and the Cambridge Morris Men. See Youtubes by Gog MaGog Molly and other sides.