Hall, Selina

Collection date: Aug 1911

Area: Warwickshire


Selina Hall at Shipston workhouse: age 80, 1 song ‘Bitter Withy’ FT2616 on 22 Aug 1911: In the 1911 workhouse records (RG14/18865 p5) Selina Hall’s entry says ‘widow 4 children (3 surviving), age 80, needlewoman, born Stretton-on-Fosse, one hand only from birth’. It’s remarkable to have been a needlewoman with such a handicap – a determined person!

She was baptised ‘Elina’ Long on 16/1/1832 at Stretton-on-Fosse, 4th child and only daughter of Thomas Long, carpenter and his wife Eleanor. In all censuses she was either ‘Slina’ or ‘Selina’. She married Francis Hall, agricultural labourer, at Stretton on 21/8/1860. They had 3 sons and remained in Stretton all their married life. Francis died in June 1904 and at some point Selina went into the workhouse. She died aged 83 in January qr 1916 (Shipston 6d 1074).

Note: In at least 4 censuses Selina was shown living as neighbour or near-neighbour to the Bumpus family. This is relevant because the Ilmington morris men have a dance called ‘Bumpus o’Stretton’. It’s not known how old the tune is nor how it originated. When Sharp took down the tune from fiddler Sam Bennett (FT2058) in Jan 1909, he also noted the accompanying lyrics:

‘Bumpus o’Stretton married a maid, But I doubt it, I doubt it, I doubt it.

She was married before, the people all said, But I doubt it, I doubt it, I doubt it.’

John Bumpus (1792-1876) was a small farmer (50 acres) from an established family in the town. He had 3 sons – Richard (b1834), a butcher in the town; John Jr (b1839) and Joseph (b1842). Both John Jr and Joseph left Stretton and were working as railway plate-layers at Sileby in Leicestershire in 1881 and 1891 censuses. It has been suggested that John Bumpus Jr also worked as a landscape gardener at nearby Cossington Hall* and even went to the USA. When he died in 1921, his will did describe him as a ‘retired gardener’. However, it’s not really knowable which of the Bumpus family had a doubtful marriage!

*Cossington Hall was the home of the Fisher family for many years and later (mid-1950s) of the TV personality Lady Isobel Barnett.

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