Somerset - Hambridge & Westport

The story of Sharp’s collection of the song ‘The Seeds of Love’ from John England, Rev Charles Marson’s gardener at Hambridge Vicarage is well known. The date was 22 August 1903. Sharp and Marson collected 31 songs from 13 singers in Hambridge but then a massive 102 songs from the half-sisters Lucy White and Louie Hooper, who lived in the nearby hamlet of Westport alongside Lizzie Welch (15 songs).

The average age of these singers (8 men and 8 women) was only 43 - surprisingly young when compared with Sharp's experience (or selectivity elsewhere). Of the men, 5 laboured on the land in some capacity; 1 farmer; 2 were blacksmiths. Of the women, 5 had been glovers but switched to shirtmaking (small manufactory or at home), 2 more were collar makers. Gloving was particularly conducive to the singing and transmission of folksongs. Patient hours passed in small groups in home settings, supportive atmosphere, repetition of song material (see Louie Hooper profile). 

Map Illustration by Tom Jay.