Harden, Mrs Alice


Collection date: Oct 1911

Area: Kent

Mrs Alice Harden (of Sittingbourne) at Ham Street (1870-1939): 3 carols ‘Moon shines bright’, ‘Seven Joys of Mary’ and ‘As I sat in a sunny bank’ (FT2704-06) on 11 Oct 1911. Sharp wrote ‘Harding’ but it should be ‘Harden’.

Alice Harden was the daughter of James Beale (see separate profile) and Sharp gave her co-credits with her father for the singing of ‘Sons of Levi’ in his English Folk-Carols book (1911 p66). The carol was collected (from James Beale) in Sept 1908 (FT1922) but no mention was made of Alice’s contribution at that time in either field notebooks or faircopy books incl FW1775. It’s conceivable that the song was re-collected in Oct 1911 with both father and daughter present at Ham Street, although the tune in the Folk-Carols book is almost identical to the 1908 tune. The crucial information missing is James Beale’s date of death, as he died sometime in the October quarter of 1911. Local sources will confirm this in due course:

Alice Isabella Beale was baptised on 6/2/1870 at Orlestone church, 5th of 10 children of James Beale and his wife Charlotte. The family lived at Ham Street, which was a new settlement that grew around the railway station (opened 1851). In the 1901 census at Ham Street James Beale was listed as a ‘wood dealer (timber)’, which is perhaps how his daughter Alice met (David) Thomas Harden, wood dealer. She married him at Orlestone church on 27/8/1893 and they had 4 children but lost 1 in infancy.

By the 1911 census Thomas Harden had become farm bailiff at Newberry Farm, Tonge, 2 miles E of Sittingbourne. This was 26 miles to the north but obviously Alice travelled back by train to meet Sharp at Ham Street in 1911.

Alice Harden died in April qr 1939 (Milton Kent ref 2a 1401) aged 69.

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