Heather, Samuel


Collection date: May 1913

Area: Cornwall

Samuel Heather at Camborne, Cornwall (1858-1941): age 55, 3 songs 9 May 1913: Samuel sang another version of ‘The Holy Well’ (FT2838) which (like Sidney Veal’s) found its way into the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 5 (1914). Samuel sang it later (1934) to James M Carpenter (Carpenter 05197). Sharp recorded Samuel’s age as 55 in 1913. Carpenter confirmed that Samuel was born in Ramsgate, nr Barripper in Cornwall (Carpenter 07199).

Samuel Heather was indeed born on 26/7/1858 in Ramsgate, a hamlet nr Barripper village, a mile or so to the SW of Camborne. He was the 6th child of William Heather, an engine driver and his first wife Martha (née Holman). William Heather had previously been recorded as 'William Haither, copper miner' (1851). Martha Heather must have died c1861 because William was remarried on 26/6/1862 to Catherine Dunstone at St John, Treslothan.

So Samuel was brought up by his stepmother. In April qr 1880 Samuel Heather married Mary Anna Kevern (Redruth 5c 326) and they had 3 children. Samuel worked as a tin miner for many years but was an insurance agent, aged 52 at Barripper in the 1911 census. He died April qr 1941 aged 82 (5c 549).

Note: Samuel Heather also sang a version of 'Nowell, Nowell' (FT2839). Sharp only collected 2 variants of the traditional 'First Nowell' carol (Roud 682). It had been standardised by Davies Gilbert (1823), by William Sandys (1833) and in 4-part harmony by John Stainer (1871). But Samuel Heather's 'folk' version was distinctive and one day later Sharp obtained another (similar) version from Mr Bartle Symons, which Sharp preferred to publish in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 5 (1914). See entry for Bartle Symons.

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