Heelis, Rev Thomas

Singer

Collection date: May 1905

Area: Cumbria


Rev Thomas Heelis, vicar of Crosthwaite nr Kendal sang in both the Folksong Competitions judged by Sharp in 1905 and 1906. Sharp awarded Heelis first prize in 1906 and took down 3 of his songs in all - ‘Bonny Boy’ (FT516), then ‘Seeds of Love’ (FT955) and ‘The Squire’s Daughter’ (FT956). Heelis was a member of the Folk Song Society:

Thomas Heelis was baptised on 27/8/1867, 5th child of Rev John Heelis and his wife Esther. Both parents were born and bred in Westmorland (Dufton and Patterdale, nr Penrith). Two of their sons became clergymen and three became solicitors.

Thomas Heelis went to Appleby grammar school and on to Keble College, Oxford. He was vicar at Helsington and at Kendal before taking the parish of Crosthwaite, 5 miles W of Kendal in 1900. He had married a cousin Ada Isabella Heelis in April qr 1894 and they had 4 children, of whom 2 died young. He lost his wife in 1919 but remained at Crosthwaite until his death on 24/8/1925, aged 58.

He was incidentally older brother of William Heelis, solicitor, who married Beatrix Potter, the children's writer, in 1913.

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