Hemmings, James


Collection date: Apr 1910

Area: Oxfordshire

James Hemmings of Abingdon morris (1854-1935): Mary Neal discovered the Abingdon Morris tradition in autumn 1909 and invited James and his older brother William to London to teach three dances to the Esperance Girls’ Club. The dances and tunes were then published in the first Esperance Morris Book (Curwen April 1910).

When Sharp met the Hemmings brothers on 1 April 1910, James did not contribute any tunes but talked to Sharp regarding the history and customs of the Abingdon morris men. The information was recorded in Folk Dance Notes vol1 p102ff at the time and was subsequently published in Morris Book vol 3 (2nd edition 1924).

James Hemmings was born in April qr 1854 (2c 263), 4th son of Thomas Hemmings, agricultural labourer and his wife Louisa. In January qr 1875 he married Caroline Randall, daughter of Henry Randall, shoemaker. They had 7 sons and 4 daughters. As a young man James was a wool (cloth) dresser in 1871, a general labourer in 1881 and subsequently a ‘fellmonger’ in Ock Street – a dealer in hides and skins. James died in January qr 1935 aged 80 (2c 394).

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