Howard, Henry

Also known as: Howard, Harry

Dancer

Collection date: Sept 1922

Area: Northamptonshire


Henry Howard of Brackley morris (see also Timothy Howard) 1865-1941: When Sharp published 7 Brackley dances in Morris Book 3 (2nd ed 1924 p89), he acknowledged the combined efforts of the ‘brothers’ Timothy & Henry Howard as his informants. This is confirmed in Folk Dance Notes 1/92. It would appear that he met them both on 11 Sept 1909 at Timothy's house in Brackley.

Henry was indeed Timothy's younger brother and he was born c1865, 5th and last child of Timothy Howard Snr and his wife Mary Ann. He was actually always called Harry Howard (all censuses), although at his wedding in 1906 to Harriet Jones, he did state his name as Henry. He was illiterate and could not sign his name in the register. They had no children. Harry probably died in January qr 1941 (3b 14).

It seems that the Brackley side performed regularly in the 1850s and 1860s under Timothy Howard Snr (1822-89), continuing in the 1870s and into the 1880s, when the death of their pipe and tabor player James (Jimmy) Watts in 1887 may have interrupted matters*. Fred Hamer contended that the Brackley side did dance again (perhaps intermittently) under Timothy Howard Jr up until 1914, switching their performances from Whitsun to August Bank Holidays (Hamer in Journal of the EFDSS 1955 p208).

*The brothers William and Charles Blackwell of Turweston village were then brought in as musicians on the tin whistle. William (b1859) and Charles (b1867) were unfortunately not visited by Sharp in 1922 and so he had to borrow tunes from elsewhere for some of his Brackley dances. Charles Blackwell lived on till 1946 and was able to share information with Dr Kenworthy Schofield in 1937. His sister Susannah had a son Edwin Archie Kendall, a musician who also passed on Brackley tunes to boost the current repertoire.

Note: In Sharp’s field notebook (tunes 1922/1 p10) he notates ‘Maid of the Mill’ from a 'William Henry Howard, aged 77'.  This tune was reproduced by Lionel Bacon in his ‘Morris Handbook’ in 1974 (p108) alongside a version by Timothy Howard himself, who was then 71 according to field book p11. William Henry Howard (1846-1930) was actually Timothy Howard’s cousin – their fathers were both sons of Charles and Judith Howard. It is possible that Sharp, in his attempts to understand the Howard family tree, mistook the two informants in front of him - William Henry and Timothy - as ‘brothers’ when they were cousins. On the other hand, perhaps Sharp really did see Timothy’s brother Harry Howard dancing for him in 1922 – he would have been aged 57. It’s not perfectly clear (Folk Dance Notes 4/92).

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