Bishop, James

Collection date: Sept 1905

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)


James Bishop at Priddy (1833-1906): age 72, 8 songs (6 in a ‘session’ at Hunter’s Lodge pub 18 Sept 1905 + 2 in Dec): Two of Bishop's songs were published in Folk Songs from Somerset vol3, namely 'A Ship in Distress' (FT668) and 'Brimbledon Fair' (FT669):

James was born 1/8/1833 and baptized 1/9/1833 at Priddy church, son of James Bishop (labourer) and Susannah. On 18/4/1853 in Priddy church he married Harriet Maine, daughter of George & Charlotte Maine (neither could sign their names). Harriet was baptised 26/2/1832 in Priddy. They lived their whole lives just outside Priddy village to the east, an area within the District of Wells St Cuthbert Without. But they were Priddy people. They had 10 children and James is described as a farmer (24 acres in 1871) and a haulier (1881). In 1901 he was farming at Rookham Farm just a short distance south of the Hunter’s Lodge pub (ref RG13/2315 f55 p21). He was good friends with Samuel Weeks, the publican there.

According to David Bland papers (Box 1 f21) James carried the Friendly Club flag, often wore a top hat and was nicknamed ‘Blue Jimmer’. James was a fine singer but also won prizes for his step dancing and was a good fighter too! He died on 28 July 1906 and was buried at Priddy church on 2nd August. He left £261 in his will. His wife Harriet died November 1909.

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