Collection date: Jan 1907
James Chedgey at Over Stowey (1849-1933): age 51, 5 songs (FT1230ff) on 23 Jan 1907: Sharp noted that James was from Bincombe, which is a hamlet a mile to the north of Over Stowey on the way to Nether Stowey. The 1901 census (RG13/2280 f90 p5) clearly shows ‘James Chedgey, 46, shoemaker born Kilton’ living at Bincombe, so this is ‘our man’. It would have made him 51 when he met Sharp, which matches Sharp’s recollection.
However, there are some problems with Chedgey’s record for two reasons – firstly his surname was sometimes spelled ‘Chidgey’, which makes it difficult to track him over decades; and secondly although his age in three censuses would suggest a birth date of 1855, the census of 1911 gave his age as 62, which suggests a birth date of 1849. Kilton is a small village 5 miles north of Over Stowey and there is no-one matching James’ profile with a birth date of 1855. But there was a James Chiggey baptised 27/5/1849 at Kilton, son of George and Harriet Chiggey. I think this is ‘our man’. James just understated his age a lot!
The Chiggey family were at Kilton in the 1851 census (James aged 2). Harriet Chiggey died in 1857, when James would have been 8. He can’t be found in the 1861 census and may have been ‘farmed out’. A James Chidgey with the right age (22) from ‘Williton’ was enrolled in the Coldstream Guards at Chelsea (1871 census) and that may or may not be ‘our man’. A James Chidgey married Caroline Hill (Williton 5c 453) in October qr 1879 but no church record backs that up.
In summary what we do know is that ‘our man’ James Chedgey at Bincombe in 1901 was husband to Caroline and father to 10 children. The 1911 census states that they had been married 33 years, which is close to the Williton registration (above). One of James’ songs to Sharp was (appropriately) ‘The Shoemaker’ (FT1230). James Chedgey probably died Oct qr 1933 ‘age 85’ (5c 372).