Gartell, James

Also known as: John Gartell


Collection date: Dec 1907

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)

James (John) Gartell at Castle Cary (1845-1909): age 63, 3 songs on 28 Dec 1907: Gartell said he learned the song ‘Widdicombe Fair’ from ‘an old ship mate in America over 40 years ago’ (Sharp’s notes FW1377). In his field notebook (CJS1/9/2/1907/12 p14) Sharp clearly wrote James Gartell but transcribed it as John Gartell. James is correct.

James Gartell was born in 1845 and baptised alongside his younger siblings Charles and Henry in one ceremony 29/7/1852 at Castle Cary church. He was the son of Charles Gartell, weaver and his wife Eliza. Charles came from Dorset (Bishop Caundle) and Eliza from Hounslow in London. In the 1871 census James, 26, was on board ship in Portsea harbour (RG10/1134 f203 p15) as an able seaman.

In 1881 he was back in Castle Cary, aged 35 a ‘hair dyer and washer’. His wife Sarah was a dressmaker from South Wales (RG11/2395 f90 p3). It’s likely that James’ trade was that of a horsehair worker, as he later left a little money to his relative Charles who was a ‘horse hair curler’. James is absent from subsequent censuses (probably his name was mis-spelled). He died 24/1/1909 in Castle Cary according to his probate record, leaving £107.

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