Higgins, James


Collection date: Sept 1907

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)

James Higgins at Shepton Mallet (1819-1910): age 88, 13 fiddle tunes (FT1496-1501; 1503-05; 1534-37) on 13 Sept & 31 Dec 1907: James Higgins was baptised at the non-conformist Bruton Union Chapel on 13/9/1819, son of John & Mary Higgins. He married Elizabeth Forward on 11/9/1842 at Shepton Mallet church. They had one daughter Elizabeth. Both mother and daughter worked as silk weavers, while James was a boot and shoe maker.

After his wife died in 1883, James seems to have deteriorated, as he was admitted to the Shepton Mallet workhouse as early as 1891 census. In the 1901 census he was still there, a ‘pauper’ and in the margin was written ‘kidney disease’ (ref RG13/2313 f108 p1). He may thus have been quite frail when he met Sharp but still delivered some lively tunes including the well-known Shepton Mallet Hornpipe (FT1497). He died in Jan qr 1910 age 90 (ref 5c 310).

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