Lockyer, James

Collection date: Aug 1906

Area: Somerset - Bridgwater Surrounds


James Lockyer of Middlezoy (1819-1918): age 87, 13 songs commencing 15 Aug 1906: In both the Field notebooks and the Faircopy books Sharp has sown confusion over the 13 songs credited to ‘Lockyer’. The first 5 songs (FT1018-1022) are straightforwardly credited to ‘James Lockyer 87 at Middlezoy’. The next 2 songs (FT1023-4) are credited to ‘William Lockyer 87 at Middlezoy’ - same ages, so twins or cousins? Next ‘Hunting the Hare’ is credited to William in the Folk Tunes FT1025 but to James in Folk Words FW1047. The same problem occurs with the next song ‘Shepherdess and the Sailor’ - credited to William in FT1026 but to James in FW1048.

I cannot find a William Lockyer at all in the 1901 census in Middlezoy but there was a James Lockyer, a widower aged 81, farmer living next to the George Inn in Middlezoy. In the Field notebooks (FNW 1906/2 p43) Sharp notes that the singer was ‘born in Middlezoy in 1819’. This perfectly matches the baptism date for James of 14/4/1819 at Middlezoy church – James, son of Richard Lockyer, farmer and his wife Nancy. Until a William Lockyer can be found of the right age and location, I think we are dealing with one singer alone – James Lockyer.

He subsequently married Ann Morgan in March qr 1847 (ref X 517). They spent their whole lives in Middlezoy and raised 6 children. James obviously had a bit of capital from his farming father and set up a grocer’s shop in the village (1861) and Ann was running it in 1881. Ann died in Feb 1885 and James was initially supported by his daughter Rebecca. In 1901 he was on his own, aged 81, listed still as a ‘farmer and grocer’ (RG13/2282 f8 p6). He was still on his own in the 1911 census, aged 91 and did not die till June qr 1918 age 98 (ref Bridgwater 5c 405).

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