Woodland, Jim


Collection date: Dec 1903

Area: Somerset - Hambridge surrounds

Jim Woodland of Stocklinch (1841-?): age 62, 4 songs (Dec 1903, Apr 1904): In FT159 ‘Brimbledown Fair’ Sharp wrote ‘Soldier Jim’ against the singer’s name and in the 1911 census for Stocklinch there was indeed a James Woodland ‘Navy pensioner (Royal Marines) aged 69’. Jim's Wassail song (FT57) is a good tune to accompany a 'visiting wassail' round the village (click vwml link above and compare to Miss Quick's Drayton wassail):

Working back in time, this was James Woodland, who was baptised 26/12/1841 at Stocklinch Ottersey church (now a defunct church), son and 3rd child of Joseph & Fanny Woodland. The family with 5 children were in Stocklinch in 1851 and do not seem directly related to Samuel Woodland in nearby Puckington, whose daughters Mary Jane (Ree) and Lizzie (Welch) were singers for Sharp.

In 1861 (RG9/4438 f120 p2) a James Woodland, 24, able seaman was on board the Royal Navy ship Bantour (3 guns) lying at anchor off Silver Island Yangste Kiang. This is probably ‘our man’. In 1881 (RG11/2041 f87p2) a James Woodland, 37, unmarried, born Stocklinch was an attendant at the Wiltshire Lunatic Asylum in Devizes. This is the kind of job a former marine might do. On 14 Nov 1882 James Woodland (bachelor) married Jane Dean (widow) at Dinnington church. They had 8 children and in the 1901 census James was listed as an agricultural labourer aged 59 with 7 young children still at home (RG13/2290 f111 p2).

He may have married late but Sharp encountered James as a real family man at Xmas 1903. His wife Jane sadly died in Sept 1907 and in 1911 James was a widower aged 69, a Navy Pensioner (Royal Marines), still responsible for 6 children at home, his 5 daughters all being ‘collar workers at factory’. His date of death has yet to be confirmed.

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