Swain, John

Also known as: Jack Swain


Collection date: Dec 1904

Area: Somerset - Hambridge surrounds

John Swain of Donyatt (1849-1919): age 55, 7 songs (25 Dec 1904): Two of John's songs were published in Folk Songs from Somerset vol2, namely 'Dabbling in the Dew' (FT455) and 'Earl Richard' (FT456): John Swain was born in 1849, 6th child of Thomas & Ann Swain of Barrington. He was the brother of singer Mrs Eliza Dabinett. In 1871 he was a shepherd, living at home in Barrington.

On 14/11/1872 at Puckington church he married Lydia Bridge, daughter of Stephen Bridge, gardener. John could not sign his name. They apparently met at a servants’ ball at Barrington Court. In both 1881 and 1891 John was a shepherd, living at Sea nr Ilminster with his wife and family of 9 children. In 1901 he was at The Downs, Donyatt (RG13/2290 f34 p1).

Sadly his wife Lydia died in Apr 1902 and John was on his own when Sharp met him on Xmas Day 1904. John was reluctant to sing for Sharp, having just had his Xmas lunch and enjoying a good rest! John was alone in 1911 census, still at The Downs and with no children in support. John probably died Mar qr 1919.

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