Vincent, John

Collection date: Dec 1905

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)


John Vincent at Priddy (1833-1908): age 71, 10 songs commencing 21 Dec 1905: John’s family came from the Wincanton area, 20 miles to the SE of Priddy. He was baptised John Vinson, son of Silas & Ann Vinson at Charlton Musgrove church on 22/12/1833. In the 1851 census Silas was 75, a pauper and Ann a washerwoman, 64. In 1861 John was still at Charlton Musgrove, working as an agricultural labourer; mother Ann was with him, a widow. In 1871 John was still in Wincanton area, married to Hannah (b Gillingham, Dorset) and they had 3 children. They had a further 7 children that survived infancy. But they made the move north to Priddy in 1876 and John would stay there for the rest of his life. He was a ‘caretaker of cattle’ in 1891 and in 1901 was an agricultural labourer at Dale Farm, Priddy (RG13/2315 f25 p5).

Sharp stated that John was a fine singer but one song ‘Henry Martin’ (FT686) proved tricky to notate, because at the end of each verse John used the final note to commence the following verse. As a result the song moved higher and higher in key until Sharp intervened to provide a better starting note. Two of John’s other songs were ‘checked’ by Sharp for a second time (FT941, 942).

Sharp paid one final visit to John on 29/8/1906 to collect ‘O Dear O (my husband’s got no courage in him), which is FT 1095 Roud 870: click vwml link above. Sharp had already obtained a version from George Wyatt at Harptree (Aug ’04 FT 358) but the song was rare. It was picked up by Bert Lloyd in the 1950s and is still sung today. John Vincent was buried at Priddy church 17/4/1908.

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