Collection date: Aug 1906
Joseph Laver of Bridgwater (1834-1909): age 72, 12 songs commencing 13 Aug 1906: Sharp visited Joseph Laver on 3 occasions and collected ‘The Outlandish Knight’ twice (FT1002 and 1405), just to make sure he got Joseph’s rather tricky tune. When he published the song in Folk Songs from Somerset vol 4, he commented ‘Mr Laver varied his tune, which is in the dorian mode, in almost every verse’ (p76). Sharp selected two other songs for vol 4 – ‘Coasts of High Barbary’ (FT1001) and ‘Bonny Lighter Boy’ (FT1385).
Joseph Laver was baptised at North Petherton church on 12/10/1834, son of John Laver, boatman and his wife Elizabeth. On 12/8/1860 at Bridgwater St Mary’s he married Elizabeth Culverwell, a dressmaker and daughter of John Culverwell, tile maker. They had 4 daughters. Elizabeth was buried at Bridgwater St Mary’s on 24/5/1878, aged only 45 and Joseph continued as a widower in West Street, supported by his eldest daughter Ellen, right through to the 1901 census (RG13/2284 f126 p36). Joseph was a general labourer for 30 years but took to market gardening in his 50s and 60s. He was admitted at some point to the Union hospital (Sharp doesn’t cite this) and was buried at St Mary’s on 28/4/1909 aged 75 by Rev Warren.