Lonkhurst, Clarke

Singer

Collection date: Sept 1908

Area: Kent


Clarke Lonkhurst at Ham Street (1863-1926): 1 song ‘Nobleman and the Thresherman’ FT1921 on 22 Sept 1908: Sharp’s handwriting for this singer has been interpreted as ‘Lankhurst’ but it is definitely ‘Lonkhurst’ in all records:

This popular song, sometimes entitled ‘The Honest Labourer’ (Roud 19), tells of how a nobleman meets a hard-working labourer and is so impressed with his work ethic that he gives him 45 acres of land. Fantasy or irony? Sharp collected 5 versions and there are many modern treatments. Clarke Lonkhurst recalled only 4 verses (FW1774) but there are usually 6 or 7 verses.  See https://afolksongaweek.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/week-98-nobleman-and-thresherman/

Clarke Lonkhurst was born in July qr 1863 (East Ashford 2a 553), youngest of 6 children of William Lonkhurst, a carrier, and his wife Sophia. In all censuses Clarke stated that he was born in either Warehorne or Orlestone - the villages are just 2 miles apart. In both 1871 and 1881 the censuses show the ‘civil parish’ as Warehorne but the actual abode of the Lonkhurst family as ‘Ham Street’, which is a hamlet between the 2 villages anyway! The railway station at Ham Street was built in 1851 on the Ashford-Hastings line. The Lonkhursts no doubt provided a carrier service for passengers and goods to use the railway line.

Clarke’s father William died in Dec 1876 and was buried at St Mary the Virgin Orlestone. Clarke initially helped his widowed mother to run the carrier business (1891 Ham Street census). He then branched out on his own, moving 20 miles N to Dunkirk village between Faversham and Canterbury, where he was a ‘licensed victualler’ (1901 census ref RG13/802 f5 p1).  He had recently married Edith Jane Knowler at Orlestone on 23/9/1894. She was from Kingsnorth, just S of Ashford. They had just one child (also Edith). In 1911 Clarke was back in Ham Street running the Duke’s Head pub (RG14/4277 schedule 46).

Clarke died on 16/4/1926 at Ham Street aged 62.

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