Lawley, Thomas

Singer

Collection date: Sept 1923

Area: Shropshire


Thomas Lawley at Church Stretton Union workhouse: age 72, 1 song ‘On Christmas Night all christians sing’ (FT4962) on 1 Sept 1923: Sharp had already collected this carol from William Bayliss in Buckland Glos in April 1909 and published it in his ‘English Folk-Carols’ book (Novello 1911 p24). It is a very old carol, attributed to Bishop Wadding in 1684 but is sometimes referred to today as the ‘Sussex Carol’, because Vaughan Williams collected a version from Mrs Verrall near Horsham in 1904 and published it in 1919. Sharp obviously liked Thomas Lawley’s tune.

http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/on_christmas_night-1.htm

The 1921 census may provide further details but this singer was probably Thomas Lawley, born at Rushbury, 5 miles E of Church Stretton in July qr 1851 (ref 18-41). He was the only son of Thomas Lawley, agricultural labourer, and his wife Elizabeth. He had 4 sisters.

Thomas Lawley worked all his life as an agricultural labourer and lived with his widowed mother for many years at Wall Bank, 3 miles E of Church Stretton. He never married and probably died January qr 1924 (ref 6a 893).

Sharp was probably staying at Church Stretton for health reasons - it was a popular Edwardian spa and known as 'Little Switzerland'. In October 1923 he went for 2 months to Montreux in Switzerland because his health had not improved (see profile of Samson Price).

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