Durston, Lucy

Also known as: Lucy Dunston

Collection date: Apr 1909

Area: Somerset - Bridgwater Town


Lucy Durston of Bridgwater (prob 1854-1931): age 60, 4 songs (FT2180-3) on 16 Apr 1909: Lucy’s song ‘A Sailor from Dover’ (Roud 180) concerns a scorned lover who in turn rejects his sweetheart when she changes her mind. It was published in the Journal of The Folk Song Society (1927) and in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (1959). Sharp’s handwriting of Lucy’s surname has been interpreted as ‘Dunston’ but this is unlikely. Durston was a common local name and there is a village 6 miles south of Bridgwater called Durston.

The most likely candidate to be this singer is Lucy Durston (née Hutchings) born April qr 1854 and baptised at St Mary’s Bridgwater on 10/9/1854, daughter of Frederick Hutchings, labourer and his wife Jane. This would make Lucy only 55 at her meeting with Sharp rather than 60 but she remains the best candidate (see notes in Classic English Folk Songs revised by Malcolm Douglas pub EFDSS 2003p129).

Lucy Hutchings was working as a domestic servant in the 1871 Bridgwater census. On 7/7/1881 at Bridgwater St Mary’s she married John Durston, mariner, son of George Durston (deceased). In the 1891 census John Durston was listed as a ‘sweep’ and did not have any children. Lucy’s mother Jane, widow 77, was staying with them. In 1901 (RG13/2283 f56 p10) John and Lucy were living in Albert Street, Bridgwater and although Lucy was 48, they had a son John aged 6. A late and precious child? John is a self-employed chimney sweep and a member of the town’s Fire Brigade. Lucy has no occupation listed. John Durston probably died Oct 1920 and Lucy April qr 1931 (5c 393).

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