Swain, Lucy


Collection date: Dec 1905

Area: Somerset - Langport surrounds

Mrs Lucy Swain of Somerton (1842-1926): age 63, 1 song ‘Shannon side’ (FT731) on 30 Dec 1905: Lucy Wyatt Laver was born 19/3/1842 and baptised 17/4/1842 at Curry Rivel church, only child of Thomas & Mary Laver. Mary Laver (née Churchill) had been a schoolteacher and indeed owned her own school but gave this up when she married rather late in life at age 39. Lucy did receive an education from her mother as a result and was exceptional at spelling according to her grandchildren (David Bland notes, letter from Mrs Haines c1973). Her father Thomas was listed as a Chelsea Pensioner aged 58 in the 1851 census.

Lucy married Charles Swain, labourer at Kingsbury Episcopi church on 25/12/1869. Interestingly he was illiterate and could not sign his name. The couple set up home in Barrington (1871 census p4 showed Lucy as a kid glove maker, age 28). Charles was first cousin* of singer John Swain, who in the same census (p14) was a shepherd working at Barrington Court and who in Dec 1904 sang for Cecil Sharp at Donyatt. Lucy & Charles had 5 children and moved to Somerton in 1876, where Lucy lived at North Field in 1881-1911 censuses. For some reason in the last 3 censuses she spelled her name Swayne but Sharp used Swain. Charles Swain was killed in an accident at Ham Hill stone quarry in May 1896 and Lucy moved in with her daughter Alice, son-in-law Robert Pattemore and 2 grandchildren in Somerton by 1911 census. Lucy died of cancer on 28/6/1926 aged 84.

*Charles’ father John (bp 1/11/1807) was older brother of John Swain’s father Thomas, both were sons of Joseph & Mary Swain.

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