Mason, John

Collection date: Mar 1907

Area: Gloucestershire


John Mason, fiddler, at Stow-on-the-Wold workhouse, Glos (1834-1912): age 73, 45 tunes and 2 songs over 4 visits 27 March 1907; subsequent visits 2 Aug 1907; 29 Jly/2 Aug 1909 + 18 Aug 1909: About half of Mason’s tunes were country dance tunes and half were morris tunes. He had once played fiddle for the Sherborne Morris side but had links with several other morris sides too. Mason’s contributions came perhaps a little too early for Sharp and he used none of Mason’s tunes in any of his 5 Morris Books. Two of his tunes (‘London Pride’ FT1284 and ‘Jockey to the Fair’ FT1251) are, however, included among the Longborough dances in A Handbook of Morris Tunes pp248, 263 (Lionel Bacon 1974 for the Morris Ring).

John Mason was baptised on 3/8/1834, the 9th of 10 children born to Thomas Mason, agricultural labourer and his wife Charlotte at Icomb, 3 miles south of Stow-on-the-Wold. John was only 14 when his father died in early 1849. His mother worked as a laundress and John as an agricultural labourer in both 1851 and 1861 censuses. He married Hannah Stayte at Icomb church on 19/4/1863 and they had 10 children. But Hannah died in 1882 and, surprisingly perhaps, John was on his own in the 1891 census (aged 56) and again in the 1901 census (ref RG13/2453 f83 p4). He then entered Stow-on-the-Wold workhouse where Sharp met him and took his photo. John Mason was buried at Stow on 8/11/1912.