Massheder, Levi


Collection date: Mar 1913

Area: Yorkshire

Levi Massheder of Salton sword dance (1838-1920): Sharp met Levi on 25 March 1913 near the end of his dance collecting in Yorkshire. He transcribed his interview in Folk Dance Notes 3/45-46 but did not publish the dance in his Sword Dance Books. Sharp wrote ‘Masheder’ but consistent spelling (birth/marriage registrations etc) was ‘Massheder’. Levi said that he last danced 54 years ago (i.e. 1859).

Levi Massheder was born in Lockton, 6 miles NE of Pickering, in January qr 1838 (ref 24-361), 5th son of Thomas Massheder, agricultural labourer and his wife Jane. Thomas died in 1848 when Levi was just 10 and he was out to work as a ‘farm servant’ at a local farm, aged 13, in 1851 census. He became a boot and shoe maker and may have taken an apprenticeship in Salton, which is 8 miles the other side (SW) of Pickering in the mid-1850s. This would have given him a few years to learn the sword dance there before he moved to Pickering to ply his trade. In the 1861 census he was living with his older sister Hannah and her husband Samuel Trueman, a tailor, at Eastgate in Pickering.

Levi remained in Pickering for the rest of his life, marrying Emma Jane Tate in the October qr 1864 (Pickering 9d 852). They had 4 sons and 2 daughters. In the 1871 census Levi was listed as a boot and shoe maker, employing 2 men but also as a Primitive Methodist local preacher. He died in July qr 1920 aged 82 (Pickering 9d 455).

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