Collection date: Sept 1907
Mrs Maria Chedgey at Wick, nr Stogursey (1845-1926): 2 songs FT1460,62 on 4 Sept 1907: Although Sharp failed (for once) to record Mrs Chedgey’s age, Wick was a tiny hamlet of only 7 houses in 1901 census (RG13/2264 f48 p12) within the parish of Stogursey (District 5). At first sight there appears to be nobody with the Chedgey surname in Wick but there is a conundrum here. Thomas Coles, 56 (b Kilton) and his wife Maria, 60 (b Stogursey) are at Wick with daughter Emma, 20 and son Walter, 14. They were there in 1891 but with the surname ‘Chidgey’ – Thomas Chidgey 45 (Kilton), Maria (Stogursey), Emma 10 and Walter 3. It is the same family.
The explanation is that on 30/5/1844 Thomas was born illegitimate, son of Kitty Coles, and he was baptised privately on 5/6/1844 but this was not entered into the register at the time - the vicar clearly did not approve. Thomas was not admitted into the church until 1851 under a new curate. Kitty had meanwhile married Charles Chidgey, the father of the child. When Thomas got married on 31/5/1868, he was entered as ‘Thomas Coles’ and his father’s name as ‘Charles Chidgey’. He married Maria Clutsome, spinster of Stogursey. When the couple went to baptise their first child Albert, the baptism record at Kilton (19/9/1869) reads ‘Albert, son of Thomas Coles alias Chidgey’. Perhaps because of his uncertain start in life, Thomas seems to have called himself ‘Chidgey’ much of the time (e.g. 1891 census) but in church affairs he reverted to ‘Coles’. His second son Edward, who lived nearby, called himself ‘Chidgey’ all the time.
So, Sharp’s singer was most probably Maria Coles/Chidgey. She had a very similar start in life – born illegitimate daughter of Emma Clutsome (baptism 25/2/1845) but at her wedding in 1868 she boldly put down her biological father’s name as ‘James Dennish’. She had 6 children and husband Thomas worked as a ‘carter’. He died in 1908 and was buried at Stogursey church on 31/3/1908 – the entry says ‘Thomas Coles (usually called Chedgey), age 64 of Wick’. Maria was on parish relief by 1911 census, living with her daughter Emma (RG14/14147 sch43) at Shurton. Maria Coles’ death was registered April 1926 aged 82 (5c 320).