Collection date: Apr 1906
Mrs (Emily) Coombes of Bridgwater (1842-1914): age 65, 5 songs on 14 April 1906: Sharp gives us the age of the singer (65) but no first name. He does, however, add a note in his Field Notebook Words (FNW1906/1 p32)) that Mrs Coombes’ maiden name was Jarman and that her grandmother was Mrs Elizabeth Trenchard Snr, who died c1837 but owned a property in East Reach, Taunton. The property was, however, stuck ‘in Chancery’. These helpful clues decide the fact that Sharp’s singer is Mrs Emily Coombes.
She was born c1842, daughter of Edward Jarman, agricultural labourer and his wife Elizabeth (née Trenchard*). In the 1861 census the couple were in East Reach, Taunton (Dist 7 p31) and daughter Emily was listed as a tailoress aged 14. The family of three was still in East Reach in the 1871 census and Emily was listed as a tailoress but age 29. Emily then married John Coombes, a hop dealer in Taunton June qr 1872 ref 5c 594. They had one daughter Kate (b1880) but John died in the 1890s and Emily moved to Bridgwater. Kate married a sailor Samuel Paramore and Emily supported Kate with her own child Kate (b1900), while Samuel was away. In 1901, therefore, Emily was listed as a widow age 58, living at 59 Bath Rd, Bridgwater (RG13/2284 f118 p20) with her daughter Kate (20) and little granddaughter Kate (3 months). Emily was then a washer in a collar factory.
She sang 5 lively songs to Sharp (FT975-979) – about Napoleon, General Wolfe and Dick Turpin. Emily probably died June 1914 aged 73 Bridgwater 5c 398.
* Edward Jarman married Elizabeth Trenchard at Taunton St Mary’s 26/3/1829. The ancient grandmother with the property claim was born in 1760 and was buried at Taunton St Mary’s 26/2/1837 aged 77.