Ware, Mrs Eliza

Collection date: Jan 1907

Area: Somerset - Bridgwater Surrounds


Mrs Eliza Ware of Over Stowey, 8 miles W of Bridgwater (1833-1912): age 76, 9 songs in 3 visits commencing 23 Jan 1907: A significant singer for Sharp. In his field notebook (CJS1/9/2/1907/2 p24) Sharp wrote that Mrs Ware was ‘of Eley’. This is a hamlet just south of Over Stowey village and is now called ‘Aley’.

Eliza was baptised Eliza Briffett at Over Stowey church on 23/6/1833, daughter of James Briffett, shoemaker and his wife Ann. James must have died soon afterwards because Ann was a widow in both 1841 and 1851 censuses. Eliza was therefore sent out to domestic service at an early age and was described as a servant at her wedding at Over Stowey on 3/10/1853 to William Ware, mason. She could sign her name, so must have received some schooling in the village. Eliza had 14 children, 2 of whom died young. Eliza and William were, however, on their own in the 1901 census for Over Stowey (RG13/2280 f91 p8). She said she was 68. William died in 1910 and Eliza in Oct qr 1912 (5c 393).

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