Kettle, Mrs

Also known as: Mrs Cattle

Collection date: Sept 1904

Area: Somerset - Langport & Huish Episcopi


Mrs Kettle (1839-1908): age 64, 1 song ‘Dorothy Daisy’ (FT388 “Not a folksong, of course”) on 2/9/04: Sharp heard the singer’s surname as ‘Mrs Kettle’ but there was nobody of that name in Langport at the time. Allowing for the Somerset accent, this would probably have been ‘Mrs Cattle’: There was a Miss Jane M Cattle at The Hill, Langport in 1901 but Sharp clearly wrote ‘Mrs’. There was a Mrs Alice Jane Cattle (née Cox), age 42, wife of William Cattle, master butcher of living Bow Street (south side RG13/2288 f22 p11) but the most likely candidate was the other Mrs Cattle in the census - Mrs Harriet Cattle, 63, wife of Charles Cattle, general labourer of Bow Street (north side). Most of Mrs Overd’s singing friends lived on the north side of that street.

She was born Harriet Hartland on 6/11/1839 and baptised on 1/12/1839 in All Saints Langport, daughter of Benjamin & Sarah Hartland. Benjamin was a ‘journeyman butcher’, who died in June 1846, when Harriet was 7. Her mother Sarah remarried George Lock in May 1848 but he also died (1849). In 1851 census Sarah Lock, widow, 42 a laundress was in North St Langport with daughter Ellen Hartland, 20, glover and Harriet Hartland, daughter 12. Sarah married for the 3rd time (Joseph Porter) on 22/3/1853 at Langport church. Harriet left home and in 1861 was aged 21, a general servant, nursing an illegitimate son Frederick (3 weeks). She was living at Herd’s court off Bow St.

By 1871 Harriet moved back with her mother (now widowed for the 3rd time). Harriet had had 2 more children out of wedlock (Mary Ann age 7, Ellen 3). In 1881 she was on her own with just daughter Ellen 13. Harriet was a charwoman, living in Knapps Lane next door to Henry Weaver (Emma Overd’s younger brother). In 1882 Harriet, age 43 married Charles Cattle, agricultural labourer (46). In 1891 the couple were at Wearne in Huish Episcopi parish with daughter Ellen and her new husband John White. In 1901 the couple were back in Bow St RG13/2288 f7 p5. Harriet died Sept qr 1908 aged 68.

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