Collection date: Jan 1904
William Nott at Meshaw, North Devon (1830-1907): age 74, 32 songs* over 6 visits – 8,9 &12 Jan 1904; 14 Sept 1904; and 5/6 Jan 1905: William Nott was a prolific singer, who clearly impressed Sharp. He was a farmer of 160 acres and he lived conveniently next door to the Meshaw rectory, where Sharp used to stay with Rev Alex de Gex. When Sharp went to check one of Nott’s songs (‘Jan to Joan’ FT99 and FT439*), he wrote that the song was ‘tested on the piano by de Gex and self while Nott sang the song twice through, during the whole of which he never lost pitch’. Click vwml link above. Sharp didn’t trouble to check any more of Nott’s songs.
*31 songs if you discount this double-checking
William Nott was born c1830, only child of James Nott, farmer and his wife Jane. According to the 1851 census James Nott had 150 acres at Chulmleigh, 7 miles SW of Meshaw.
William Nott married Mary Ann Fewings in Jan qr 1855 (S Molton 5b 709). He had 86 acres at Prescott farm in Meshaw in 1871 and his household had 5 children and 1 servant. He had expanded to 160 acres by 1881 (Parsonage Farm) and was still farming aged 70 in the 1901 census at Meshaw (RG13/2139 f70 p3). His son William Jr was by then living and working with his father on the farm and one of his two girls Mary Ann (b1895) or more likely Lily Jane (b1898) can be seen in Sharp’s photo of Nott.
William died on 19/1/1907 and his wife Mary Ann died within weeks of him. In his will William Nott of Parsonage Farm, Meshaw left £2,760 (equivalent to 334K today) to son William Jr, and Rev de Gex was also a benefactor.