Peckitt, James


Collection date: Jan 1913

Area: Yorkshire

James Peckitt of Wigginton & Haxby sword dance: These two villages are less than a mile apart, situated 4 miles N of York city. James Peckitt was 50 when he met Sharp on 15 Jan 1913 and he explained that he had last danced 23 or 24 years ago (i.e. 1890), since when no dancing had taken place. There were 8 dancers, a Besom Betty, a King and Queen, a Clown and 2 collectors. The musician played an accordion and swords were wooden, made of ash. Peckitt’s information, combined with that of Tom Daker (see separate profile), made up Folk Dance Notes 3 pp9-11 and the dance was published in ‘Sword Dances of Northern England Book 3’ pp 86-90 in May 1913.

James Peckitt was born on 24/12/1862 in York, 4th of 6 children of Christopher Peckitt, brickmaker’s labourer, and his wife Susannah. All his siblings were born at Strensall 7 miles N of York but in all censuses James stated that York was his birthplace. The family then lived in Haxby village for the next 30 years, where in time James also became a brick labourer. James never married and lived with his oldest sister Mary, who was shown as ‘deaf and dumb from birth’ in censuses. His date of death is yet to be confirmed.

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