Phillips, Mrs Gentie

Collection date: Sept 1910

Area: Warwickshire


Mrs Gentie Phillips at Birmingham (c1830-1914): age 82, 4 carols (FT2542-5) 26 Sept 1910:In 1911 Sharp published 2 of Mrs Phillips’ carols in his book ‘English Folk-Carols’ – these were ‘The Sinner’s Redemption’ (Roud 2431) and ‘The Moon shines bright’ (Roud 702). In addition her version of ‘Christmas now is drawing near at hand’ (Roud 808) was published in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 5 (1914) alongside that of her younger sister Mrs Prudence Handy (see separate profile). Sharp wrote her first name as ‘Gentie’ but most of the censuses have ‘Genty’, as does her wedding register.

She was baptised on 30/5/1830 at Mollington in Oxfordshire, 2nd of 8 children of Joseph Smith, basketmaker and bean gatherer, and his wife Mary Ann Tracy Smith. Several of their children had exotic names – Solavina, Jerusalem and Carnation. In 1841 Genty’s family was settled in Tysoe village (7 miles west of Mollington) and she married Anthony Phillips, agricultural labourer, there on 3/10/1848. They had 5 children and remained in Tysoe. Anthony died in 1890 and eventually Genty went to live with her daughter, son-in-law and their 2 children in Aston, Birmingham, which is where Sharp found her (1911 census). She died in October qr 1914 (Aston 6d 576).

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