Also known as: Richard Olding
Collection date: Aug 1907
Richard Holding (Olding) at Bridgwater (1843-1912): age 69, 1 song ‘Spanish Ladies’ on 8 Aug 1907: Sharp wrote the singer’s name as ‘Olding’ in FT1390 and in the Field Notebooks (CJS1/9/2/1907/7 p25) it could be ‘Oldbury’ but there is nobody of either name in the Bridgwater censuses. It is much more likely in fact to be ‘Holding’.
Holding’s song is sometimes classed as a sea shanty – Sharp included Capt Lewis’ version in Folk Songs from Somerset vol 5 (1909), calling it a shanty. But the song probably originates earlier in the Napoleonic era as a Naval song before sea shanties became widespread in the Merchant service.
Richard Holding was actually a Yorkshireman, born in Knottingley, nr Pontefract West Yorks in October qr 1843 (22-434). In the 1861 census he was aboard the vessel ‘Auspicious’ in Cardiff bay, listed as an ordinary seaman aged 19. In the Bridgwater Shipping Lists he was consistently recorded as crew between 1870 and 1882.
On 11/3/1871 at St John’s Eastover (Bridgwater), aged 28, he had married Elizabeth Beake (nee Andrews), a widow of the same age. Elizabeth brought with her 2 young children, aged 3 and 1. They lived in St John Street.
In 1901 census (RG13/2322 f65) Richard Holding was listed as 'married, age 59, able seaman' and was on board vessel Ravinala, a ketch 67 tons off Burnham coast (River Parrett). The master of the ship was Richard’s nephew Elisha Holding, master mariner. This might suggest that Richard was 65 when he met Sharp, a slight discrepancy from Sharp's record.
In the 1911 census Richard stated that he had 10 children, 3 of whom had not survived. Richard died in July qr 1912 (5c 362).