Collection date: Aug 1905
Robert Dibble at Bridgwater workhouse (?-1906): 85? 7 songs 15 Aug 1905: Sharp said that Robert Dibble was 85 when he first met him in the Bridgwater Union workhouse in Northgate. Robert sang 7 songs, 2 of which were good enough to be published in the 2nd vol of Folk Songs from Somerset (namely ‘Sweet Europe’ FT555 and ‘Lowlands of Holland’ FT564). In his notes Sharp wrote: ’Mr Dibble served many years in the navy and saw much active service.’
There’s some inconsistency in the ages recorded for Robert in the censuses – In 1841 he’s listed as 15 and in 1871 as 47 - suggesting the year of 1824, maybe 1826 as year of birth. On the other hand, in later censuses 1891 he’s shown as 70 and in 1901 at the workhouse it says 79 (RG 13/2284 f175 p1), which would suggest 1821 as birth year and that more or less matches Sharp’s guesstimate of 85. Whatever the birth date, Robert Dibble was not baptised until 3/4/1825 at Bridgwater St Mary’s church, son of John & Elizabeth Dibble.
There is no trace of Robert in the 1851 and 1861 censuses and that is probably the period when he went to sea. He did get married on 1/10/1854, however, at Bridgwater St John’s church to Mary Reed, daughter of Joseph Reed, labourer. Neither could sign their names in the register. They had two daughters Ellen and Mary. Robert is listed as a brickyard labourer in 1871 at Dunwear and with similar occupation in 1891 in North Petherton. His wife died in the 1890s and Robert went into the workhouse as a pauper. He died in June 1906 5c 229.