Shepherd, William

Singer

Collection date: Apr 1909

Area: Gloucestershire


William Shepherd at Winchcombe workhouse, Glos (1816-1909): age 93, 4 songs 8 Apr 1909: Percy Grainger beat Sharp to interview William ‘Daddy’ Shepherd in Winchcombe workhouse, recording 11 songs by phonograph on 5 April 1908. Search vwml.org PG/5/240 for sample tracks or click vwml link above.

Grainger, the Australian concert pianist (b1882), had arrived in Britain in 1901 and began folksong collecting in 1905. While staying with Lady Elcho (Mary Charteris) at Stanway House (3 miles south of Broadway), Grainger was driven by car to Winchcombe Workhouse. Accompanying him were Arthur Balfour MP, the author HG Wells and the society portrait artist John Singer Sargent. With less ceremony, Sharp visited William one year later and noted 4 songs (FT2146ff) and a recitation (‘Who knocks there?’ FW2019).

William Shepherd was baptised on 21/7/1816 at Stow-on-the-Wold, son of Thomas Shepherd, a slater and his wife Hannah. On 26/8/1838 he married Ann Gigg, daughter of Thomas Gigg at Leckhampton, just south of Cheltenham. William was shown as a ‘plasterer’ and he and Ann were from Croft Street, Leckhampton. They moved initially to Temple Guiting and had at least 4 children. They were in the Guiting Power censuses of 1851-1881 and for many years looked after their granddaughter Alexandra Billingon (b1863), child of their widowed daughter Agatha.

William and Ann moved to Winchcombe in their old age, where Ann died in the workhouse in 1906 (October qr ref 6a 273, aged 96). William died soon after his meeting with Sharp on 19/6/1909.

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