Stanley, William

Dancer

Collection date: Apr 1912

Area: Warwickshire


William Stanley of Brailes morris (1831-1912): William Stanley, aged 81 and living at Shipston-on-Stour, said he had begun dancing with Brailes morris when he was about 40 but only danced for a few years before it broke up (c1874).

Sharp had already personally visited Edwin Clay, a Brailes dancer, in April 1910 and wrote this meeting up in Folk Dance Notes 1/136. He obtained further information about the village morris side in Feb 1912 from Mrs Mary Stanton at nearby Armscote (see her profile and Folk Dance Notes 2/73). He was re-visiting the prolific singer Mrs Hannah Beechey in Shipston-on-Stour workhouse on 10 April 1912 and that probably gave him the opportunity to meet up with William Stanley – Sharp didn’t give the date in Folk Dance Notes 2/132-134.

William Stanley was baptised at Shutford, Oxfordshire on 19/6/1831, the 7th child of George Stanley, shoemaker and his wife Sarah. By the 1851 census the family had moved 7 miles W to Brailes village in Warwickshire. William married Elizabeth Wakefield at Brailes on 29/6/1854 and was a groom (1861) then a gardener there (1871). At the time he said he took up morris dancing (age 40) he had 6 children under the age of 12.

He had moved the family to Shipston-on-Stour (4 miles East) by 1881 census and had become a grocer. The 1901 census (ref RG13/2946 f110 p4) listed William as a gardener again and a widower - Elizabeth had died in 1898. In 1911 when he met Sharp, William was living in West Street at Shipston, being supported by his (widowed) daughter Sophia. He died in October qr 1912 (Shipston 6d 891).

See Roy Dommett article in Morris Matters 1980 (pp16-17), reproduced by the Morris Federation: https://www.morrisfed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/MM-3-4.pdf

Also Keith Chandler's references in 'Ribbons, Bells and Squeaking Fiddles' (Hisarlik Press 1993).

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