Steptoe, George

Collection date: Dec 1910

Area: Oxfordshire


George Steptoe of Fieldtown morris (c1823-1914): The Fieldtown morris side was located at Leafield village, 18 miles NW of Oxford and 5 miles from Charlbury railway station (quite a cycle ride for Sharp). George Steptoe was the foreman of the side for many years. He also fooled for the Little Barrington/Windrush side. Sharp interviewed him twice – first in December 1910 (Folk Dance Notes 1/78) and then on 4 April 1912 (Folk Dance Notes 2/128, when George was ill in bed. George gave no tunes nor dance figures to Sharp but did pass on helpful information to corroborate what Henry Franklin had said (see separate profile).

George Steptoe was baptised at Leafield on 1/2/1824, eldest of 3 sons of John Steptoe, labourer and his wife Esther, a glovemaker.  He married his first wife Keziah (née Eeles) in 1845 but she died probably in childbirth in Dec 1847. He was remarried to Martha Shayler on 13/12/1859 and they had 7 children before she too died in 1872. He was married again (aged 61) in 1884 to Susan Hamm (aged 54) but she also died in 1903, so he went to live with his daughter Jane (Pratley) and her family of 4 children (still in Leafield). That’s where Sharp met him and Jane no doubt looked after him till he died in February 1914 aged 90. 

George had a reputation as a barefist fighter and was probably dancing in the 1840s and 1850s, when the Leafield side went out in Whit week and toured the area. Fieldtown dancing began to fade c1860.

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