Sturdy, Mrs Rachel

Dancer

Collection date: Sept 1911

Area: Oxfordshire


Mrs Rachel Sturdy, informant for Spelsbury morris (see also Edward Mitchell profile): Aged 85, Mrs Sturdy was interviewed by Sharp in Sept 1911. She could actually remember the women's morris side dancing but was too young to take part herself. She commented (Folk Dance Notes 2/48): ‘They were all young women about 18. Eventually they all got married and that stopped it’. Different times!

Rachel was born Rachel Rooke in Moreton-in-Marsh and baptised there on 20/7/1827, daughter of Ralph (labourer) and Elizabeth (née Peachy). Two younger siblings were baptised in Moreton in 1829 and 1831 but the family moved to Spelsbury (14 miles to the southeast) in the 1830s, as 2 more siblings were baptised there in 1838 and 1840. This is important if Rachel’s recollections of the Spelsbury women’s morris are correct. 

In the 1851 census Rachel, 23 was with her parents in Spelsbury, working as a glovemaker. She was married twice – to William Mayo in 1856 and to Luke Sturdy in 1872. She lived all her adult life in Spelsbury, ending in the Almshouses there, looking after her grandson James, who was listed as ‘imbecile from birth’. That’s where Sharp met her. She died in January qr 1916 aged 88.

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