Clarke, Susie

Also known as: Susan Clarke

Collection date: Apr 1907

Area: Somerset - Bridgwater Town


Susan (Ann) Clarke of Bridgwater (1828-1909): age 81, 5 songs 5 Apr 1907: Three of Susan’s songs seem to have been ‘mediated’ by Jack Barnard. Susan Clarke was apparently a very shy and retiring woman but had a sweet voice. It took Sharp several attempts along with the assistance of Jack Barnard to get any songs out of her at all. Although Sharp appears to write ‘Mrs’ Clarke, it doesn’t seem that she ever married.

She was born c1828 and was already out in domestic service aged 12 in 1841 census (Chard). In 1861 Susan was in the Bridgwater Workhouse, ‘a pauper age 28’ with a baby Emma 10 months old. Emma’s baptism on 25/1/1860 only gives Susan Ann Clark (Union) as parent. In 1871 census ‘Suzana’ Clarke was still in the workhouse, working as a servant, and daughter Emma, 10, was there too. In 1881 Emma stayed on at the workhouse, age 22, working as a servant but Susan has gone to West Street, working as a charwoman, aged 52. In 1891 she was shown as a ‘farm servant aged 64’ and in 1901 she was still in West Street, round the corner from Jack Barnard (RG13/2283 f68 p33). As a ‘single Mum’ Susan had had a tough time and had tried to sustain herself in the community. In the end she was taken back into the Union Hospital and died there in 29/6/1909.

No image available