Pritchard, Theophilus


Collection date: Dec 1905

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)

Theophilus Pritchard of Compton Martin (1872-1959): age 33, 1 song ‘William Rufus’ (FT683/FW755) on 22 Dec 1905: This song about the death of King William II in a hunting accident in the New Forest in 1100 AD was not collected elsewhere in Somerset and featured in no other ‘traditional’ collections. It seems to have been a ‘modern’ composition by Mr Charles Hamilton Aidé in 1865 in Hampshire. Click vwml link above.

Aidé (1826-1906) was a figure in London literary society but lived in Lyndhurst, Hants. The song is indexed as Roud 2038. How Mr Pritchard obtained the song and tune is unclear but he was a gamekeeper all his life and the song obviously appealed to him.

Theophilus George Pritchard was born in Horncastle, Lincolnshire on 14/1/1872, eldest son of George & Ada Pritchard. The Christian name Theophilus appeared over several previous generations. George Pritchard was an agricultural labourer in the 1881 census at Wolverley, Worcestershire. Theophilus’ mother Ada died in the 1880s and at some point he left home. He became a gamekeeper at Bayton in Worcestershire, perhaps on the estate of the Mortimer family. In March 1896 he married Ellen Tibbetts Morgan Cook (Pershore reg 6c 419). By 1901 they had moved with three young daughters to Ubley in Somerset (ref RG13/2329 f18 p12). Theophilus was working as a gamekeeper on the nearby Hazel Manor estate when Sharp collected from him in 1905. His wife Ellen died in 1907 and Theophilus was a widower with 3 young daughters to support in 1911 census at Charterhouse, nr Blagdon. He remarried Edith May Simmons 1/11/1911 at Cranham Glos. In 1939 Theophilus was a gamekeeper and farm bailiff at Northend, Clutton, Somerset. He died in March qr 1959 (Bath 7c 72) aged 87.

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