Spracklan, Tom

Also known as: Theodore Sprachlan

Collection date: Sept 1903

Area: Somerset - Hambridge & Westport


Tom (Theodore) Spracklan (1863-1927): age 41, 12 songs 2 occasions: Theodore Spracklan was born at Netherhay Dorset in Dec qr 1863 (Beaminster reg dist) and baptised as Theodore Sprackland on 21/7/1867 in Beaminster church. His father Stephen was a weaver from Drimpton, a village 5 miles south of Crewkerne, just inside the Dorset border. Theodore had an older brother Albert who had moved away to Glamorgan by the 1891 census, working as a collier. Theodore was 13 when his father died in 1877 and 19 when his mother Emma died in 1882.

He married Alice Seagar on 24/1/1886 at Corscombe church and they were in Broadwinsor in 1891 census, he an agricultural labourer plus 3 young children. After the birth of another child, the couple moved 25 miles north to Hambridge in c1897 to work as a cowman at ‘Earnshill Barn’.

The Palladian style country estate at Earnshill (built in 1720s) was owned by Richard Combe Esq. and comprised of several farms and houses in Hambridge village including Manor Farm where Spracklan probably worked. The 1901 census (RG13/2289 f45 p17) shows ‘Sprachlan’ with a ‘h’ - Sharp correctly spelled his surname with a ‘k’ but referred to Theodore as ‘Tom’. In his Hampstead Lecture Nov 1903 (CJS1/5/1 p27) Sharp described Tom as a ‘very rowdy cow-man (‘bit a man’s thumb off a week or so ago’). Very innocent face, and sang with a transfixed expression, pointed to ceiling.’ Folk Music Journal 1972 stated that Tom was a former soldier. Tom (Theodore) died 3/5/1927 at Watchet.

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