Symes, Tom


Collection date: Sept 1903

Area: Somerset - Hambridge surrounds

Tom Symes of Isle Abbots (1869-1910): age 34, 4 songs (Sept 1903, Apr 1904). His version of 'The Pretty Ploughboy' (Roud 186) was the first of 5 versions Sharp would collect in Somerset (click vwml link above):

John Thomas Symes was baptised at Netherbury, Dorset on 11/7/1869, son of John Symes, agricultural labourer and his wife Matilda. Known as Tom, he grew up in Netherbury but moved with his older brother Charles to Isle Brewers, Somerset by the time of 1891 census. He had recently married Elizabeth Ann Male (daughter of Alfred Male, carpenter and wife Eliza) on 6/2/1890 in Isle Brewers church. In 1891 census the couple were living in Brooms Cottage Isle Brewers next door to Emma Welch and they had a young son William.

In 1901 (RG 13/2289 f83 p3) they were in nearby Isle Abbotts - he was 31, carter on farm, while Elizabeth was a shirtmaker (at home). They had 3 more children and Alfred Male (father-in-law) was with them, age 57, a threshing machine worker. Brother Charles Symes and his family were nearby at Pitts cottage no.2.

Tom Symes died in 1910 aged 41 and was buried at Isle Abbotts church on 15th August. He was aged 41, sexton of the parish. His widow Elizabeth was listed in the 1911 census for Isle Abbotts at Cuffs cottage; she was 42, a shirt machinist, with son William 20, blacksmith; daughter Maud, shirt machinist; and Ivy 7, Fredk 5 and Doris 3.

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