Veal, Mr Sidney

Also known as: Sydney Veale


Collection date: May 1913

Area: Cornwall

Sidney (Sydney) Veal(e) at Camborne (1858-1944): 2 songs on 9 May 1913: The first of Mr Veale’s songs was the carol ‘The Holy Well’ (FT2826 Roud 1697), which Sharp published in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 5 (1914). Click vwml link above. It’s the story of Jesus as a boy, who went to the village well and wanted to play with other children there but they rejected him because he was born in a poor stable.

Mr Veale had already sung the carol to Tom Miners, who had sent the text to Sharp in Jan 1912 (FW2233). He would sing it again later in Dec 1934 to James Madison Carpenter, the American collector (Carpenter 05202). Carpenter insisted that it was Mr Veal (no ‘e’), which was correct but thought his initial S stood for Samuel, which was not correct. Sharp recorded the singer as ‘Sydney Veale’ but noted that the singer came from St Columb Major (25 miles to the north). Carpenter agreed with that and noted that Veal had learned the song from his mother Sarah.

All these clues lead us to Mr Sidney* Veal, born 13/8/1858 at St Columb Major, 7th child of Richard Veal, agricultural labourer and his wife Sarah. He married Hannah Smale July qr 1878 and they then moved about a bit – Bodmin census 1881, St Austell census 1891 and Camborne census 1911. They had 8 children and were living at 22 Victoria St in Camborne in 1911 not far from singer Mary Hezeltine RG14/14001 schedule 289. Sidney probably moved 2 miles south to Troon, where Carpenter met him. He died October qr 1944 (Redruth 5c 166).

* All his census returns said ‘Sidney’ not Sydney’. He was an agricultural labourer in nearly all records.

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