Watts, William Henry


Collection date: Apr 1908

Area: Gloucestershire

William Henry Watts at Tewkesbury, Glos (1836-1923): age 72, 7 songs + 1 morris tune 11 Apr 1908: William’s songs were all pretty jolly and one ‘The Leather Bottell’ was published in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society 5 (1914) p71. The morris tune (FT1639) that he whistled to Sharp was a pipe and tabor tune, which ‘an old morris dancer, a bricklayer, used to whistle, while drumming his trowel on a tin’. William used to work in a builder’s yard.

He was born in Cheltenham on 8/7/1836 and baptised William Henry Watts on 3/8/1836. He was son of William Watts Snr, a carpenter and builder, and his wife Elizabeth. On 9/12/1865 at Cheltenham St Mary’s he married Harriet Smith and they moved to Tewkesbury (1871 census), where he worked for a local building firm and rose to be foreman there. He and Harriet had no children and were joined in their latter years by his spinster sister Sarah Ann. He died on 16/6/1923 and his obituary noted that his interests were cycling and the study of historic buildings. He was a respected member of the community. He left £1,488 in his will (equivalent to 90K today).

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