Webb, Fred


Collection date: Sept 1922

Area: Oxfordshire

(William) Frederick Webb at Bloxham: aged 80, Fred Webb sang 2 songs to Sharp ‘Green Broom’ and ‘Three Cripples’ (FT4906-7) on 15 Sept 1922. It seems that Janet Blunt was with them on the day, as ‘Three Cripples’ appears in her manuscripts (in Sharp’s handwriting: JHB/8/7c):

Fred Webb was baptised on 6/8/1843 at Great Rollright (Oxon), 2nd of 6 children of Thomas Webb, shepherd and his wife Mary. He married Eliza Peaple at Great Rollright on 11/12/1864 and they spent 20 years or so in that village. They had no children. Fred was an agricultural labourer and herdsman. In the 1891 census they were living at one of the Adderbury Manor cottages and may have got to know Janet Blunt’s family, who moved to Adderbury in 1896. By 1901, however, Fred and Eliza Webb had moved to Bloxham, where Sharp eventually met him in 1922.

Janet Blunt visited Fred at Bloxham in 1914 with Daisy Daking and Phyllis Marshall, collecting 3 morris dances off him – Shepherd’s Hey, Stourton Wake and Old Woman turned up (JHB/17a/11). In his Folk Dance Notes 4/95, Sharp said that Fred had been a dancer with Longborough morris and that there was no morris side in Bloxham. Fred apparently knew Harry Taylor of Longborough. It seems a little strange that Fred should have danced with Longborough, as Great Rollright (where his youthful years were spent) was 12 miles E of Longborough. But agricultural workers did move about more than we might expect in between censuses (see Harry Taylor’s profile, for example).

Fred Webb was buried at Great Rollright on 15/1/1927 aged 83.

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