Sparks, William Henry

Also known as: Mr Sparks

Collection date: Aug 1904

Area: Somerset - West


William Henry Sparks (1854-1916): age 50, 1 song ‘Two Magicians’(FT276) on 8 Aug 1904: His song was published in Folk Songs from Somerset vol1 and in Folk Songs for Schools (Curwen 1906): William Henry Sparks was baptised on 9/4/1854 in Minehead church, son of John & Elizabeth Sparks, blacksmith. In the 1861 and 1871 censuses the family was living in Middle Street. William, 28, married Ellen Paddon, 24 (born Barnstaple 1857) on 2/7/1881 at Minehead church. She was the daughter of Bartholomew Paddon, engine driver. Together they had 7 children, one of whom died young. William set up as a blacksmith in Middle Street, next door to his older brother George (in partnership?). In 1901 census (ref RG13/2260 f50 p41) William was 47, blacksmith. William was thus 50 when Sharp met him and took his photo with leather apron on and tools in his hand.

The open space of his forge is still there today adjacent to Somerset Skills & Learning Centre (formerly the old infants’ school 1899). William was buried 11/4/1916 in Minehead church aged 62. Note: Bob Patten found an entry in the West Somerset Free Press 4/5/1907 reporting that William Sparks sang 2 songs Coal Black Smith and Twankydillo at a May day entertainment in the town.