King, William

Also known as: Farmer King


Collection date: Apr 1904

Area: Somerset - Mendips (Harptree & Priddy)

William King of West Harptree (1826-1906): age 78, 12 songs over 4 visits, commencing 15th Apr 1904: William King was born in 1826 in Moreton, a hamlet north of Compton Martin on the Mendips. Moreton was submerged beneath the Chew Valley reservoir constructed in 1956. He was the son of John & Eliza King, John being a farmer of 73 acres in 1851 census (Compton Martin).

William married Emma Baber, daughter of Robert Baber, farmer, at Holy Trinity St Philip church Bristol on 5/6/1854. In 1861 he was farming at Lambottom West Harptree and had 3 sons (+ 2 servants). A daughter Alice was born in 1862 but sadly his wife Emma died 9/10/1865 and William brought up his 4 children on his own - with no servants any more and not remarrying. 

In 1901 he was at Spring Farm West Harptree (RG13/2329 f38 p9) with son Ernest and daughter Alice (both single). Ernest King would later sing ‘The Crystal Spring’ to Sharp in 1907 (see his profile). Spring Farm is 700 yds from the Castle of Comfort pub outside of (to the south of) the Harptree villages. William King sang to Sharp in that pub and later won a prize for his singing. William King was buried at West Harptree church 22/12/1906

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