The Cecil Sharp Singers Project

Thanks to a Maltwood grant of £500 from SANHS a research project has been completed to document the lives of 342 Somerset folksingers, who gave songs to the well-known collector Cecil Sharp between 1903-16. The Edwardian Folk Revival was led by Sharp, Vaughan Williams, Grainger and Holst among others and was an attempt to rediscover English musical identity. Somerset’s contribution was over 1,000 folksongs, which are now accessible online at www.vwml.org. The new research places the singers in their geographical setting (South Somerset, Mendips, Exmoor, Bridgwater etc) and also in their socio-economic context with extensive notes on gloving, rivertrade, brick and tiles, sailcloth, peat working, withies and collieries. Special maps add interest too. The booklets by SANHS member David Sutcliffe are accessible at the SANHS library and also Somerset Heritage Centre.

David Sutcliffe, July 2019

David has built on his research for his book The Keys of Heaven (Cockasnook Books, Nottingham, 2010), a biography of the Revd Charles Marson, vicar of Hambridge and collaborator of Cecil Sharp. This further research is a preliminary to a new biography of Cecil Sharp.

Cecil Sharp in his 30s by courtesy of Ludgrove School where he once taught
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