At the turn of the last century a small number of dedicated and inspired academics set out to seek out those who still sang the old songs. Those mentioned below all collected songs in Hampshire. Each covered an area, moving from village to village, in some cases returning over several years, and noted down on paper, thousands of songs, airs and dance tunes. The singers were found at work, out in the fields, in the public houses, in their homes and in the workhouses – local institutions where the poor of the parish of all ages, particularly the elderly and infirm, were looked after. There were also some phonograph recordings made.

Although some collectors recognised the importance of preserving the songs for their texts and airs before they were lost, for others the drive was to gather raw material for what they believed was the forthcoming revolution in English arts and music. Whatever their motivation those folk song collectors left us a great legacy of English songs. Without their efforts so many songs and ballads would be lost to us.
Classical composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth and Percy Grainger were among those that went out in the field collecting folk songs. They drew upon these airs, re-working them and using them as inspiration for compositions. English classical music from this period remains widely popular today.

Dr. George B. Gardiner (1852-1910)
The most notable folk song collector was Dr. George Barnet Gardiner who travelled through Hampshire noting and later recording songs from 1905 until 1909.
He published Folk Songs from Hampshire (16 songs) in 1909. Series editor: Cecil Sharp. Arrangements: G Holst. Also in 1909 Gardiner published Folk Song Society Journal (50 songs). Athough able to note the tunes himself Gardiner preferred to meet the singers and take down the words, leaving the notation of the tunes to others.
Musicians Henry Balfour Gardiner, Charles Gamblin and John Fisher Guyer all followed up Gardiner's sources and noted the tunes.
Gardiner's musician usually did the music transcription within a few days of Gardiner finding the singer. When he collected at Axford and in the workhouses, Gardiner collected with his musician at the same time.
For further information visit the links page.

Gardiner's original work - notations and texts, notebooks and letters- can be viewed on the EFDSS Take 6 website. just click on the 'Search the Catalogue' and search for Gardiner.

Henry Hammond (1866-1910)
Henry Edward Dennison Hammond was introduced to folk song by Dr. George B. Gardiner when they were Edinburgh University. Hammond travelled with Gardiner on his early forays collecting folk songs noting the tunes. Henry worked with his younger brother Robert Francis Frederick collecting songs in Dorset where between 1904 and 1907 they noted 648 songs.
In March 1906 Henry was in Hampshire and during that time he worked with Gardiner noting songs from William Smith in Twyford, William Gulliver in Old Alresford, Thomas Alderman, John Watmore, James Stagg, George Macklin and James Neal in Winchester and George Digweed in Micheldever.
For further information visit the links page.

Alice E. Gillington (1863-1934)
Alice Elizabeth Gillington was a published poet and childrens author who collected folk songs and Carols in Hampshire, particularly in the New Forest, prior to Gardiner. In 1907 she published Eight Hampshire Songs (Curwen, London). Gillington was particularly interested in Gypsy lore, customs and songs and lived with Gypsies in the Forest. In 1911 she published Songs of the Open Road (Williams, London). Gillington collected some thirty songs in total.
For further information visit the links page.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Vaughan Williams is arguably the greatest composer Britain has seen since the days of Henry Purcell. In a long and extensive career, he composed music notable for its power, nobility and expressiveness, representing, perhaps, the essence of 'Englishness'. His English Folk Song Suite and Fantasia on Greensleeves are still very popular today.
Vaughan Williams started to collect folksongs in 1903 in an effort to preserve them for posterity. He collected widely in East Anglia over a number of years.
Vaughan Williams also worked on Gardiner's collection after it had been submitted to the Folk Song Society, using Gardiner's phonograph recordings to verify some songs and editing them to fit the Society's format for publishing in the Journal'.
For further information visit the links page.

Lucy E. Broadwood (1858-1929)
Lucy Etheldred Broadwood, the niece of Rev. John Broadwood, was principally an English folksong collector and researcher during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As one of the founder members of the Folk-Song Society and Editor of the Folk Song Journal for many years, she was one of the main influences of the English folk revival of that period. It was Lucy Broadwood who suggested Gardiner turned his attention to Hampshire in his quest for folk songs.
For further information visit the links page.

Other folk song collectors who noted songs in Hampshire in the early 19thC were:

Dr. E. T. Sweeting (1863-1930)
Dr. Edward Thomas Sweeting was an accomplished organist and arranger of choral pieces, and other vocal works. A Master of Music at Winchester College, Sweeting taught there from 1901 until 1924 having previously been Director of Music at St John's College, Cambridge for four years.
The Mermaid, a song he collected from James Herridge in Twyford in 1906, was published in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.
For further information visit the links page.

Francis Jeykll (1882-1965)
Almost nothing was known about Francis Jekyll prior to the article below being published in English Dance and Song.
Oxford educated Jeykll worked in the printed music section of the British Museum. He knew Lucy Broadwood and George Butterworth and was credited as being “solely or jointly responsible for the collecting of fifty-seven songs.”
The Young Girl Cut Down in her Prime, a song Jeykll collected from an unnamed singer in East Meon, Hampshire in 1909, was published in The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.
We Poor Labouring Men collected from the same unamed singer at East Meon in 1909 was published in Everyman's Book of English Country Songs.
For further information visit the links page.

Heywood Sumner (1853-1940)
George Heywood Maunoir Sumner, born at Old Alresford, Hampshire. was originally an English painter, illustrator and craftsman, closely involved with the Arts and Crafts movement and the late-Victorian London art world. In his mid-forties he relocated to Cuckoo Hill, near Fordingbridge in Hampshire, England, and spent the rest of his life actively investigating and recording the archaeology, geology and folklore of the New Forest and Cranborne Chase regions.
In 1888 Sumner illustrated and published his own collection of eleven Hampshire folk songs, entitled The Besom-Maker and other Country-Folk Songs.
For further information visit the links page.

The highly respected song collector Alan Lomax came to live in London from his native America in 1950. From 1936 to 1942 Lomax was Assistant in Charge of the Archive of Folk Song of the Library of Congress to which he and his father and numerous collaborators contributed more than ten thousand field recordings.
Lomax was shocked to discover that Britain had no similar national archive. He considered the BBC to be the only body capable of collecting and storing such material and persuaded the BBC to instigate The Folk Music and Dialect Recording Scheme, which collected extensively in Britain and Ireland between 1952 and 1957.
Peter Kennedy and Seamus Ennis were the core collectors, collecting nationally but there were a number of others who collected locally, among them was Bob Copper who collected in Hampshire and his native Sussex.
for further information visit the links page.

Bob Copper (1915-2004)
British traditional folk singer and folklorist Bob inherited a 200-year tradition of family singing from his father, grandfather, and uncle, and began performing in public with his family at an early age. The family later came to the attention of the BBC, which arranged a live radio broadcast in 1950. Between 1954 and 1957 he was employed on a series of short-term contracts by the BBC to collect folk music and regional dialects. He recorded singers in Sussex and Hampshire where he followed in the footsteps of Gardiner in some cases collecting songs from direct descendants of their singers. These recordings were to form the basis of his 1973 book, Songs & Southern Breezes, and the Topic L.P. of the same name.
For further information visit the links page.

In more recent times, others are carrying on the collecting and recording of songs and tunes.

Gwilym Davies
Despite his Welsh name and ancestry, Gwilym Davies is a Hampshire man who was born in Waterlooville.
He moved to live and work in Gloucestershire in the 1970s. He is an experienced singer of traditional songs and, when not singing unaccompanied, accompanies himself on melodeon, concertina, banjo or guitar.
For more than 30 years, Gwilym has been tracking down and recording traditional singers, and more that half his repertoire is based on songs from those singers.
His Hampshire field recordings are deposited within The Gwilym Davies Collection in the British Library's National Sound Archive. He has published A Hampshire Collection" - a booklet of 17 songs, 8 tunes and a mummers play. For more information click here.
Gwilym has recorded many songs collected in Hampshire and is a member of the Gardiner Appreciation Group and the Traditional Song Forum.
For further information visit the links page.

Paul Marsh
Hampshire man Paul is a singer and musician who has over the past thirty plus years spent a lot of time in the company of traditional singers and musicians. During that time he often took his tape recorder and has built up a large and important archive of field recordings of Hampshire singers, music and mummers plays.
The collection is still very much a work in progress and as such has not been deposited in an archive.
Some of Paul's field recordings have been issued on Topic and Forest Tracks and he has worked on releases for Topic records, Musical Traditions records, Veteran and The Helions Bumpstead Gramophone Company
Paul is the driving force behind Forest Tracks, a member of the Gardiner Appreciation Group and founder member of the Traditional Song Forum.
For further information visit the links page.

Return to top