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Bunting, Thomas

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Thomas Bunting sang Barbara Allen, A Donkey Ride for me, The Green Mossy Banks of the Lea, Johnny’s so long at the fair, Old Woman Tossed Up, The Pretty Ploughboy, Seventeen come Sunday, Sherborne Mummers Song and While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping to James Madison Carpenter between 1927 and 1935 in Sherborne. Carpenter noted that Bunting was a gamekeeper and had learned songs from his father, James Bunting, sixty years previously.

Thomas Bunting was born in Sherborne and was baptised there on 8 June 1862. He came from a long line of Sherborne residents. There were Buntings living in Sherborne back to the 1670s. Thomas was an agricultural labourer but his father and grandfather before him had been gamekeepers on the Sherborne Estate and lived all their lives in Sherborne. He had three brothers and five sisters. His father and mother, James, born 1832 and Mary Bunting née Stevens were described as living in Sherborne village in 1901 and once married in 1858 they had remained in the same house as James’ father and mother, William, born 1812 and Hannah, until the death of the latter in 1873 and 1891 respectively. James died in 1908.

William Bunting was Thomas’ brother and he also told Carpenter about the Sherborne Mummers’ Play. He was a labourer, born about 1860 and married Jane Rouse in 1890 in Sherborne. He died in 1936 in the same area. According to family trees on Ancestry.com they had four children, seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and many further descendents.

Notes by Carol Davies February 2015