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Cockayne, Molly

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Gender: Female


The Editor of the English Folk Dance and Song Society Journal in 1940, Frank Howes, wrote the following: ‘We owe the recovery of this song to the bombardment of Bristol. Under the Bristol Holiday Scheme Mrs. Williams, who lives in the Colston Almshouses, went to stay at Churchdown in Gloucestershire. Her hostess, Miss Molly Cockayne, who has contributed the song to us, suspected from her interest in singing that she might know some traditional songs. In due course Mrs. Williams produced ” Maligan Fair,” which she sang with appropriate gestures. She is now over 70, but remembers clearly what she heard sung when she was a girl’.

Mrs Williams

Mrs Williams, the original singer of Maligan Fair, lived in the Colston almshouses in Bristol which were founded by Edward Colston in Bristol for 12 inmates. The Society of Merchant Venturers is the trustee for the Almshouses. No more is known about Mrs Williams.

Molly (Mary) Cockayne

Molly Cockayne’s grandfather, William Cockayne, was a draper and land owner who in 1871 was farming about 106 acres at Norton, South of Sheffield. He married Lucy Elizabeth Nicols from Burton on Trent in 1881. By 1901 William had died and Lucy was living on her own means at Wade’s Farm , Barton Stacey, Hants with two daughters, Lucilla born 2 February 1900 and and Mary 22 November 1897, both born in Burton Stacey, Lucy’ sister, Annie, and a servant. Lucy then moved to Colwall, near Malvern, where she was living on her own means at the Old Mall House with Lucilla and Mary and a governess. The family then moved to  Ashbourne, The Avenue, Churchdown where the three of them lived from1939 until Lucy’s death  at the beginning of 1936.Mary and Lucilla were noted in electoral registers as continuing to live at that address doing ‘unpaid domestic duties’ until 1957.

Mary Cockayne never married and died on 21 May 1986.She was buried at St Bartholomew and St Andrew’s Church, Churchdown.

Notes by Carol Davies 2020

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