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Collett, John

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The folk song collector and musician, Percy Grainger, noted in a letter to his mother on 18 November 1907: ‘Mother and I stayed with a dear old maid, Miss (Eliza) Wedgwood (at The Bank, Stanton) …in the afternoon 4 men came there to her house and 2 of them were good; and give me hope about the district.’ These were William Newman and John Collett. John Collett on 17 November 1907 sang Brisk Young Sailor and Green Bushes.

John Collett’s father, George Collett, and his twin sister, Anne, were baptised in Stanway on 28 January 1816, the children of George Collett, the Parish clerk and his wife, Sarah. They had at least two sisters also baptised in Stanway, Sarah on 14 November 1813 and Leah on 28 June 1818. George Collett married Elizabeth possibly Elwes from Wood Stanway in Stanway on 15 October 1846. George was working as a bailiff at that time and living in Condicote. John Collett was born in Stanway in 1847. By 1851 George and Elizabeth were living in Stanway, where George was working as a labourer, with John and his sister, Fanny, born about 1844 also in Stanway. They were still there in 1861 when George was still working as a labourer, Fanny was a gloveress and John was working as an under carter. By 1871 Fanny had married John Bleby, a labourer and went to live in Church Stanway where they raised their family but John and his father were still living in Stanway working as labourers. George and Elizabeth also had a daughter, Kate Annie, who was baptised on 21 December 1873 and a son, William, who was baptised on 28 March 1875.

John Collett married Emma Green, also the daughter of a labourer, in Snowshill on 26 August 1871.Witnesses included Fanny Bleby, John’s sister. John continued to live and work as a labourer in Stanway and by 1881 he and Emma had five children, Albert baptised 9 June 1872, Kate baptised 21 December 1873, Ada Emily baptised 18 November 1876 and Mary Ann born 7 March 1880. They had a further daughter, Myra, who was baptised on 12 July 1885 and had another, Edith, baptised12 May 1878.

By 1891 John’s father, George, and his wife, Harriett, were living in the same house as John and his family, as was also a lodger who was working as a labourer. George was then working as a roadsman. By 1901 John was working as a woodman/general labourer on an estate in Stanway and the only other person living with them in their house was their daughter, Myra. By 1911 John and Emma were living in Church Stanway and their son, Albert, had moved back home with them. The other children were no longer at home. John’s son, Albert, married Annie Amelia Miles on 7 August 1915 at King’s Norton, Warwickshire. John Collett who was living at 29 Victoria Street, St Pauls, Cheltenham was buried in Stanway 31 December 1924.

Notes by Carol Davies May 2015