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Fletcher, Isabel

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Gender: Female

Cecil Sharp visited Mr Fletcher in Cinderford on 5 September 1919 when he sang The Wife of Usher’s Well or King Herod. He returned to Cinderford on 7 September 1919 when Isabel Fletcher sang him The Crafty Maid’s Policy or I Met a Fair Damsel and The Holy Well.

Although there were several families with the name Fletcher living in Cinderford at the time of the 1901 census no Isabel Fletcher was noted. Neither was there any Isabel Fletcher in the 1911 census in Cinderford. In a Durham University thesis in 1980 by Mary Diane McCabe entitled ‘A critical study of some traditional religious ballads’, she states that these songs were sung by ‘Mrs. Isabel Fletcher, a gypsy, in 1919’.

(Available at Durham E-Theses Online:

Notes by Carol Davies March 2015