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Neal, Mrs C S

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Mrs Neal of Glebe Farm, Aston-sub-Edge sang Froggie Would a-Wooing, How Many Miles to Barley Bright, I Saw Three Ships a –Sailing, Milking Pails, The Miller, On the Green Mountains and Sally Jumped Over the Moon to James Madison Carpenter in 1935. She also sang him a number of children’s songs.

Charlotte Shayler Neal (nee Robins) (1861-1959) was born in the (then) Worcestershire (now) Warwickshire village of Shipston-on-Stour. Her father, George Amphlette Robins was born in Parsons Street, Banbury, Oxfordshire. His parents (James and Sarah) were confectioners and he soon started to follow his father’s trade. In 1856 at the age of twenty, he married a girl from Shipston, Mary Shayler Best, who was in service at a local firm of auctioneers. Her mother’s maiden name was Shayler and the names Shayler and Best were subsequently given to several children in the family. She appears to have died fairly young and her widowed husband, Henry, a watchmaker in the Shambles at Shipston, soon had the newly-married couple setting up home next door to him as confectioners.

Charlotte was the second of their three children (preceded by Eliza Best Robins, b1860 and followed by John Hamilton Robins, b 1864). Following the death of her mother in 1867, when Charlotte was 7, her father almost immediately remarried (Thirza Scarsbrook), but continued to live and work in Shipston. Thirza, too died young, in 1871 and George Robins remarried a few years later. This marriage was to Harriett Nicholls, a girl who had family living at Neithrop, Banbury, close to where George had been brought up, and George moved back to Banbury, setting up his confectioners shop at 6 Cherwell Terrace.

Charlotte, however, stayed in Shipston, continuing to live in the Shambles accompanied by her aunt, Mary Best. Mary Best, originating from London, was now the head of the household and was recorded as “living on own means”, whilst no occupation is recorded for Charlotte. Mary Best was born around 1806 and is the most likely candidate as the source from whom Charlotte learned many of her songs and games. In the notes to some of the songs Charlotte said “learned as a little girl, more than fifty years ago, in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, from my aunt”. She would have been about 74 when she said this. Fifty years previously she was aged 20 and living with her aunt, although it is quite possible that her aunt had come to live with the family on previous occasions.

In 1894 Charlotte married a local farmer, Ernest Neal and they went back to Ernest’s parental home in Long Compton (by now in Warwickshire), where two sons and a further daughter were born. Following her husband Ernest’s death in 1919, Charlotte moved to another farm in Gloucestershire, Glebe Farm at Aston Subedge, where she was visited by James Madison Carpenter around 1935, providing him with a large number of songs, games and rhymes. Charlotte Neal died at the age of 97 on 15 March 1959. Her sons moved a distance away from the area, but her daughters remained fairly close.

 

Songs

Title Roud number Comments
Froggie Would a Wooing Go 16 Song; 17 stanzas; “A froggie would a wooing go”
(Here Come) Three Dukes a Riding 730 Song – singing game; 6 stanzas; 1 line game description – Here comes three Dukes a riding.There is 1 cylinder and 1 disk recording of this item.
Three Ships a Sailing 700 Song – carol; 3 stanzas – “I saw three ships come sailing in”
Wall Flower 6307 Song – 1 stanza – “Wall flowers wall flowers growing up so high”
The Miller 733 song – singing game; 1 stanza; 1 line game description; 2 staves music – “There was an old Miller and he lived by himself”Note reads ‘Mr __ Bishops Quay Cornwall’. [Bishops Quay is a tiny settlement close to Helston].
Oats and Beans and Barley 1380 singing game. song associated with dance; 4 stanzas – “Oats and beans and barley”. Includes instructions for danceNote reads: Learned as little girl in Shipston-on-Stour, from aunt; aunt born in 1805, died aged 95.
Milking Pails 3515 singing game; 11 stanzas; 3 lines game description – “O buy me a pair of Milking pails”Note reads: Handwritten at top of page reads ‘Edward’ (presumably in reference to verse dialogue form).
There is 1 cylinder and 1 disk recording of this item.
How Many Miles to Barley Bright 8148 singing game; 1 stanza; 2 lines game description – “How many miles to Barley Bright”Note reads: Learned as a little girl, more than fifty years ago, in Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire, from aunt; never saw in print.
There are 2 cylinder and 2 disk recordings of this item. The first cylinder recording has a note: “Does sound to be a change of singer here”.
Dance Around the Maypole 22940 2 stanzas; song – song associated with dance – “Dance around the Maypole”Note reads: from aunt
Mary Made a Pudding 13324 3 stanzas; song; “Mary made a pudding”Note reads: from aunt
Mary Made a PuddingAlternative title “Farewell” 13187 song – singing game; 4 stanzas; 3 lines game description – “My mother said that I never should”There is 1 cylinder and 1 disk recording of this item.
Sally Jumped Over the Stars 11591 song text – song – nursery rhyme or song – singing game; 1 stanza; 3 lines game description – “Sally jump over the stars”There are 4 cylinder and 2 disk recordings of this item.
[All cylinder items are short – first one has note: “Contributor identified from disc index and index cards; sounds same until ‘Gaffy Gay'”].
Sally Waters Alternative title “Sally Wasser” 4509 song – singing game; 3 stanzas; 3 lines game description – “Sally Sally Water”There are 1 cylinder and 2 disk recordings of this item.
See What a Pretty Little GirlAlternative title “Sally Wasser” 11591 song – singing game; 2 stanzas; 3 lines game description – “See What s Pretty Little Girl Can Do”There are 1 cylinder and 1 disk recordings of this item.
Shrove Tuesday 1516 song – singing game; 1 stanza; 1 line game description – “Shrove Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, when men go to plough”There are 1 cylinder and 1 disk recordings of this item.
Note says: song associated with custom. Sounds to be the same singer.
Sir Roger 797 song – singing game; 5 stanzas; 7 lines game description – “(Old) Sir Roger is dead and laid in his grave”There are 1 cylinder and 1 disk recordings of this item.
Note says: song associated with custom. Sounds to be the same singer.
Now You’re Married I Wish You Joy 2118 song – nursery rhyme or songThere is 1 disk recording of this item.

Notes by Paul Burgess