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Shepherd, William ‘Daddy’

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William Shepherd was in Winchcombe workhouse when he was visited by Sheila Rathbone on 1 January 1908 when he sang Yonder Sits A Spanish Lady. She said that he ‘sang rather low but said his words very distinctly.’ She wrote to Percy Grainger about her visit to the Workhouse the following day and Percy Grainger visited the Workhouse on 5 April 1908 when William ‘Daddy’ Shepherd aged 93 sang him American Stranger, Bold General Wolfe, Brisk Sailor Lad, Green Bushes, Jolly Joe (The Collier’s Son), My Love’s Gone, Saucy Jack Tar, Seeds of Love, Shepherd’s Song, Yonder Sits A Spanish Lady and The Young Fisherman, Cecil Sharp then visited him on 8 April 1909 and he then sang Oh no John, Joe the Pen Collier, Who Knocks There (recitation only), We’ll All Stand Up and The Bold Fisherman (tune only known).

William Shepherd was baptised in Stow on the Wold on 21 July 1816, the son of Thomas Shepherd, a slater and his wife, Hannah. By 1841 he was working as a slater and plasterer and he and his wife, Ann who was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, were living in Kineton Hills, Temple Guiting with two children, Agatha aged 2 and Emma who was baptised on 8 May 1941 in Temple Guiting. In 1844 they had another son, Thomas, who was baptised on 28 June and a further son, William, was baptised in Guiting Power on 11 April 1852. By 1861 William Shepherd was a master slater and plasterer and his son, Thomas, was also working as a slater and plasterer. The family were living at ‘Kennel’, Guiting Power. William’s daughter, Agatha Shepherd, was working as a servant in the house of retired Lt Col Chisholm at 31 Clarence Square, Cheltenham and William’s daughter, Emma, had also left home and was working as a house servant at Dymock Grange. Emma married William East in 1867. William East, who was born in Kineton, had started work as a plough boy aged 9, as did his elder brother, and by 1871 William and Emma were also living in Guiting Power where he was working as an agricultural labourer.

William Shepherd’s daughter, Agatha, married Levi Billington in 1962. They had a daughter, Alexandra Elizabeth, in 1863 in Cheltenham but Levi died in 1864. By 1871 Alexandra was living with her grandparents, William and Ann Shepherd, in Guiting Power, where William was still working as a plasterer. William and Emma East were still living in Guiting Power where they had two daughters, Margaret, born 1875 and Lily, baptised 1 March 1973. By 1881 William and Ann Shepherd were living in one 2 cottages called Moor Cottages in Guiting Power. Their granddaughter, Alexandra Billington, who was working as a domestic servant was still living with them. William was still working as a plasterer. Alexandra’s mother, Agatha, a widow, was living in Cheltenham at 9, Lower Park Street working as a needlewoman. In 1890 when she was 50 Agatha married Thomas Banks of Alderton who had been married twice before and had 8 children from those previous marriages. Thomas died in 1896.

William Shepherd’s daughter Emma and her family had moved to Main Street, Aveley, Essex by 1881, where William East died in 1881. In 1891 Emma was still living there with her two daughters working as a charwoman but had taken in two lodgers. By 1901 she was a beer house keeper at the Wheeler’s Arms, South Weald, Billericay in Essex. She had two lodgers and her daughter, Margaret, was working as a laundress. Margaret married Joseph Dodson in Billericay in 1907. They had a son, also called Joseph, in 1908.By 1911 Emma was a grocer at The Shop, Coxtie Green, Coxtiee Road, South Weald, Near Brentwood. Her daughter, Margaret was assisting her in the shop and Margaret’s husband, Joseph Dodson, was working as a laundry engineer and washhouseman and they had another son, (Arthur) William born in 1909. Both sons were born in Kelvedon Hatch, near Brentwood. They also had three lodgers. Joseph Dodson possibly married Rose Talbot in Brentwood in 1935 and probably died in 1909 in Romford. William Dodson possibly died in Chelmsford in 1982.

Both William and Ann Shepherd lived to a good age. They both entered Winchcombe workhouse on 25 August 1905 when William was 91 and Ann was 95 where Ann died in 1906. William remained in the Workhouse and died there on 19 June 1909 shortly after being recorded by Percy Grainger.

Notes by Carol Davies February 2015