Keyte, HigfordBack to performers
Higford Keyte sang The Barrel of Pork and Job Jenkins to the collector Scarlett Potter at Ebrington in 1892.
The Keyte family had lived in the Blockley/Ebrington/Chipping Campden area since at least the 16th century and had been of high status. Members of the family had owned manor houses and been Sheriffs of Worcestershire and Members of Parliament. By the 19th century the family their fortunes were lower and songs were collected from two members of the family: Garnet Ewert Keyte who was a coal merchant in Chipping Campden and Higford Keyte who was a farmer and postmaster in Ebrington.
Higford Keyte’s great great grandfather Samuel Keyte was baptised in Ebrington in 1690, the son of William Keyte. He married Mary Franklin in Ebrington on 11 February 1715 and was a tenant farmer on land belonging to Noel Noel Esquire. They had at least seven children, Elizabeth baptised 1709, Samuel baptised 1711, Sarah baptised 1718, Hannah baptised1722 , Judith baptised 1726, Jane baptised 1730 and Higford Keyte’s great grandfather Richard, baptised 17 September 1716, all in Ebrington. Samuel Keyte was buried in Ebrington on 8 May 1740 when he was described as a husbandman.
Higford Keyte’s great grandfather Richard Keyte probably married Ann Smith on 16 November 1749 in Chipping Campden. They had seven children: Richard baptised 1752, Mary baptised 1757 who presumably died young as they then had another child who they named Mary in 1762, William baptised 1765, John baptised 176, Frances who died young in 1772 and Higford Keyte’s grandfather Samuel, baptised 21 March 1760 in Ebrington. Richard Keyte was recorded paying land tax in Ebrington in 1779. His wife, Ann was buried in Ebrington in 1784.
Higford Keyte’s grandfather, Samuel Keyte, married Martha Weston in Ebrington on 7 November 1786. They had nine children, Elizabeth baptised 1790, Samuel born about 1796, Higford Keyte’s father, John, baptised 7 January 1797, Charles baptised 1798, Ann baptised 1800, Maria baptised 1802, Hannah baptised 1803 and Joseph baptised 1805.
Samuel Keyte was paying land tax in Ebrington in 1817 on land owned by Earl Fortescue. That Samuel was of reasonable status can be seen from the fact that he made a will. In his will he left a freehold house near his own dwelling to his wife Martha and one thousand pounds to each of eight of his nine children. He also left his personal effects, his cattle, corn and hay and ‘implements of husbandry’ to be equally shared amongst his wife and children. The residue of his estate was to go to his oldest son, Samuel. Twenty pounds was also left as a legacy from ‘the thousand pounds’ to Susannah Righton stated to be his daughter. He died and was buried in Ebrington on 2 October 1821.
Higford Keyte’s father, John Keyte married Mary Righton, who had been born in Hidcote, in Ebrington on 12 May 1825. John Keyte was paying land tax in Ebrington in 1826 also on land owned by Earl Fortescue and in 1832 he was stated to be the occupier of a farm and lands at Blackdown, Ebrington .
In 1841 John and Mary Keyte were living in Ebrington where John was a farmer with eight children, Charles baptised 1826, Edwin baptised 1828, John baptised 1829, Henry baptised 1833, Robert baptised 1834 , Frederic baptised 1836, Mary baptised 1837 and Walter baptised 1840 all baptised in Ebrington. They also had a male servant William Keskey aged 17.
Higford Keyte was born to John and Mary Keyte in 1842 and baptised in Ebrington on 1 February 1843. He came from a large family of nine brothers and two sisters.
Higford Keyte’s father, John Keyte, died and was buried in Ebrington on 13 December 1847 when Higford was 5 years old. By 1851 his widowed mother, Mary, was still living in Ebrington and described as a farmer of 72 acres employing 2 men. Her children Edwin, Maria, Robert and Walter were still living at home as was Higford who was described as a scholar. She had a male and a female servant. By 1861 Higford Keyte was the only child still living at home. His mother, Mary, was then described as a farmer and had a lodger, Ann Harris, aged 66.
Higford Keyte married Mary Ann Tomes, from Admington, in the Shipston on Stour Registration District which included Ebrington, in 1867 and by 1871 they were living in Ebrington where Higford was described as a grass farmer of 9 acres. They had a daughter, Mary Ann aged 2 and a son, Walter, aged 1 month both born in Ebrington. In the electoral register for 1874 Higford Keyte is shown as having land at Cloud Close, Ebrington. In the 1880 directory of Gloucestershire Higford Keyte was noted as a farmer and in the 1881 electoral register he had land in Clouds Close, Ebrington. By 1881 Higford and Mary Ann Keyte were living at 16 Ebrington where Higford was a farmer of 10 acres. Living with them was a daughter, Maria, who was baptised in 1898 in Ebrington but was not at home for the 1871 Census. They had two further children, Frederick baptised 1876 and Ada baptised 1881. By 1891 they were still living in Ebrington . Higford was a farmer with two of his sons, Walter and Frederick and daughter Ada was still living at home. By 1897 he had taken over responsibility for the post office in addition to being a ‘cowkeeper’ according to the UK city and county directory.
In 1901 and 1910 he was continuing as a farmer and sub postmaster in Ebrington with sons Walter and Frederick and daughter Ada still living at home. By 1911 he was a smallholder living on his own account with his wife and his daughter Mary Ann Keyte had taken over responsibility for the post office. His son Frederick was also still living at home working as a butcher and his granddaughter Gladys Mary Cox, the daughter of Higford Keyte’s daughter, Maria, was also living with them and working as an assistant in the post office. Higford Keyte was still described as a farmer in 1914 in the UK city and county directories.
Higford Keyte died on 27 December 1920 when he was described as a dairyman.
Higford Keyte’s daughter, Maria, married Thomas Cox on 9 January 1890 in the Shipston on Stour registration district. They had a daughter, Gladys May Cox born 25 September 1891 in Ebrington. By 1891 they had moved to Stoke Damerel in Devon where Thomas was a schoolteacher. Maria died in Stoke Damerel on 22 January 1892.
Higford Keyte’s daughter Mary had moved away from home by 1891 and was working as a housemaid in the home of the vicar of Holdenhurst in Hampshire, Charles Hornby who had a large household of 10 staff. However by 1901 she had moved back home and was living with her parents. She remained there and by 1911 she had taken over responsibility for the post office and stationers. She never married and died in Ebrington in 1969.
Higford Keyte’s son, Frederick, married Emma Clifton at Mickleton on 25 April 1912 when his father was described as a farmer and Frederick as a butcher.
Higford Keyte’s son Walter lived at home working as a journeyman baker in Ebrington until his death at the young age of 32 in 1903.
Higford Keyte’s daughter, Ada, was a schoolteacher. In December 1916 she married William John Poole in Brimscombe. She was living at Gravel Hill, Brimscombe, when she was buried there on 15 December 1933.
Notes by Carol Davies February 2022