A Hundred Plus Years Ago
|Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings
t was On the 22nd August 1903 that Cecil Sharp noted down his first folk song, it was The Seeds of Love, sung by John England in the village of Hambridge, Somerset.
During the following couple of years Sharp was often
assisted by his friend Charles Marson, the local vicar, and songs numbering approximately1,500 were collected throughout
Somerset , many of these were eventually published in 5 volumes of Somerset Folk Songs. Going further
afield in England and in the United States of America , Sharp later collected something close to a another 3,000 songs.
One does have to remember that Sharp was only one of several song collectors, but he helped to reveive The Folk Song
Society and also to revive these songs in schools. He also collected and published morris dances, English sword
dances and country dances. Indeed, in 1911 he founded the English Folk Dance Society. The fact that so many people, not
just in Somerset but throughout the world, are still singing the songs and dancing the dances which he collected is an indication
of just how important the first event turned out to be.