Frances Baker

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Frances Baker, singer from Maidstone, Kent.

Songs collected by Francis Collinson, 1946:

Note by Collinson in JEFDSS Vol 5 No 1 (1946), p20, accompanying her husband Harry Baker's version of Death and the Lady:

"His wife also knows folk-songs and I got the following songs from her : "The oyster girl", "The bold fisherman" and "The sergeant in the wagon train". She was born at Mereworth in Kent and learned her songs from her father, who used to sit and sing them in the chimney corner in the evening. He knew over a hundred and fifty songs. Mrs Baker was hopeful of getting some more songs from her sister, but the latter unfortunately died very shortly afterwards, and her songs died with her."

Born Frances Harriett Bell, 5th October 1879, and baptised at St Lawrence's, Mereworth, on 26th October 1879. Her parents were Mary (née Cheesman), and Josiah, an agricultural labourer. The family lived at Butchers Lane, Mereworth (1881 and 1891 Census). In 1901 Frances was working at Hazlewood, East Peckham, as "Cook domestic" in the household of farmer John Godwin. She was married to Harry Baker in Mereworth on 19th December 1903, susbequently living in Maidstone.