James Talbott 1821-1907

Born: 26 Apr 1821 in Sparkford, Somerset

Parents: Samuel Talbott 1797-1870 and Charity Way 1792-1866

Siblings: Mary Ann Talbott 1823-1895, Sarah Talbott 1825-1837, Thomas Talbott 1828-1829,  Jane Talbott 1829-1906, Elizabeth Talbott 1832-1920?, Susanna Talbott 1836-1866

Married: 1: Jane Hodder Field c1821-c1859 in late 1847 probably in Jane’s home village of Corton Denham, Somerset, England

2: Eliza Mark c1818-1892?  on 4 Jun 1860 in Pimlico, London

Offspring: 1: Albertina Ann “Bertie” Talbott 1851-1930, Emily Abigail Talbott 1854-after 1891, Rosa Field Talbott 1857-after 1871

Died: 21 Aug 1907 in Sparkford, Somerset

See map of locations for places mentioned on this page 


Oral tradition from ‘Oram Family Saga’ 1970: 

James was an outstanding carpenter who could build a farm wagon from scratch. He also made chairs from Sparkford oak from the Bennett estate, which are still treasured by some members of the Oram family today. He lived in a cottage opposite the church which is now knocked down, and had his workshop behind.

The very lovely processional cross in the church bears the inscription “To the Glory of God and the memory of James Talbott for 35 years parish clerk of Sparkford. This cross was presented by past and present parishioners.”

His daughter, Albertina Ann (or “Bertie” for short) looked after her father for many years. When he died she went to work at the Rectory. She lived there until she died in 1930 aged 76. She is remembered for her lovely rich chuckle.

James and Albertina

Extracts from Jeff Clew’s book “Sparkford memories of the past“:

Later, Samuel’s carpenter’s shop was taken over by his son James, a carpenter of outstanding ability. He could build a farm wagon from scratch, including the wheels, and finish it with the traditional painted flourishes. Such was his meticulous attention to detail that he once refused to carry out a little patching work on a worn piece of church flooring, to make it good. His reasoning was, to use his own words, “When I bees in the churchyard the volk will stand by and zay Talbott o’Sparkford did he.”

Indoor photo of James Talbott taken by John Samuel Oram

Surprisingly, James’ education was interrupted when he had to leave school at the age of eight to look after the baby at home*. Growing tired of this unwanted occupation he used to pinch the baby to make it cry, so its mother would come and take it away. Despite his meagre schooling, he became recognised as a competent accountant and the villagers would take to him their puzzling figures as he was renowned for his fairness and honesty. “We’ll bide by what Talbott o’Sparkford do say” said local disputants and even the stewards of large estates would pass figures and estimates without question if they were aware they had been seen by him.

* The baby would have been Jane, born 1829 who later married John Oram 1824-1907 and the mother Charity Talbott nee Way.


Pulpit made by James Talbot

The pulpit was constructed by James Talbott the local carpenter, early in the 19th century. It is an assembly of carvings taken from other churches in the area and used to have coloured panels….. Gone is the chancel screen made by James Talbott … James Talbott became the Parish Clerk, a position he held until his death in 1907 when the post fell into abeyance.



James’ second marriage to Eliza Mark

Marriage Certificate †

Albertina Ann “Bertie” Talbott 1851-1930



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