James Talbott 1821-1907

James was born 26 Apr 1821 in Sparkford, Somerset the only son of  Samuel Talbott 1797-1870 and Charity Way 1792-1866 to survive into adulthood. Carpenter James was a respected member of the Sparkford’s community who was married three times had three daughters whose stories are followed later in this page. According to records available in early 2020 James probably has no living descendants.

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.

Albertina Ann “Bertie” Talbott 1851-1930

  • James Talbott 1821-1907
    • + Ann Matcham 1823?-?
    • + Jane H Field 1820-1858
    • Albertina Ann “Bertie” Talbott 1851-1930
    • Emily Abigail Talbott 1854-1907
      • + Harry Rowden 1855-1906
    • Rosa Field  Talbott 1857- after 1871
      • no known marriage or offspring
    • + Eliza Mark c1818-1892
  • When 26 year old James married Jane Field in 1847 the marriage certificate and licence stated that he was a widower. Research lead to
  • Carpenter James Talbott of Sparkford, son of carpenter Samuel Talbott married Ann Matcham on 12 May 1846 a Fordington [now part of Dorchester], Dorset. Ann was the daughter of yeoman John Matcham, Mary Ann Talbott was a witness, but no Matcham family members. An Ann Matcham daughter of John and Lydia had been born in Poytington near Sherborne [not far from Sparkford] in 1823 and was a servant there in the 1841 census. There is an altered entry in Sparkford’s burial register that may be Ann’s burial on 22 August 1846. “Ann Talbot” age column has a “2” then a 5 or 3 crossed out, appears to be “yrs” written below. This entry has been transcribed as 2 tears old, but James’s wife Ann could have been about 23 or 25 in 1846.
  • There is one odd thing about James’ later marriages as both were ‘by licence’ away from Sparkford rather than ‘by banns’ where local people can question the validity of the marriage. Marriage by licence was also fashionable showing that you have spare time and a certain degree of wealth. In James’ case it does question what happened to his marriage to Ann Matcham.
  • James’ second wife Jane Hodder Field who he married by licence in Corton Denham on 30 December 1847 had been baptised there in 1820, daughter of farmer John Field and Abigail nee Barrett who had married in Corton Denham in 1805. 74 year old Abigail was living with James and Jane for the 1851 census and was buried at Sparkford in 1852. Jane died and was buried in Sparkford in 1858.
    • Albertina Ann “Bertie” Talbott 1851-1930 lived with James in Sparkford then worked at the local Rectory until her death.
    • Emily Abigail Talbott 1854-1907 married widower and farmer Harry Rowden 1855-1906 at Sparkford in 1892. Harry and his first wife Mary Lush Moore nee Hayter had at least two offspring. Mary died during the third quarter July-Sept of 1887 while their daughter Margaret Lush Moore Rowden was baptised at Holton, Somerset on 9 September 1887. As a 3 year old in the 1891 census Margaret was with her Rowden uncle and aunt in Holton. 10 years later Margaret was in Cornwall with Tom Golledge and Alice Golledge described as their neice, but in fact was their step-neice.
    • Rosa Field Talbott 1857-? was living with her parents in 1871 then disappears from the records. DNA may lead us to her descendants, if they exist.
  • James’ third wife Eliza Mark sometimes said she was born in St Cross, Suffolk in about 1818 and others in Mendum, Norfolk. Eliza married James Talbot by licence in 1860 in Pimlico, London. The licence, image available on ancestry.co.uk says that widower James lived in Sparkford but does not give an abode for Eliza or importantly her married status so she may have been a widow. 72 year old Eliza was buried in Sparkford in 1892.

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