|A broadsheet map detailing the history of Hampshire's rich folk heritage is launched this week in the hopes of preserving that heritage bringing people throughout the county much closer to their hidden folk ancestry|
A broadsheet map detailing the history of Hampshire's rich folk heritage is launched this week in the hopes of preserving that heritage bringing people throughout the county much closer to their hidden folk ancestry.
Working in collaboration with the Hampshire County Museums Service, Bournemouth University researchers Yvette Staelens and Chris Bearman have produced the Hampshire Folk Map as part of the Singing Landscapes project. The project is funded by an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Over 20,000 copies of the map will be distributed through the County's libraries, museums, arts and countryside venues free of charge.
This map carries detailed historical information about folk song and singers from the county together with details and images of objects in the Hampshire county museums' collections that provide the material evidence of traditions associated with folklore.
Over the past two years, Staelens and Bearman have gathered family histories, music and photographs linked to the county's traditional folk songs and singers, retracing the steps of folk song collector Dr George Gardiner. Dr Gardiner travelled Hampshire over a century ago visiting villages and towns to collect songs and stories. His collection is an integral part of the map and a travelling exhibition, both of which are designed to safeguard the rich vein of music and song that runs through the length and breadth of the county for future generations.
The map also features a comprehensive list of Hampshire singers drawn from a variety of sources. Staelens and Bearman are hopeful that the list will encourage descendants to come forward with even more songs, stories and artefacts to help complete the story of Hampshire's folk heritage. Names on the list include Moses Blake, a labourer who lived in Lyndhurst, Thomas Cooper, a fisherman from Southampton Itchen and George Macklin, a bricklayer in Basingstoke.
"Many of us have singing ancestors but perhaps do not know it," says Staelens, an accomplished singer in her own right. "One of the attractions of this project is the opportunity to inspire the public to take part in this research themselves.
"Hampshire and the West Country are key places which people emigrated from to all parts of the world over the years so this project has global implications," Staelens continues. "It's potentially the biggest distribution of folk song research ever and that makes it very exciting."
The Hampshire Folk Map follows a previous project by Staelens and Bearman in Somerset which celebrated the work of Cecil Sharp. Like Gardiner, Sharp travelled throughout Somerset a century ago helping to preserve many important aspects of the county's folk history.
Sharp is considered the 'founding father' of the folklore revival in England. His travels and recordings in the early 1900s resulted in a vast collections of singer profiles and songs (including earthy tales of promiscuity and illegitimacy) that may have been lost had Sharp not pursued and published them.
To date, more than 20,000 Somerset Folk Maps have now been distributed.