Cecil Sharp visited Joseph Evans in Old Sodbury on 3 April 1907 when Joseph sang him one verse of the song ’The Twelve Joys of Mary’. Sharp then obtained the complete words of the song from another resident of Old Sodbury, Keziah Hawkins, and so collected the complete song,
Joseph Evans was baptised 2 January 1827 in Beverstone, Gloucestershire. By 1841 Joseph Evans aged 13 was living in Winstone with his parents, Thomas Evans, aged 36, an agricultural labourer and Hannah aged 37 and his seven siblings, William, Jacob/Jack, Timothy, Thomas, Evan, Jabus and Timothy aged from 15 years to 3 months. All were born in Gloucestershire.
In 1851 Joseph’s family were still living in Winstone, Glos. His father, Thomas , was then a shepherd , his mother Hannah,was described as a shepherd’s wife born in Beverstone, Glos., and they had four further children, Able aged 11, Benjamin aged 9, Sarah Ann aged 5 and Frank George aged 1. Thomas and All the children were born in Winstone. Jacobs was now and agricultural labourer and Jabus a ploughboy. Joseph was not at the family home but he would have been aged approximately 23.
By 1861 Joseph Evans aged 36, was also a shepherd living at The Oaks, Sudeley Parish, Gloucestershire with his wife, Elizabeth aged 35, born Winstone, Glos. and children Mary Ann aged 9, a scholar born in Winstone, Glos., Johana aged 6,a scholar born Sudeley, Glos., Thomas aged 5 and Elizabeth aged 2 born in Winstone. He had moved to ?Berrymans, Stroud (probably near Lypiatt Park) by 1871 and had two of their children living with them: Thomas aged 15, an agricultural labourer, and Eme (prob Emma- see below) aged 7. Thomas was born in Bisley Glos. and Eme(prob Emma) in Tetbury. The family appears to have moved around Gloucestershire and by 1881 Joseph and Elizabeth were living in Lye Grove, Old Sodbury with with their daughter Emma aged 18, born in Tetbury. Also living with them is John Walker aged 29, an under-shepherd born in Old Sodbury. There are no other Evans living in Old Sodbury.
Joseph then remained in Old Sodbury and was noted in Censuses as a farm labourer aged 65 in 1891 living in Cotswold Lane, Old Sodbury with his wife Elizabeth, also aged 65 and in 1901 still in Old Sodbury with Elizabeth. His wife,Elizabeth, was possibly buried in Old Sodbury on 6 November 1904 and a Joseph Evanswas buried in Old Sodbury on 22 April 1914.
Note by Carol Davies November 2011