Keziah Hawkins

Keziah Hawkins was visited by Cecil Sharp on 2 April 1907 when she gave him the words of one song, ‘The Twelve Joys of Mary’. Her name, possibly derived from Hezekiah, was variously spelled Keziah,  Kezzerah, Kessie and Heyiah Hawkins.

Keziah Hawkins was born prob. 1815-17 but the first record of her is in 1841 when, aged 25, she was married and  living near Springsgrove Cottage,  Old Sodbury, the wife of James Hawkins aged 25, a labourer. Her husband, James Hawkins, was born 31 July 1814 and a James Hawkins’  burial was noted at Old Sodbury on 8 April 1881. His family came from Horton and his parents, John and Maria, had three other sons: William, George and Thomas and two daughters, Elizabeth, Eliza and Mary Ann born between 1814 and 1824. She and James had nine children born between 1838 and 1858: William, John, Elizabeth, Edward, Mary Ann, Sara(h) Ann, Eileen, Ruth and Thomas. Her husband and all her children were born in Old Sodbury and  were mainly agricultural labourers and lived  in the areas of Mount Pleasant and  the London and Bristol Road in Old Sodbury.

By 1871 her daughter, Ruth, was described an unemployed general servant living at home. In 1881 probably her son, Thomas Hawkins aged 23, an agricultural labourer was married and living on The Green, Old Sodbury with his wife, Caroline aged 21 and their son, William James, aged 7 months. Thomas had at least one other child, a daughter Elizabeth, baptised in 1891.

As a widow in 1881 Keziah was described as a ‘helper in garden’ living by herself in Cotswold Lane, Old Sodbury and by 1891 she was aged 71 and  living on Old Sodbury Hill with ‘own means’. With her was her granddaughter, Elizabeth Hawkins, aged 5 who was born in Old Sodbury. By this time her son, Edward, was married to Harriet Drew and they were living in Old Road, Old Sodbury with their 4 children: James aged 15, Jesse aged 13, both agricultural labourers, and Ada aged 10 and Fred aged 5, both scholars.

By 1901 at age 84 she was ‘unable to work on account of age’ and living in’ Froom Bridge’, Old Sodbury   with her son, Edward Hawkins, aged 55, now  a farmer, his wife, Harriet  aged 56, with their three children: Jesse, aged 23, a farmer’s son,  Ada, aged 20, a mother’s help and Fred aged 15, a farmer’s son, all born in Old Sodbury. They also had a boarder, Charles Petch, a railway Inspector born in Paddington. Edward and Harriet had nine children born between 1866 and 1886: Selina Mary(died aged 6), William Henry, Alice, Louise, James, Adam, Jesse, Ada and Fred. Edward died before 1911 but Keziah, now aged 94, continued to live with his widow, Harriet, in Frome Bridge, Old Sodbury.  Harriet’s son Fred aged 25, single, a carter on a farm, was also living with them.

Keziah Hawkins died aged 98 and was buried on 7 April 1915 in Old Sodbury

Edward and  Harriet’s son, Jesse became a cowman and in 1911 Census was living in Lyr Poor (poss Lye Grove), Badminton Road, Old Sodbury aged 33 with his wife Florence,  Lucy aged 35 and seven children aged between 7 years and 3 weeks: Edward ’ Jhon’ , Ernest Jesse, Florence  Alice, Gladys,  Ada, Dorothy Mary and a baby.  The wife was born in Wiveliscombe, the baby in Lye Grove, and the rest of the family in Old Sodbury.

Note by Carol Davies November 2011