Wednesday 11th July at 7pm; Rossiter Books, Ross on Wye – Ticket £3
John Simons will give an illustrated talk about Ella Mary Leather. He has written a biographical portrait of her for the new edition of the classic history of Herefordshire folklore.
The book was first published in 1912 and has remained a bible for the folklore of the county, and even the folklore of the country, ever since. Living in Weobley, Ella gathered much of her material from cottage dwellers, workhouse residents and gypsy families living in the vicinity in the early 1900s, moving on in later years to record, by use of a phonograph, songs and carols, sometimes in the company of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Apart from the songs and carols, her writings include cures for remedies, local sayings, Morris dance tunes and dances, love divinations, and tales of ghosts and fairies.
John Simons lives in Castle House in Weobley, which had been the Leather family home. Here were found portraits of Ella, along with an album of her photographs – some of which are reproduced in the book for the first time – and other pieces of information which have helped inform the biography.