Roger Dixon Remembers…

Book cover of “Knapton – 20th century Village Voices

Roger Dixon (born 1934) was Walter’s cousin. The following extract by Roger was initially written for Knapton Remembered (edited by Gillian Shephard; publisher Larkspress) but is also included in the later book Knapton – Twentieth Century Village Voices.

Roger “describes a musical tradition which could have come straight from Thomas Hardy”:

‘Singing and music played a big part in the life of our family – that is, in the Gee family, my grandmother’s people. Every Christmas, we had an enormous party crammed into the cottage where Walter Pardon, the last of the folk singers, lived. He was the last of the family to live there, where they had been since the 1830s. There was a big beam across the middle of what was then the “front room” and the entertainment swung from one side of it to the other. After a song or an item on an instrument (several of them played violin, accordion or flute), suitable refreshment followed and then there was a call of “Your side o’ the baulk” and a person on that side of the room would oblige. In later years, after Peter Bellamy, whom I taught at Fakenham, discovered Walter, one of Walter’s records was given that title. He kept the big drum of the Knapton Band in his shed and there were all sorts of family tales about music-making in the past. One was that the family formed the church band in the reign of William IV in the 1830s, before the Robinson family provided the first harmonium for the church. If you have ever read Under the Greenwood Tree, you will know how the Gees felt about it’.

Producer Bill Leader LED2111 1977