Larner, Sam


Residence of. Bulmer Cottage, Bulmer Road, Winterton on Sea. Fisherman, folk singer and musician.

Sam Lamer went to sea in 1892 on sailing drifters as a ship’s boy. This proved a hard life among uncaring and even cruel fishermen, who Sam described as wicked old men, but he did not spend time feeling sorry for himself and got on with his job.


During these years he heard the songs of fishermen and sailors, which he committed to memory, along with some music hall songs and ballads. He performed these songs throughout his life in local pubs and parish concerts. The lyrics of Sam’s songs were of seafaring, fishing, piracy, lechery and of true and false love. Sam’s wife, Dorcas, would remind him in some company with the words: no rudery, as many of his songs were not suitable for all occasions. However, they went down well on herring drifters and in smoke rooms.


Sam’s relatives said of the Larner repertoire. They particularly remembered his version of the monologue; It was Christmas Day in the Workhouse, which could reduce the audience to tears, They also recalled him singing, The Bold Princess RoyalHail, the Dewey Morning, She Threw Away her Cake and No, Sir. No. The song they particularly remembered was Butter and Cheese and All.


Sam Lamer was discovered in 1956, when Philip Donnaellan, a BBC producer from Birmingham, met him in a pub and recorded about 25 of his songs.


Sam’s life story was used by Charles Parker and Ewan McColl in one of their Radio Ballads about working people. It was broadcast on the BBC Home Service on 16th August 1960 and was called, Singing the Fishing.


Sam’s words were a large part of the programme, but there was only one example of his singing.


A Sam Larner record