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Oswald Stammers (1904-2002)










Oswald Stammers was the grandson of Jimmy Stammers, a maker and player from Westhall in Suffolk. He was born on 26th September 1904 and lived until the grand old age of 98, dying in 2002.

Oswald’s father was William James Stammers, who followed his father Jimmy into a job with the Great Eastern Railway. His wife Emma was also from Westhall, but after marriage the pair moved to Essex, first near Chelmsford and by 1911 the family were in Colchester. Oswald married Marjorie Frost, a mariner’s daughter from Brightlingsea, in 1928 and soon afterwards they moved to somewhere in northeast Essex/Cambridgeshire borders, as their sons were born in Cambridge and Steeple Bumpstead (1931/33/40).


There were several dulcimer players in the generation above Oswald: his father, William James, his Uncle Harry and Aunt May all played the dulcimer – Oswald learned the ‘rippling’ technique from his father, who could also ‘chord’ it – play two harmonising notes at the same time. His grandfather Jimmy Stammers had made four family dulcimers, all to the same design, as well as a number of others. Oswald had inherited his dulcimer from an aunt: probably Aunt May (born Catherine Stammers 1889, married name Emmett). From correspondence with collector and dulcimer player Russell Wortley, it is clear that Oswald was certainly quite musically active in the local community at that time.


Oswald Stammers was recorded by Russell Wortley in 1970, along with duets with his brother Ronald, on the one-string fiddle, who had settled in Manningtree in south east Essex. For further information follow the link:


Oswald Stammers recordings



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Photo descriptions & sources

Main photo: Oswald Stammers (Russell Wortley)


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