Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1890 & 99

James (Jim) Pymer (1819 - 1898)

James Pymer was a Clown and Comic Singer and toured music halls, concert halls and circus venues throughout England in the 1800s. He was a renowned "Patterer", (singing fast, wordy songs similar to today's "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious)!

He was born in 1819 in Bristol, the son of David and Hannah Pymer. Sometime between 1841 and 1851 James married Matilda who was born in 1817 in Bristol and who was a Professional singer.

The census returns make interesting reading as his addresses were all over the country and his dates of birth are inconsistent. In 1841 he was lodging at Jacob Street Bristol and in 1851 he and Matilda were lodging in Shakespeare Street Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1861 they were lodging at 50 Cannon Street Bradford where James was a Professional Clown and Matilda was a Professional Dancer. In 1871 it would appear that they had settled down in Byrom Street Manchester and by 1881 James had taken on another role as Guardian Bill Inspector as well as Professional Clown and Matilda was a Professional Clown's wife. However, later in 1881 Matilda died aged 64 and was registered at Deansgate, Manchester.

Two years later in 1883, James married again to Mary Lench, formerly Mary Chambers at St Matthew's Church, Liverpool Road, Manchester. In 1891, James was a boarder with the Bryson family at Byrom Street, Manchester, but there is no mention of Mary. However, there is a death certificate for Mary Pymer in 1898 aged 62, registered at Hulme, Manchester.  In December 1898, James Pymer died aged 79 and was registered at Manchester Central. He was buried at Weaste Cemetery in a Church of England common grave on 3 January 1899.

Some of the newspaper articles and adverts for entertainment, show that James (or Jim) was quite a traveller and was highly thought of. The Rochdale Observer 15th February 1860 says "Pablo Franque's Phoenix Circus's celebrated company of equestrians and trained horses and ponies from Glasgow will be supported by six of the best clowns we have ever had the pleasure of hearing or seeing. Jim Pymer is immensely funny in his mock lectures and funny songs". Bedfordshire Times of 15th September 1863 reveals, "At Bedford on Thursday, the drolleries of the clowns Bobby Dobbs, Jim Patson and Jim Pymer, kept the audience in uproar".

The Yorkshire Post of 4th July 1868 has an advert for the Rose and Crown Concert Hall, "Monday next 6th July, will see the first appearance in Leeds of Tom Luccette, the unrivalled Negro Comedian and the re-appearance of Jim Pymer, the great clown and comic vocalist." The Manchester Evening News of 4th March 1870 says "Mr Jim Pymer, clown and comic vocalist, takes his benefit at the Alexandra Hall tonight on the occasion of making his last appearance on this stage. Mr Pymer's abilities as a comic, singer and jester are well known to the public, and the large number of renowned artistes announced to appear on this occasion cannot fail to secure an extensive patronage."