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Eliza Gutch


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Born Eliza Hutchinson in Lincolnshire, she became Mrs Gutch (as she was widely known) when she married York solicitor John James Gutch in 1868. Mrs Gutch was a founder member of the English Dialect Society (1873) and of the Folklore Society (1878). Indeed, it was her suggestion in Notes & Queries (5s:5 (1876), 194) that a new society be formed that led to the foundation of the latter. She contributed large amounts of material on Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, and was well known to readers of N&Q for her hundreds of contributions, spread over 70 years, under the pseudonym ‘St Swithin’. Mrs Gutch was one of several Victorian women who made immense contributions to folklore and dialect studies but who, because they did not write major articles or books, are largely forgotten. She was extremely well read and her forte was as supplier of information and source material to those who needed it, such as in the N&Q columns and in the three books which she edited for the Folklore Society's County Folklore series which gave her the opportunity to gather and make available material from a wide range of sources.

Mrs Gutch's work includes County Folklore: Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the North Riding of Yorkshire, York and the Ansty (1901); Mrs Gutch and Mabel Peacock, County Folklore: Examples of Printed Folklore Concerning Lincolnshire (1908); Mrs Gutch, County Folklore: Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the East Riding of Yorkshire (1912).

Obituary in Folk-Lore 41 (1930), 301;Eileen Elder, ‘… But Who was Mrs Gutch?’, Newsletter of the Society For Lincolnshire History and Archaeology (Jan. 1988), 23–6;Eileen Elder, ‘Two Lincolnshire Folklorists: Mrs Gutch and Miss Mabel Peacock’, Lincolnshire Life (Oct. 1988), 24–5.

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