Frederic Weatherly – Songwriter

Frederick Edward Weatherly, songwriter and barrister, was born at 7 Wood Hill (now 63 Woodhill Road) in Portishead on 4th October 1848.  He was educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Oxford University.  After graduating he remained at Oxford and worked as a teacher.  In December 1872 he married Anna Maria Hardwick in Worle and they had a son and two daughters.  They later separated and he lived with Maude Francfort for many years. 

At some point in his adult life Frederick dropped the k from the end of his name and became Frederic.  In 1887 he left teaching to qualify as a barrister in London. In 1893 he joined the western circuit and moved to Clifton, Bristol.  In 1900 he moved to Bath where he continued to work as a barrister. Frederic’s wife Anna died in 1920.  Maude Francfort died in 1923 and later the same year Frederic married a widow, Mrs Miriam Bryan.  He died in Bathwick on 7th September 1929 after a short illness and was buried at Bathwick Cemetery.

Frederic Weatherly published his first song lyrics, poems, two novels, many children’s books, and librettos for cantatas and oratorios while he was living in Oxford.  He went on to write the words to many of the most popular songs in the English-speaking world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  His songs were performed by the leading singers of the time.  He also translated several Italian and French operas into English.

Frederic Weatherly claimed to have published more than 1,500 songs in total. Dozens of them were extremely popular in his lifetime, and several of them, including Nancy Lee (1876), The Holy City (1892), Danny Boy (1912) set to the tune of ‘Londonderry Air’, and Roses of Picardy (1916) remained popular after his death.

Portishead, 63 Woodhill Road
63 Woodhill Road, Portishead
Plaque, 63 Woodhill Road
Commemorative plaque on the front of 63 Woodhill Road, Portishead
Portishead, Weatherly Drive
Weatherly Drive, Portishead

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