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Extract Organists and Masters of the Choristers of St. Georges Chapel in Windsor Castle

John Pigott

b. circa 1690 ; d. 24 November, 1762
JOHN E. WEST's Cathedral Organists contains very few errors; but in the case of Pigott, West was wrong in calling him Francis, and in supposing him to be a grandson of Francis, Organist of the Temple Church.
The Windsor Records show most clearly that Golding's successor was John Pigott, son of Francis, Organist of the Temple.
The confusion arose perhaps from the fact that on being appointed to Windsor John Pigott did not give up his place at the Temple, where he had succeeded his father as Organist in 1704.
The Chapter minute of 3 December, 1719, reads : "Mr. John Pigott chosen organist in the room of Mr. John Go!ding". This brief statement is supplemented by a very interesting memorandum entered by Dr. Derham in his
notebook Windsor Records, iv, B, 18, fo. 110
which may be quoted in full :
"3 Dec., 1719, Mr. Priest of Bristol having somehow signalized himself for the Organist's place and somehow gotten into the favour of some of the Chapter : but Mr. Piggot having his uncle's interest, but especially very much signalizing himself this evening was unanimously chosen Organist, being allowed the favour of 15 Sundays attendance at the Temple to preserve his place there. The greatest difficulty was about the Master of the Boys, and Mr. Lamb claimed, and Mr. Piggot would have readily resigned to him in consideration of his Assistance in his absence at the Temple (I mean the whole profits of the Master of the Boys, not the half which Mr. Lamb had accepted of in Mr. Goldwyn's time). But the difficulty was that in case another Organist should be chosen, or Mr. Piggott resign the Temple and settle wholly here : in which case the Chapter did not care to put the choice of a Master out of their own power nor to part it from the Organist's place. At last it was ordered that Mr. Lamb should have the whole profits of the Master whilst he taught the boys, and that the Organist (whoever he was) should resume that place to himself whensoever he should please, provided he should teach the Boys himself. To which Mr. Lamb more than once submitted".
Lamb was also Organist of Eton College and held that appointment from 1703 till 1733 when John Pigott succeeded him.
John Pigott's appointment, as may be judged from Derham's statement, was a definite bit of jobbery, and it would seem that Nathaniel Priest, Organist of Bristol Cathedral from 1711 to 1734, was better qualified. Pigott owed his success to the influence of Dr. Pelling, Canon of Windsor (1715-1750), who was his uncle. Pelling's sister, Anne, married Francis Pigott L, Organist of the Temple Church, and John Pigott was their son.
Dr. Pelting was Rector of St. Anne's, Soho, and Canon of St. Paul's, as well as of Windsor t. Dying unmarried, he left a large fortune, bequeathed legacies of {1000 to each of the four children of John Pigott, namely, John, Catherine, Gillary and Francis, and he appointed his nephew "John Pigott, the elder, of Windsor Castle" as his executor and residuary legatee. The Will was dated 15 Oct., 1748
John Pigott married Isabella, daughter and heiress of James Gillary, "a colonel in the army of King William" Three of their children, Catharine in 1723, Gillary in 1725, and Francis in 1732 were baptized in St. George's ChapeL Francis was called to the Bar.
Pigott's name first appears as Organist of Eton about the year 1733. It was in 1734 that Charles John Stanley, the famous blind musician, became Organist of the Temple Church, and from these facts it may be assumed that Pigott gave up the Temple when he added the organistship of Eton College to that of St. George's Chapel.
On 25 April, 1726, John Pigott was chosen Master oi the Boys ; and it was ordered by the Chapter "that Mr. Lamb teach the Boys and play on the Organ for Mr. Pigott and have the whole of the profits of the place during Mr. Pigott's absence at the Temple and on any other real occasion as hitherto. Ordered further that Mr. Lamb teach the boys and have half the profits of the place whensoever Mr. Pigott leaves the Temple, upon condition that Mr. Lamb dcrs play for him upon reason- able and just occasions to be judged by the Chapter".
The Chapter Minutes contain little of further interest concerning Pigott- Repairs were ordered to be done to his house in 1720, when he first came into residence, and again in 1754. In 1721 a curious Minute refers to an exchange of woodhouses "between Dr. Prat, one of the Canons, and Mr. Pigott, the organist". And whereas Pigott had "been at great in converting his so exchanged woodhouse to a more advantageous use . it should remain to him and his successors without disturbance"
Dr. pelling died 30 March, 1750, and his legacy enabled Pigott to retire a few years later. A Chapter Minute of 11 May, 1756, reads : "I do this day voluntarily resign my place of Organist.—(Signed) John Pigott"
His resignation at Eton seems to have taken place about the same time. He died at Windsor and was buried at St. George's Chapel on 28 Nov., 1762. His wife died eight years earlier and was buried at St. George's Chapel 30 March, 1754.
There is no record of any musical composition of John Pigott.

John Marbeck

b. circa 1510 ; d. circa 1585
MARBECK is perhaps the most famous of all the musicians who have held office at St. George's Chapel. Yet the precise dates of his birth, his appointments and his death remain undiscovered ; nor has his Will been found. It is not unlikely that he was a native of Windsor, where, as he himself stated in 1550, he had then "spent the greatest part of his life in the study of music and playing the organ". As he lived till about 1585, and as his son Roger, who became Provost of Oriel, was born in 1536, his own birth may reasonably be put at about 1510. The earliest known mention of his name is found at Windsor in a document dated 1 May, 1531, which includes an Inventory of plate in the custody of the Treasurer of the Vicars, or Minor Canons. Among the items is "one sylver spone wrytyn theron John Merbeke". His name is next found in the Will of William Tate (Canon 1522-40). This Will is dated 1540 and is in the handwriting of Marbeck, to whom Tate bequeathed £5. The original Will is at Somerset House. In the following year, 1541-42, Marbeck is mentioned both in the Treasurer's and the Precentor's Rolls, where he is shown to have received 20s. pro modulatione in organis (for playing on the organ), and also as a separate item pro sufflatione organorum (for the blowing of the organ). This cannot mean that Marbeck himself blew the organ ; it is likely that he had to find the organ-blowers and to pay them on behalf of the Chapter.