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Directory of Past Classical Organists


Extract from Cathedral Organists Past and Present
By John E. West
Published in 1921
Additional information from the British Newspaper Archive.

This page is still a work in progress

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W   *
Charles Quarles
- 1727
Charles Quarles was probably son of Charles Quarles, the builder of the Organs at Pembroke and Christ Colleges, Cambridge, in 1707.
Composer of Church Music, Etc. A "Lesson for the Harpsichord" by him was published by Goodison in 1788.
Organist of
, 1688 - 1709
1722 - 1727
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Degrees logo1698
Mus. Bac.—Charles Quarles, Organist of Trinity College. In 1722 he became Organist of York Minster. He died in 1727.
The only composition by him known is "A Lesson for the Harpsichord," printed by Goodison about 1788.
Extract: A short historical account of the degrees in music at Oxford and Cambridge.
(Williams, C. F. Abdy)

Logo, Newspaper article ORGAN RECITAL AT HOLY TRINITY
The next was a Minuet in the ancient style, written by Charles Quarles, sometime organist at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer
Saturday 29 July 1922
(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Robert Ramsey
1590s – 1644
Robert Ramsey was required to compose for his degree a "Canticum" to be performed at St. Mary's Church. A Service in F by him is in the Tudway Collection. There are also Services, Anthems, Etc., at the British Museum, Ely, and Peterhouse, Cambridge.
Dr. Jebb has included settings of the Litany (to English and Latin words), by Ramsey, in his "Choral Responses and Litanies."
He is also one of the composers mentioned in Cliffords Words of Anthems.
Organist of
1628? - 1644

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John Randall
1715 - 18th Mar 1799
John Randall was born in 1715.
Chorister in the Chapel Royal.
Organist to Cambridge University and Pembroke Hall. University Professor of Music, 1755.
Died March 18, 1799. Buried in St. Benet's Churchyard, Cambridge.
Composer of Church Music, Songs, Etc. One or two of his Chants were well known in 1921
Organist of
, 1743 - 1799
1777 - 1799
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Degrees logo1744.
Mus. Bac. — John Randall.
Born in 1715 ; was a Chorister of the Chapel Royal, under Bernard Gates. He was appointed about 1745 Organist of King's College, and in 1755 succeeded Greene as Professor of Music. He proceeded Mus. Doc. in 1756, and in 1768 composed the music for the installation of the Duke of Grafton as Chancellor of the University. He died in 1799. He composed some Church music and two double chants.
Extract: A short historical account of the degrees in music at Oxford and Cambridge.
(Williams, C. F. Abdy)
William Randall
William Randall (or Randoll) was a Chorister in Exeter Cathedral.
His name first appears as Organist of the Chapel Royal in 1592 (Chapel Royal Cheque Book).
Composer of Church Music.
Organist of
1592 - 1603?
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William Raylton
- 1757
William Raylton was a pupil of Dr. Croft.
Died 1757.
Composer of Church Music.
His Service in A was still sung at Canterbury in 1921, and a Service in E flat and one or two Anthems are in MS. in Canterbury Cathedral books. A setting of the opening Burial Sentences by him is to be found in Vincent Novello's Collection of Purcell's Sacred Music, Vol. IV.
Organist of
1736 - 1757
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Lloyd Raynor
Lloyd Raynor was a Chorister in Lincoln Cathedral, 1746, and Master of the Song School, Newark-on-Trent.
On September 10, 1771, he was &arraigned and reproved for playing one Anthem while Mr. Binns was singing another&; and, &for insolence,& was suspended from his offce till he apologized.
Dismissed from the post September 17, 1784 ; but afterwards &submitted,& and was allowed a pension of £10 a year, which, however, was discontinued after the first year.
Organist of
1756 - 1784
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Logo, Newspaper article A History of Lincoln Minster
Raynor had been organist at Newark prior to his appointment at Lincoln. Raynor proved less than satisfactory. He amused himself by attempting to throw the soloists Off their stride in the anthems. Brought before the chapter following one such incident in 1771 when a Mr Binns, one of the vicars choral, found himself singing one anthem, whilst Raynor played the Organ in the Tune of a different Anthem whereby the Singer was interrupted and the Choir put into Confusion; he was rebuked; some years later (1784) he abused and threatened the Dean 'in the grossest manner', and his services were dispensed with.
John Reading
John Reading was probably a native of Lincoln, and a relative of John Reading, Organist of Winchester Cathedral, 1675-1692. Composer of Church Music, Etc.
Organist of
1668 - 1674?
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John Reading
c.1645 - 1692
John Reading was Lay Vicar of Lincoln Cathedral, 1667, and Master of the Choristers there, 1670.
Died at Winchester, 1692. Probably buried in the Cloisters of Winchester College.
During Reading's time at Winchester College the organist's salary was increased from £5 to £50 per annum.
Composer of Church Music, and of the Winchester College &Graces.&
Organist of
1675 - 1681
1681- 1692
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John Redford
1486? - 1547
John Redford was born about 1486.
Chorister in St. Paul's Cathedral, afterwards Vicar Choral there, and subsequently Organist and Almoner, the latter appointment including the duties of Master of the Boys.
His Anthem, &Rejoice in the Lord alway,& is still(1921) sung at St. Paul's and elsewhere.
An edition in 8vo size, by Sir George Martin, was issued some years ago by Messrs. Novello. Redford composed some pieces for the organ, one or two of which have been published in recent years. He was also author of the Interlude of &Wyt and Science,& performed in 1538-39.
His name appears among the Vicars Choral in the &Declaration by the Sub-Dean and Canons of St. Paul's, of allegiance to Henry VIII. and Queen Anne Boleyn,& June 20, 1534.
He is mentioned among the distinguished musicians of his time in Morley's &Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke& (1597).
Tusser, in his &Five Hundred Points of Husbandry,& gives the following eulogy of him :——
By friendship's lot to Paul's I got,
So found I grace a certain fpace
Still to remaine
With Redford there, the like no where
For cunning fuch and vertue much,
By whom fome part of mufic's art
So did I gaine.

Organist of
1525 - 1540

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Arthur Richardson
- 1826
Arthur Richardson was lay Vicar Choral at st. David's. Formerly Assistant-Organist of Armagh Cathedral. He appears, from entries in the St. David's books, to have also been tuner of the organ.
Died 1826.
Organist of
1787 - 1826
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Alfred Madeley Richardson
Alfred Madeley Richardson was Born at Southend, 1868.
A pupil of W. Haynes at Malvern, and afterwards of Sir Walter Parratt, Sir Hubert Parry, and others.
Organ Scholar at Keble College, Oxford, 1885.
Resigned the position at Southwark Cathedral 1909, and went to America.
He wrote a number of books, his Extempore Playing has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. His 'Modern Organ Accompaminent' is available to read on line.
Composer of Church Music, Part-songs, Etc.
Organist of
Hindlip Church, Worcester, 1889
Holy Trinity, Sloane Street
St. Jude's, Cray's Inn Road
Holy Trinity, Scarborough, 1892 - 1897
1897 - 1909
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New Coll. Mus. Bac.— Alfred Madeley Richardson, Keble Coll. B.A., 1888; M.A., 1892.
Extract: A short historical account of the degrees in music at Oxford and Cambridge.
(Williams, C. F. Abdy)

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John Elliott Richardson
1825-1910
John Elliott Richardson was born at Salisbury
Pupil of A. T. Corfe, and Assistant-Organist at Salisbury for eighteen years.
Resigned the appointment at Salisbury owing to ill-health. Afterwards became Organist of a Roman Catholic Church at Bognor.
Composer of Church Music. Editor of the Salisbury Chant Book, a Collection of Sanctuses and Kyries, and a book of Voluntaries for the Organ.
Organist of
1863 - 1881
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Vaughan Richardson
c.1670 - 1729
Vaughan Richardson was a Chorister in the Chapel Royal and a Pupil of Blow.
Temporary Organist for a short time at Worcester Cathedral, before his appointment to Winchester.
Died 1729.
Composer of Church Music, Odes, Cantatas, Songs, Etc. His Anthem, "O how amiable," is still in frequent use(c1921) in all "choirs and places where they sing."

Organist of
1686 - 1688
1692 - 1729

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A song in praise of St Cecilia
Eboracum Baroque
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Sheet music
William Weaver Ringrose
c1839 - 1884
William Weaver Ringrose
Shortly after leaving Southwell his mind gave way, and he died.
Organist of
All Saints', Clifton
1876 - 1879
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Batchelor Of Music
William Weaver Ringrose

Daily Telegraph & Courier (London)
Friday 20 May 1870
(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
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Oh How Amiable Psalm LXXXIV
George Riseley
28th Aug 1845 - 12th Apr 1932
George Riseley was born at Bristol, August 28, 1845.
A Chorister in Bristol Cathedral, 1852. Afterwards articled pupil to J. D. Corfe. Assistant-Organist of Bristol Cathedral and Organist of various churches in and around Bristol.
Conductor of the Colston Hall Concerts, and, following Sir Charles Hallé's death, of the Bristol Musical Festival. Conductor of the Bristol Royal Orpheus Glee Society, 1878. Conductor of the Bristol Society of Instrumentalists, 1887. Conductor of the Bristol Choral Society, 1889. For some time Professor of the Organ at the Royal Academy of Music, Conductor of the Queen's Hall Choral Society, and Musical Director of the Alexandra Palace, in London; resigning these appointments later.
Organist of
Colston Hall, Bristol, 1870
1876 - 1898
George Riseley George Riseley
George Riseley

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Logo, Newspaper article MR. GEORGE RISELEY DEAD
FAMOUS BRISTOL CONDUCTOR
Mr. George Riseley, cx-Sheriff of Bristol, died to-day, aged 87. For many years conducted the Bristol Musical Festival, the Bristol Choral Society, and the Royal Orpheus Glee Society, and for fully 50 years he was the leading personality in musical circles in the West of England. The Royal Orpheus Glee Society gave Royal command performances at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle under Mr. Riseley. Mr. Riseley was articled 70 years ago to the organist Bristol Cathedral, and was appointed organist and choirmaster in 1876. founded the Bristol Society of Instrumentalists in 1877, and became conductor to the Royal Orpheus Glee Society in following year. He was conductor of the Bristol Choral Society for many years,

Gloucester Citizen
Tuesday 12 April 1932
(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
John Varley Roberts
John Varley Roberts, M.A., Propter merita, was born at Stanningley, near Leeds, September 25, 1841.
Conductor of the Oxford Choral and Philharmonic Society, 1885-1893.
Founder and first Conductor of the University Glee and Madrigal Society.
Lecturer in Harmony and Counterpoint for the University Professor of Music. One of the Examiners for University Musical Degrees.
Retired December 31, 1918. Died February 9, 1920.
Composer of Church Music, Organ pieces, Songs, Part-songs, Etc.
Editor of the "Parish Church Chant Book," Etc.
Organist of
St. John's, Farsley (12 Yrs old)
St. Bartholomew's, Armley, 1862
Halifax Parish Church, 1868
1882 - 1918
St. Giles's, Oxford, 1885 - 1893
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Degrees logo1876
Mus. Doc. John Varley Roberts
Extract: A short historical account of the degrees in music at Oxford and Cambridge.
(Williams, C. F. Abdy)

Logo, Newspaper article DEATH OF DR. VARLEY ROBERTS
Famous Organist, Choirmaster and Composer.
By the death or Dr. J. Varley Roberts, which. has just taken place at Oxford, British Church music Ioses a. predominant figure. The deceased musician was a, Yorkshirernan having been born at Stanningley, near Leeds, on September 25th, 1841. His talent developed early, and at 12 years of age he held a responsible position as organist at Farsley, near Leeds, After filling a number of positions as organist and choirmaster in mid-Yorkshire, including that at Halifax Parish Church, he was, in 1882, elected organist and master of the choristers at Magdalen College, Oxford, succeeding Sir Walter:. Parratt, and it was while occupying this position —which is regarded as one of the plums of the musical profession—that his wide fame was built up,

Extract:- Sheffield Daily Telegraph
Tuesday 10 February 1920
(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Robert Roberts
24th May 1840 - 9th Feb 1871
Robert Roberts was born in St. Anne's Parish, Llandegai, near Bangor, May 24, 1840.
A Chorister in St. Anne's Church. Pupil of H. S. Hayden (Organist of St. Mary's, Carnarvon, and son of William Hayden, Deputy-Organist of St. Asaph Cathedral. Student of the North Wales College for Schoolmasters, Carnarvon, where he became successively Third Master, Third Master and Music Master, and Music Master only.
Assistant-Organist of Bangor Cathedral, 1866; Organist, 1868 (appointed probationally by the year.)
Died of pleurisy, February 9, 1871. Buried in Glanadda Cemetery, Bangor.
Composer of a Welsh Funeral Service, Cantata, "The Siege of Harlech Castle," Part-songs, Etc.
A window was erected to his memory, and that of the Principal's two children, in the North Wales Training College Chapel at Carnarvon (now removed to Bangor). He was much beloved and respected, and his death, at the age of thirty, was greatly deplored. At the funeral service, held in the Cathedral, Spohr's "Blest are the departed" was sung, when one of the choristers, William Jones (a great favourite of the deceased Organist), became so affected during the singing of one of the solo portions that he completely broke down, and sobbed aloud.
Organist of
1868 - 1871
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Francis James Robinson
1799 - 21st Oct 1872
Francis James Robinson was born in Dublin, 1799.
Chorister in Christ Church Cathedral. Assistant Organist of Christ Church Cathedral, 1816. Vicar Choral of Christ Church Cathedral, 1833 ; Vicar Choral of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1843.
Died October 21, 1872. Composer of Church Music, Songs, Etc.
Editor of a collection of Irish Melodies.
The greatest tenor singer that the Dublin Cathedrals have ever possessed
Organist of
1828
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John Robinson
1812 - 1844
John Robinson was born 1812(?). Brother to Francis James Robinson.
Chorister in Christ Cathedral Dublin.
Died 1844.
Organist of
, 1829
Trinity Chapel, 1834
, 1841
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John Robinson
1682 - 30th Apr 1762
John Robinson was born 1682.
Chorister in the Chapel Royal, and pupil of Blow.
Deputy-Organist at Westminster Abbey for some years before succeeding Dr. Croft in the full offce.
Died April 30, 1762. Buried in the North Aisle of the Choir of the Abbey, in the same grave as Dr. Croft.
His Double Chant in E flat, said to have been the favourite of George Ill., is still very popular. (c1921)
Boyce, in the biographical notes to his "Cathedral Music," describes Robinson as "a most excellent performer on the organ."
From the following memorandum, in a MS. book at the Abbey, it appears that during Robinson's time the organ was removed from its ancient position in the North Choir Aisle to the Screen :— "The new organ built by Mr. Shrider and Mr. Jordan was opened on the 1st August, 1730, by Mr. Robinson ; the anthem, Purcell's 'O give thanks.'"
Organist of
St. Lawrence, Jewry, 1710 - 1762
St. Magnus, London Bridge, 1713 - 1762
1727 - 1762

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James Roche
? - 6th Jun 1811
James Roche Organist and Master of the boys.
Paid for keeping the organ in repair and tune.
Died June 6, 1811.
Organist of
1797 - 1811
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Benjamin Rogers
May 1614 – Jun 1698
Benjamin Rogers, was born at Windsor, 1614. Chorister in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and afterwards Lay Clerk there. Organist of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, 1639. Returned to England owing to the Rebellion and was again Lay Clerk of Windsor until 1644, when the Choir was disbanded.
After the Restoration he became Organist of Eton College and, for the third time, Lay Clerk of Windsor, also Assistant-Organist there to Dr. Child. Organist and "Informator Choristarum" of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1664, at a salary of £60 per annum and rooms in the College.
Was dismissed by the College, 1685-6, but was allowed a pension of £30, and lived in comparative obscurity at Oxford until his death in June, 1698. Buried at St. Peter-le-Bailey, Oxford.
Composer of much Church Music, Glees. Suites for Strings, and the Hymn "Te Deum Patrem colimus," which is sung annually on May 1st at early morning on the Magdalen Tower. Some of his Anthems are in MS. at Magdalen and New Colleges.
One cause of his dismissal was "his troublesome behaviour in the Chapel, where usually he would talk so loud in the organ loft, that he offended the company, and would not leave it off, though he hath been sent to by the President not to make such a scandalous noise there. There were frequent complaints of him from the Clerks, to whom, especially the Chanter, he used to be very cross, in not playing Services as they were willing and able to sing, but out of a thwarting humour would play nothing but Canterbury Tune, wherein he minded not the honour of the College, but his own ease and laziness."
Organist of
1639
1664 - 1685/6

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George Frederick Handel Rogers
George Frederick Handel Rogers ... Born 1806. Appointed Vicar Choral, Limerick Cathedral, 1861. Resigned, 1885. Died, 1892.
Organist of
1835 - 1885
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Edwin Stephenson
Edwin Stephenson
Organist of

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Extract: A short historical account of the degrees in music at Oxford and Cambridge.
(Williams, C. F. Abdy)
Thomas Rolfe
Thomas Rolfe No names are available in the Rolls of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, from 1442 until Thomas Rolfe was paid that year 26s. 8d. as a Clerk, 20s. as Master of the Choristers, 13s. 4d. for playing the organ during the whole year, and a further 3s. 4d. for playing ad Missam Beatae Mariae Virginis. This last is an interesting detail, for it shows that the daily Mass of the Virgin was celebrated with music as well as the daily High Mass, and that independent remuneration was given to the Organist for the two Services. The Statutes of 1352 order that our Lady's Mass is to be said "cum nota" (with note) and the precise meaning of this has been the subject of different opinions. But this entry in the Windsor Rolls provides clear evidence that the phrase does denote a musical rendering, though of a less elaborate character than that employed at the High Mass.
In the 1463 Rolfe received 13s. 4d. for playing the organ in choro, meaning at High Mass, and 3s. 4d. for playing ad missam Beatae Mariae Virginis. Rolfe probably held office as Organist continuously till the year 1468-9.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
1461-69 & 1470-84
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George Robertson Sinclair
Placeholder Entry

Born at Croydon, October 28, 1862. Student at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Chorister in, and afterwards Assistant-Organist at, St. Michael's College, Tenbury, Pupil of Dr. C. Harford Lloyd, and Assistant Organist of Gloucester Cathedral. Organist of St. Mary-le-Crypt, Gloucester, 1879; Truro Cathedral, 1881; Hereford Cathedral, 1889.
Conductor of the Hereford Festivals, Hereford Choral Society, Hereford Orchestral Society, Birmingham Festival Choral Society, Etc.
Died suddenly at Birmingham, February 7, 1917.
Composer of Church Music. Etc.
The new organ in Truro Cathedral, by Willis. was built under Dr. Sinclair's direction; and during his appointment at Hereford the sum of £2,300 was raised through his energy, and the Cathedral organ rebuilt (also by Willis) from his specification.
Organist of
John Silvester
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Organist of
Robert Stewart
16th Dec 1825 - 24th Mar 1894
Sir Robert Presscott Stewart was born in Dublin, December 16th 1825.
He was a Chorister in Christ Church Cathedral.
Organist of Christ Church Cathedral and Trinity College Chapel, 1844.
Organist of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1852. Resigned the post of Organist, St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1861, in order to obtain a Vicar Choralship there, but the latter office was divided, and he only succeeded to one half. He still, however, played the Sunday afternoon services, by arrangement with his successor, Mr. Murphy, who on these occasions sang for Sir Robert in the choir.
Half Vicar Choral of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1861. Professor of Music in Dublin University, 1862
Knighted 1872.
Died in Dublin, Easter Eve, March 24, 1894.
Composer of Odes, Cantatas, Church Music, Organ pieces, Songs, Glees, Etc.
Editor of and lecturer on music.
Organist of
Robert Presscott Stewart
Robert Stewart

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Edward Thompson
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Was previously a Chorister in Magdalen College, Oxford. and probably an articled pupil to his cousin, Thomas Hecht, the Organist there.
Organist of

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John Tomkins

Organist of
1606 - 1619 (21?)
1622 - 1638

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John Travers
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Organist of
James Turle
5th Mar 1802 - 28th Jun 1882
James Turle was born at Taunton, March 5, 1802.
Chorister in Wells Cathedral. Pupil of J. J. Goss and G. E. Williams.
Appointed Deputy-Organist at Westminster Abbey, 1819.
Music Master to the School for the Indigent Blind, 1829.
Succeeded
Greatorex
Thomas Greatorex
1758 - 18th Jul 1831
as Organist of Westminster Abbey, 1831.
Retired from active duties of the post. 1875.
Died in London, June 28, 1882. Buried in Norwood Cemetery.
Composer of Church Music, Glees, Etc.
Joint-Author, with E. Taylor, of "The Art of Singing at Sight. "
Editor of Willbye's First Set of Madrigals; Single and Double Chants, composed for the use of the Choral Service of Westminster Abbey.
Joint Editor, with Dr. J. F. (now Sir Frederick)
Bridge
Sir Frederick Bridge
5th Dec 1844 – 18th Mar 1924
, of the Westminster Abbey Chant Book, Etc. Compiler of Hymn and Chant Books, Etc.
On the day of Tune's retirement, September 19, 1875, his Service in D was sung at Westminster Abbey.
There is a memorial tablet to him in the West Cloister, and a window in the North Aisle of the Choir.

Organist of
Christ Church, Southwark, 1819;
St. James's, Bermondsey, 1829.
1831 - 1882

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Robert Turle
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Organist of
George Waterhouse
- Feb 1602

Organist of
? - ?
1588 - 1602

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Thomas Attwood Walmisley
21th Jan 1814 - 17th Jan 1856
Thomas Attwood Walmisley was born January 21st 1814 at Westminster.
Pupil of his father, Thomas Forbes Walmkley, and of his godfather, Thomas Attwood.
University Professor of Music, 1836, while he was still in residence for his B.A. degree. It is said that about this time he was playing the organ at as many as eight services every Sunday—twice at each of the following places: King's College, Trinity College, St. John's College, and the University Church.
Died at Caroline Place, Hastings, January 1st 1856.
Buried in Fairlight Churchyard.
Composer of Odes, Church Music, Organ pieces, Songs, Duets for Pianoforte and Oboe, Etc.
His Cathedral music was edited by his father, T. Forbes Walmisley.
Organist of
Croydon Parish Church ,1830
1821 - 1832
1833 - 1856
Thomas Attwood Walmisley
Thomas Attwood Walmisley

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Thomas Forbes Walmisley

Organist of
Thomas Forbes Walmisley
Thomas Forbes Walmisley

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John Wederby
between 1441 and 1442 John Wederby recieved full pay as a Clerk, and also 20s. pro modulatione in organis (for playing on the organ) at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. It is not possible to conjecture how long he may have held office, because both before and after this date the Rolls are silent as to names. But it is clear that, like Whitby and Dreweryn, he was definitely Organist of the Chapel.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
c.1441 - 1442
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S. S. Wesley
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Will be undated soon.
Organist of
Walter Whitby
Walter Whitby The St. George's Chapel, Windsor, roll for 1406-7 is important as recording a new feature in the development of the Musical Services. For the first time in the history of the College an Organist is mentioned. Walter Whitby was not a Vicar, as were the Masters of the Choristers at this date, but was one of the Clerks. He received payment of 13s. 4d. in reward for playing on the organ at Divine Service (pro divinis in organis exequendis) at the instance of the Dean. The phraseology suggests that this payment was for some special work apart from the ordinary routine of the statutory Chapel Services.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
1406 - 1407

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Daniel Joseph Wood
Place marker entry To be updated.
Organist of
Richard Wood
In 1496 Richard Wood received 20s. "Pro modulatione in organis", and a further sum of 13s. 4d. "in reward" from the Chapter of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, for playing the organ.
Extract:- Organists And Masters Of The Choristers Of St. George's Chapel by E.H. Fellowes

Organist of
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