Monday, January 23, 2023

Music-making in Northamptonshire: 1881


Nice little piece of musical ephemera ...

A 'charity' concert for that eternal money-seeker ... reparing the local church roof.

Grendon, Northamptonshire ...

I guess that's 'the parish church' in the background.  Which means it is probably this one 

Bits of this go back to the 12th century, so I guess its 'the Parish Church'. Just one? I see references to St Mary's and also to All Saints ... 

This one seems to have been mended quite a bit. Anyway, in 1881, it was the roof that needed fixing. This seems to have been the festivity surrounding the occasion ..

The concert doesn't seem to have got a mention, although a couple of the participants are listed as Notable Attendees.

The Irish-born Rev Arthur Henry Cole Hamilton (with or without his hyphen) (b Ireland 17 April 1846; d Castle Ashby 15 December 1886), Rector of Castle Ashby, was an enthusiastic amateur baritone who appeared in concerts charity, church or other frequently round the county. 

Mr A J James, ?wife and ?son F ... well Mr F is in the concert, along with Miss E D James ...

Among the other participants I spot Mr Charles Edmund Thorpe from Uppingham (b 30 April 1856; d Northampton 1 March 1936), another busy baritone. Mr Thorpe was an auctioneer, and a decidedly successful one.

The Misses Terry and their brother were among the children of Northampton solicitor and county coroner, William Terry (16 June 1903).  William Edward (b 24 June 1862; d 6 January 1929), who played the 'cello became a clergyman; Florence Louie (b 8 November 1863; d 1 January 1927) played the violin, and Mary Katherine (b 16 December 1865; d 8 October 1949) the piano. Kate became Mrs Herbert Fortescue Fryer, wife of a Chatteris farmer. Florence stayed a maiden lady.

Alas, 'Miss Adam' I cannot trace, yet. Nor 'Mr Lawrence' (who had the temerity to essay Edward Lloyd's tenor piece from Sullivan's new Martyr of Antioch) nor 'Mrs Hall'.  

Ah! I do see 'Mr Lawrence tenor' at Higham Ferrers in 1878, 'much admired' for his 'Every Valley'. There's a Miss James of Wellingborough on soprano ...  and there is Mr Lawrence singing 'Love sounds the alarm' and 'Goodbye, Sweetheart' at Rushden (1879), and, good heavens, the Rossini Stabat Mater at Kettering (1880) ... and here is Miss James, again ..

and, blow me down, here he is singing in my once-home-village of Rothwell!  So is he the Mr C Lawrence of Kettering? Yes! Here he is at Higham Ferrers again in Gaul's The Holy City (1884). And in Kettering 'a well-known local tenor'. 'The old favourite'. 1891: 'Come into the Garden, Maude' .. 1904 'conductor of the Kettering choir' ... Mr Charles Lawrence. Mr Charles Lawrence, sometime worker in the local footwear industry, born Higham Ferrers c1846, 61 Lower Street, Kettering: wife and 8 children. Died 1910. Guess that's he! 

So let's pop down to Wellingborough and see if we can dig up Miss James. Yes, there she is in 1874 singing 'Bid me discourse' at the Board School. So is she the Miss [Edith] James headmistress of the Park Street Infant School? A 'Miss James' is ubiquitous around the Wellingborough concerts in the later 70s .. and there she is singing 'When the heart is young'. Dudley Buck seems to have been very popular in Northants! A Miss James is taking a sol-fa class at the Congregational Church ..  a Miss James singing 'Let the bright seraphim' and 'With verdure clad' with a taste and confidence rarely attained by an amateur'. A Miss James, leader of the Congregational Church Choir ... Soprano in The Messiah and Christ and his Soldiers and Daniel ...  Oh. Miss James the schoolmistress resigns. But Miss James the soprano is still around! Ah! Higham Ferrers 'Miss James of London'! So are the soprano and the schoolmistress [Edith] the same? ' Miss James who was formerly a resident in Wellingborough now devotes her entire energies to music and is now a medallist of the RAM'.  Miss K[ate] A[melia] James! So not Miss E D James. And who is Mr F? Oh dear, I've taken a wrong turning. Too many Miss James.

Mrs Hall? At Rushden ('The Children's Queen') and Weedon in 1883 -- Mrs J[ohn] S[later] Hall -- , Wellingborough in 1883 singing 'Golden Love' and 'Tit for tat'... Weedon in 1886 .. is she Mrs Hall the vicar's wife from Wilby, formerly (he) of Draugton? St Luke's, Wellingborough ('Love's old sweet song' etc), 1888 leading selections from The Mikado at Cogenhoe and at Wellingborough with Florence Terry .. who is Mrs Hall of Moulton? The Rev J S Hall wed Isabel daughter of Rev H Dale rector of Wilby ..  She was 30 years his junior, born Stoke, Notts ... He sold up the family estate and they removed to Devon around 1890, and Mrs Hall disappears from concert programmes. Well, maybe I've done the Miss James thing again, but I suspect I'm right! 

Miss Adam?  I leave her to you.

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