Hogarth: Chorus of Singers


Immanuel's Ground
Oxford Psalmody
Babylon Lane
The Belcher Supply Co.
Man who Planted Trees
Photo Galleries
Edwin's family history
Great Warley Church
James Heseltine
John Postle Heseltine
Peter Warlock
Other Heseltines
Heseltine Family
Great Warley Church
- Pictures
- Gallery Music

Great Warley Church, Essex - Gallery Music associated with the church and village

horizontal rule

NB This is a short preliminary introduction only - a longer version is in preparation

West Gallery Music associated with Great Warley

John Arnold (c. 1720-1792) is generally recognised as 'coming from' Great Warley, but exactly in what context is unknown. In 1740 he published his Compleat Psalmodist, and, in common with many itinerant singing masters and publisher-composers of the time, acknowledged that in addition to forty-two "of his own composing", he included four tunes by 'Mr. Philemon Chalk, one of the [singing] society of Great-Warley'; one by 'Samuel Laisel, of great Warley'; and one by 'John Harwood, leader of the tenor[s], of Great-Warley'.[xiii] It would appear , therefore, that there was a flourishing band of singers (and possibly, later in time, instrumentalists) who made up not only a singing society, but presumably also the village choir of the time. One assumes that Arnold was probably their choir master and leader, although as a psalmodist he would almost certainly also be travelling about from church to church teaching people to sing and selling his books of psalmody.


Arnold was a good observer of current practice, and recorded what he saw and compared this with what had been:

    'In the churches of London and Westminster, which abound chiefly with large congregations, it is customary for the people, who chiefly sing by ear, to follow the organ, in those churches that are furnished with that most excellent instrument; but in churches where there is no organ, they generally follow the clerk, who sings the melody of the tune . . .


    'In most country churches the psalms used to be sung formerly much after the same manner as is now used in the churches in London etc., . . . till about half a century ago, when several books of psalmody were printed and published, containing some very good psalm tunes and anthems in four parts; of which the people in the country soon became particularly fond, so that in a few years almost every country church had one belonging to it; which, in some places had the distinction of the choir of singers, in others the society of singers; and, in very remote places where they were not so polite, they had the appellation of the singers only, being, for the most part, placed in a gallery or singing pew, erected for that purpose.'

Arnold saw the change in the country churches as being greater than in the towns, and in one sense it was, because it involved the introduction of completely new kinds of music. In town churches the same old psalm tunes continued to be sung, though the introduction of an organ would obviously have an immediate and drastic impact on the effect of the music, setting a new professional standard.[xiv]

Arnold, John (c. 1720-92)

Psalmodist of Great Warley, Essex; published music for Leicestershire too

The compleat psalmodist
1741 (P117); 1 new FT
1750 2nd edn; (P117.2); 3 FTs
1753 3rd edn; 3 FTs
1756 4th edn; 3 FTs
1761 5th edn; (P117.5); 3 FTs, 1 joint
1769 6th edn; 3 FTs
1779 7th edn; (P117.7); 4 FTs

The psalmist's recreation 1757 (P163); 1 new FT

The Leicestershire Harmony
1759 (P169); 23 new FTs; copy at Leicestershire Record Office
1767 2nd edn (P169.2); 25 FTs, 2 new; copy at Leicestershire Record Office

Church music reformed 1765 (P190)

A supplement to the complete psalmodist [1777] (P233; sequel to The compleat psalmodist; but see date of 7th edn); 1 new FT

horizontal rule

[xii] Ibid.  From the Notes and Illustrations by A W Wellings, ARCA, in the same Guide.

[xiii] Nicholas Temperley: The Music of the English Parish Church, Vol.1. Cambridge University Press, 1979. Page 178.

[xiv] Ibid. page 97-98.

horizontal rule