Church, John (DNB00)

CHURCH, JOHN (1675?–1741), musician, is said to have been born at Windsor in 1675, and educated as a chorister at New College, Oxford. On 31 Jan. 1696-7 he was admitted as an extraordinary gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and on 20 July following he was sworn into the full place of a gentleman of the chapel, rendered vacant by the death of James Cobb. In 1712 a collection of the words of anthems used at the Chapel Royal was published under the direction of Dr. Dolben, the sub-dean. The compilation of this work has been ascribed by Dr. Rimbault on deficient authority to Church, but it was more probably the work of Dr. William Croft [q. v.] In 1723 Church published an 'Introduction to Psalmody,' which has now become rare. About the beginning of the century Church became lay vicar and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey, and so late as 1740 (if an entry in the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’ for 1741 is to be relied on) he became a vicar choral of St. Paul’s. He died 6 Jan. 1740-1, and was buried (10 Jan.) in the south cloister of Westminster Abbey. His wife Elizabeth and four children predeceased him. By his will (dated 3 July 1734, and proved 13 an. 1740-1) he bequeathed his entire property to be divided equally between his two surviving sons, the Rev. John Church and the Rev. Ralph Church. The former was later rector of Boxford, Suffolk, and died at Norwich 27 Oct. 1785, aged 80; the latter (who in 1738 published an edition of Spenser’s ‘Faery Queen’) was subsequently vicar of Pyrton and Shirburn in Oxfordshire, and died in April 1787, aged 79.

[Grove’s Dict. of Music, i. 356 b: Chapel Royal Cheque Book, 21, 22, 53, 89, 225; Westminster Registers, ed. Chester, 77, 78, 79, 250, 263, 273, 296, 337, 358; Gent. Mag. 1740, p. 38.]

W. B. S.