Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ebdon, Thomas

EBDON, THOMAS (1738–1811), organist and musical composer, was born at Durham in 1738. His name and the date 1755 are found carved on an oak screen in the cathedral, and it is inferred from this that he was a chorister there, and afterwards an articled pupil of James Heseltine, the organist, whom he succeeded in 1763. Heseltine had been appointed in 1710, and as Ebdon lived until 1811, the post of cathedral organist was held by two men for a period of 101 years. Ebdon died at South Bailey, Durham, 23 Sept. 1811, and was buried in St. Oswald's churchyard. An anthem, taken from Psalm xvi. 9–11, was sung at his funeral. It does not appear whether it was his own composition or not, as it is not among his published works; it may well have been by him, however, and is possibly one of the anthems left by him in manuscript. Of the music published in his lifetime, his ‘Morning, Communion, and Evening Service in C,’ which, together with five anthems and some responses and chants, makes up the volume of sacred music issued about 1790, is still occasionally heard. Another volume of sacred music was published in 1810, containing sixteen anthems, two Kyries, and six double chants. Two harpsichord sonatas, six glees for three voices, published about 1780, ‘The Scotch Shepherd,’ a song, and a march for the installation of W. H. Lambton as grand provincial master of Freemasons for the county of Durham, published in score, complete the list of his works.

[Compositions, as above; Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 27691; Gent. Mag. lxxxi. pt. ii. p. 591; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 479; Brown's Biog. Dict. of Musicians.]

J. A. F. M.