Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gunn, Barnabas

GUNN, BARNABAS (d. 1753), organist and composer, was organist at Gloucester Cathedral, 1732 to 1740; and held a like office at St. Philip's and St. Martin's churches, Birmingham, probably from 1740 until 1753; while from about 1750 until 1753 he seems to have held a similar post at Chelsea Hospital. One Barnabas Gunn died, according to the books of Chelsea Hospital, early in 1753, and a Barnabas Gunn was buried at Birmingham 11 Feb. the same year. In the following April a new organist was appointed at St. Martin's, Birmingham. A Barnabas, son of Barnabas Gunn, buried at Birmingham in 1742, was probably a son of the organist. In Grove's 'Dictionary' two organists, named respectively Barnabas and Barnaby Gunn, appear, but there seems little doubt that these names are merely variations of the name of one person.

Gunn was a subscriber to Galliard's ‘Hymn of Adam and Eve,’ 1728. He published at Gloucester, 1736, a thin quarto volume, ‘Two Cantatas and Six Songs,’ prefaced by a poetical address, ‘to all lovers of musick,’ and a list of 464 subscribers, including the name of Handel and other musicians, and members of the choirs of Gloucester and Worcester. At Birmingham, in 1745, he brought out ‘Six Solos for Violin and Violoncello,’ and the musical setting of a hymn by Dr. Watts. In London he published ‘Six Setts of Lessons for the Harpsichord,’ and ‘Twelve English Songs, Serious and Humourous,’ written in a less pedantic vein than his instrumental music.

[Information kindly given by Dr. C. Lee Williams, Gloucester, the Rev. H. B. Bowlby, Birmingham, and the secretary to Chelsea Hospital; Bunce's Hist. of Old St. Martin's; Rimbault's notes to Lysons's Meetings of the Three Choirs, p. 37; British Museum Music Library; P. C. C. Admon. Act Book, 1753; Groves Dict. i. 611.]

L. M. M.