Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Isham, John

ISHAM or ISUM, JOHN (1680?–1726), composer, was born about 1680 and educated at Merton College, Oxford, whence he proceeded to London and served as deputy organist of St. Anne's, Westminster, under Dr. William Croft [q. v.] Croft resigned in Isham's favour in 1711, and in 1713 Isham went from London to Oxford to assist Croft in the performance of the exercise for his doctor's degree, being himself admitted at the same time to the degree of Mus. Bac. Appointed organist of St. Andrew's, Holborn, in April 1718, and of St. Margaret's, Westminster, in the following year, Isham held the two last-mentioned posts in conjunction until his death in June 1726, when he was buried in St. Margaret's Church. Two anthems composed by Isham, ‘Unto Thee, O Lord,’ and ‘O sing unto the Lord a new song,’ are included in Croft's ‘Divine Harmony, or a New Collection of Select Anthems’ (1712). With William Morley he published, about 1710, a collection of songs, from which Sir John Hawkins reprinted in his ‘History’ a duet by Isham, ‘Bury delights my roving eye.’ Three other songs and a catch are catalogued under the name of Isum in the British Museum Library.

[Hawkins's Hist. of Music, ii. 799; Burney, iii. 303; Chronolog. Regist. 1718, p. 17; Georgian Era, iv. 513; Hueffer's Purcell, pp. 103, 105; Add. MS. 31464; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. xii. 288.]

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