Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/King, Charles (1687-1748)

KING, CHARLES (1687–1748), musical composer, the son of Charles and Mary King, was born at Bury St. Edmunds in 1687, and was baptised in St. Mary's Church in that town 5 June 1693. He became a chorister of St. Paul's Cathedral, under Dr. Blow and Jeremiah Clark, and was subsequently appointed supernumerary singer in the same choir at an annual salary of 14l. On 12 July 1707 he proceeded to the degree of Mus. Bac. at Oxford, and in the same year married Clark's sister. At Clark's death (1 Dec. 1707) King received the appointments of almoner and ‘master of the children’ of St. Paul's, and in 1708 was elected, in addition, to the post of organist of St. Benet Finck, Royal Exchange. In 1730 he was nominated a vicar-choral of St. Paul's, and held that office with his organistship until his death on 17 March 1748.

King composed a large number of anthems and church services—a fact which gave rise to Maurice Greene's remark that ‘Mr. King was a very serviceable man.’ The titles of his best-known works are: 1. Anthems—‘Rejoice in the Lord,’ ‘Hear, O Lord,’ ‘O pray for the peace of Jerusalem,’ ‘Wherewithal shall a young man.’ 2. Services in F, C, B flat, and D, which are still occasionally performed. Four of his anthems are to be found in Page's ‘Harmonia Sacra,’ and two in Stevens's ‘Sacred Music.’ Other of his compositions are included in Arnold's ‘Cathedral Music,’ and the Tudway Collection (Harl. MSS. 7341–2). Some services and anthems by King were published separately in 1859 and 1866. Hawkins remarks that ‘King's inferiority was due rather to indolence than want of ability.’

[Georgian Era, iv. 512; Dict. of Mus. 1824; Grove's Dict.; parish registers.]

R. H. L.