Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/356

This page has been validated.
 

cession of Charles I he received the appointment of one of the organists of the Chapel Royal appears to be without foundation, as the Cheque Book contains no mention of such an appointment. He applied in 1607 for the degree of Mus.D., but, ‘for some unknown reason’ (Hawkins), declined to perform his exercise, and the degree was not conferred upon him until 5 July 1622, when it was proposed that he should dispute with William Heyther on three questions concerning music. The fact that the dispute did not take place may be perhaps explained by Heyther's insufficient knowledge of music, for it is beyond question that his exercise had to be written for him by his friend Orlando Gibbons [q. v.] It was certainly due to no lack of learning on Giles's part, for his ‘Lesson of Descant of thirtie-eighte Proportions of sundrie kindes’ on the plain-song ‘Miserere’ (quoted by Hawkins) is a monument of erudition, and is no doubt the cause of Burney's attack on him as a pedant and nothing else. Two inscriptions at Windsor show that he died on 24 Jan. and was buried 2 Feb. 1633–4. The longer of these gives various erroneous statements concerning the tenure of his offices; it also states that his wife was Anne, eldest daughter of John Stayner of Worcestershire.

Though few in number Giles's compositions seem to have enjoyed a wide popularity. His service in C and his five-part anthem ‘O give thanks unto the Lord’ were printed in Barnard's collection, and are found in many of the manuscript collections of church music. Blow's manuscript in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge gives a ‘new service’ (evening only) in ‘A re,’ and a verse anthem ‘I will magnify,’ besides the two more familiar works, and in the Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 29372 there is a five-part madrigal, ‘Cease now vain thoughts.’ Giles was noted for his religious life and conversation. A son of his, of the same name, was canon of Windsor and prebendary of Worcester.

[Grove's Dict. i. 595; Bloxam's Registers of Magdalen College, i. 15, &c.; Hawkins's History, ed. 1853, pp. 573, 574, 961; Burney's History, iii. 324; Wood's Fasti, vol. ii. col. 405; Catal. Fitzwilliam Museum; Old Cheque Book, Chapel Royal.]

J. A. F. M.

GILFILLAN, GEORGE (1813–1878), miscellaneous writer, was born on 30 Jan. 1813, in the village of Comrie, Perthshire, where his father, the Rev. Samuel Gilfillan (1762–1826) [q. v.], was minister of the secession congregation. His mother, Rachel Barlas, ‘the star of the north,’ was daughter of the Crieff secession minister. Of twelve children George was the eleventh. When thirteen years old his father died, and he entered Glasgow College, where he became a class-fellow of Archibald Campbell Tait, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. John Eadie, and Dr. Hanna. He profited by the teaching of Sir Daniel Sandford, Robert Buchanan, and James Milne. He went to Edinburgh, and received warm encouragement from the professor of moral philosophy, John Wilson, better known as ‘Christopher North.’ Among his intimate friends, for life, were Thomas Aird [q. v.], Thomas de Quincey, and Thomas Carlyle, each of whom powerfully influenced him, but the last least. When twenty-two years of age, in 1835, he was licensed by the united presbytery of Edinburgh. He declined an invitation from his father's congregation at Comrie, and settled in March 1836 at Dundee in the School-Wynd Church, where he remained till his death.

In 1844 Gilfillan contributed gratuitously to the ‘Dumfries Herald,’ of which his friend Aird was editor, a brilliant series of literary estimates of living writers. These papers he republished under the title ‘A Gallery of Literary Portraits,’ Edinburgh, 1845, with eleven poor lithographic portraits by Friedrich Schenck. The book was instantly popular. Thenceforward literature claimed a large part of Gilfillan's time. During the following thirty years he published a hundred volumes or pamphlets, besides innumerable contributions to newspapers and magazines. But he never neglected his ministerial duties. His congregation increased. He worked hard for the cause of voluntaryism, although maintaining private friendship with episcopalians and state presbyterians; and was always zealous in the cause of liberal and progressive thought. In 1843 he published a sermon entitled ‘Hades; or the Unseen,’ which reached three editions. It was attacked by Dr. Eadie in the ‘United Secession Magazine,’ May 1843, by the Rev. Alexander Balfour, and others. The Dundee presbytery examined it on 25 July 1843, and decided the matter in Gilfillan's favour. In September 1869 he wrote a letter to the Edinburgh ‘Scotsman,’ declaring that ‘the standards of the church contained much dubious matter and a good deal that is false and mischievous.’ In February 1870 this declaration was brought by the Edinburgh presbytery before the Dundee presbytery, who again found there was no cause for further procedure. In 1847 he opposed the ultra-sabbatarianism of those who strove to stop all Sunday travelling or ‘Sunday walks.’ Gilfillan persistently opposed the project of union between the united presbyterians, to which body he belonged, and the free kirk that had seceded.