Bates, Sarah (DNB00)

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BATES, SARAH (d. 1811), wife of Joah Bates [see Bates, Joah, 1741–1799], was born in an obscure place in Lancashire, of humble parents named Harrop. She was educated in Halifax, the birthplace of her husband, and worked for some time in a factory in that town. On one occasion she sang in public there, and was heard by Dr. Howard, of Leicester, who prophesied that ‘she would one day throw all the English, nay even the Italian, female singers far behind her.’ While she resumed her ordinary occupations, Dr. Howard sounded her praises in London, until at last the Sandwich Catch Club deputed him to bring her to London, where she met with very great success. Here she studied Italian music under Sacchini, and the compositions of Handel and the older masters under her future husband. She was a successful concert singer, both before and after her marriage with Joah Bates, which took place in 1780. Her chief success was made in sacred music, which she delivered with much impressiveness. Among her secular songs the most famous was Purcell's ‘Mad Bess.’ She is said to have brought her husband 6,000l. or 7,000l. as a marriage portion, the tangible results of her popularity as an artist. Her success, it is said, gave a great impetus to the cultivation of music among the factory girls in the north of England. Mrs. Bates died at Foley Place on 11 Dec. 1811.

[Authorities as given under BATES, JOAH; Dibdin's Musical Tour; Cambridge Chronicle for 6 Oct. 1781; Gent. Mag. vol. lxxxi. part ii. p. 597.]

J. A. F. M.