Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Alcock, John (1715-1806)

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John Alcock (1740-1791) is also covered in this article.

ALCOCK, or ALLCOCK, JOHN (1715–1806), doctor of music, who himself wrote his name variously as ‘Alcock’ and ‘Allcock,’ was born near St. Paul's Cathedral on 11 April 1715. He was educated in the cathedral choir under Charles King, and at fourteen was a pupil of the blind organist, John Stanley. He was appointed organist of St. Andrew's, Plymouth, in 1737, and was married in the following year. In January 1742 he became organist of St. Lawrence's, Reading, where he remained until 1749, when he was appointed organist, vicar choral, and master of the choristers at Lichfield Cathedral. In 1755 he look the degree of Mus. Bac. at Oxford, and that of Mus. Doc. in 1761 or 1765. He resigned the posts of organist and master of the choristers at Lichfield in 1760, and in the following year became organist at Sutton Coldfield parish church, an appointment that he held until 1786. Alock was also (from 16 May 1766 to 25 March 1790) organist of the parish church of Tamworth. In 1770, 1771, and 1772, he won the Catch Club prizes for glees and canons. His wife, by whom he had a son and three daughters, died in 1793. He died at the Close, Lichfield, in February 1806, and was buried in the cathedral. Dr. Alcock's compositions include songs, solos for the flute, harpsichord, and organ; services, anthems, glees, canons, and a setting of Psalm li. in Latin. He was a thoroughly sound musician, and throughout the course of his long life preserved the traditions of the old English school of church composers, free from the inanities in which some of his contemporaries indulged. His son, John Alcock, jun. (1740?–1791), born about 1740, was organist of St. Mary Magdalen's, Newark-on-Trent, from 1758 to 1768. In 1766 he took the degree of Mus. Bac. at Oxford, and was organist of the parish church of Walsall from 1773 until his death, which took place 30 March 1791. Between 1770 and 1780 he published several songs, anthems, lessons for the harpsichord, and sonatas for strings. He is often confounded with William Alcock, a contemporary organist at Newcastle.

[Grove's Dictionary, i. 51a; Gent. Mag. 1791 and 1806; Appendix to Bemrose's Choir Chant Book (1882), p. ii; Georgian Era (1834), iv. 516; Brit. Mus. Catalogue; Add. MSS. 29379, and 23624; Catalogue of Music School Collection, Oxford; information from Mr. Charles Edward Stephens.]

W. B. S.