Gates, Bernard (DNB00)

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GATES, BERNARD (1685?–1773), musician, was the second son of Bernard Gates, gentleman, of St. Margaret's, Westminster, whose will was proved on 21 May 1718. His name appears in the list of children of the Chapel Royal in 1702. At the end of 1708 (after 1 Oct.) he was sworn a gentleman of the Chapel Royal in the place of J. Howell, who died on 15 July in that year. He held the sinecure office of tuner of the regals at court, and was a member of the choir of Westminster Abbey. He married before 1717, since on 6 June of that year his eldest child, a daughter named Atkinson, was buried in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey. This unusual christian name, which was borne by another daughter of Gates (buried 1736), was derived from a Mrs. Atkinson, who had been laundress to Queen Anne, and who had brought up Mrs. Gates, and made her her heiress. At some time before 1732 Gates was made master of the children of the Chapel Royal (the date given in Grove's ‘Dict.’ for this appointment is manifestly too late). On 23 Feb. 1732 Handel's ‘Esther’ was performed at Gates's house in James Street, Westminster, by the children of the chapel. The same singers sang the work at a subscription concert at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, and again at the room in Villiers Street, York Buildings. In 1734 Gates seceded from the Academy of Vocal Music, taking the children of the chapel with him. He had been a prominent member of the society from its inauguration. Gates sang one of the airs in the first performance of the ‘Dettingen Te Deum’ in 1743. In 1737 (10 March) Mrs. Gates died, and in 1758 Gates moved to North Aston, Oxfordshire. He died there on 15 Nov. 1773, and was buried in the north cloister of Westminster Abbey on the 23rd of the month. The inscription on his monument, which is the authority for many particulars as to his family, &c., gives his age as eighty-eight. His will, dated 5 Oct. 1772, was proved on 28 Nov. 1773. Failing the issue of a nephew, Bernard Downes, to whom the estate at North Aston was left, he bequeathed his property to Dr. Thomas Sanders Dupuis [q. v.], who had been his pupil, with a further remainder to Dr. Arnold. He directed that his chaise horse should be kept on his estate at Aston without working, that it should never be killed, and that when it died naturally it should be buried without mutilation of any kind. Hawkins says that in his singing there was such an exaggeration of the shake as to destroy the melody altogether, and that the boys of the chapel had adopted the same habit. He also says that Gates introduced into the chapel the system, then lately revived by Pepusch, of solmisation by the hexachords. A tablet to his memory was put up in the church of North Aston, at the expense of his pupil, Dr. Dupuis.

[Grove's Dict. i. 10, 587; Chester's Westminster Abbey Registers; Chapel Royal Cheque Book, ed. Rimbault; Add. MS. 11732; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iv. 204; Hawkins's Hist. ed. 1853, pp. 735, 832, 885; Burney's Hist. iv. 360, where the date of the first performance of Esther is given as 1731. It is pointed out in W. S. Rockstro's Life of Handel that the mistake arose from a confusion between the old and new styles.]

J. A. F. M.