Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Longhurst, William Henry

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LONGHURST, WILLIAM HENRY (1819–1904), organist and composer, son of James Longhurst, organ-builder, was born at Lambeth on 6 Oct. 1819. In 1821 his father started business in Canterbury, and Longhurst began his seventy years' service for the cathedral there when he was admitted a chorister in January 1828. He had lessons from the cathedral organist, Highmore Skeats, and afterwards from Skeats's successor, Thomas Evance Jones. In 1836 he was appointed under-master of the choristers, assistant-organist, and lay clerk. He was the thirteenth successful candidate for the fellowship diploma of the College of Organists, founded in 1864. In 1873 he succeeded Jones as organist of Canterbury Cathedral, and held the post until 1898. His services were recognised by the dean and chapter in granting him, on his retirement, his full stipend, together with the use of his house in the Precincts. The degree of Mus. Doc. was conferred on him by the archbishop of Canterbury in 1875. He died at Harbledown, Canterbury, on 17 June 1904.

As a composer Longhurst devoted himself chiefly to church music. His published works include twenty-eight short anthems in three books, and many separate anthems; a morning and evening service in E; a cantata for female voices, 'The Village Fair'; an 'Andante and Tarantella' for violin and piano; many hymn tunes, chants, songs, and short services. An oratorio, 'David and Absalom,' and other works remain in MS.

[Musical Age, Aug. 1904 (with portrait); Grove's Dict. of Music; Brit. Musical Biog.; Musical Times, June 1906.]

J. C. H.