(bap. London, 15 Nov 1713; d London, 1753). Organist and composer. He was the eldest son of John Worgan and his wife Mary (née Lambert), who were married at Gray's Inn Chapel, London, on 4 September 1711; the registers of St Botolph Bishopsgate identify nine children. On the death of his father (bur. ?6 October 1728) James assumed the responsibility of bringing up the family. He taught music and on 22 December 1738 was elected organist at both St Botolph Aldgate and St Dunstan-in-the-East. He has been cited as the first organist at Vauxhall Gardens, but there is conflicting evidence: Charles Burney asserted that Thomas Gladwin was the first organist, from about 1737–8, when the organ was installed, to about 1745, when Worgan was appointed. There is also confusion about much of the music published in the first half of the 18th century by James and his brother (3) John Worgan, since only the initial ‘J.’ appears on many printed editions. It is now thought that many of the songs formerly attributed to John were by James. Most of James Worgan's songs composed after 1745 were performed at Vauxhall; they appeared in three collections and some were issued as single copies. The heading of the final song in the 1745 collection (The meads and the groves in fresh verdure shone gay) includes the words ‘to an Air in an Organ Concerto for Vauxhall Gardens’, and is the only extant part of a concerto by him. Two dialogues (written for Mrs Cecilia Arne and Thomas Lowe) were probably used as finales in the Vauxhall concerts.
Some of his siblings were also musicians, including (2) Mary Worgan; Charles Worgan (bap. 14 Feb 1726), who, according to Sainsbury (Dictionary, ii, p.546), settled in Jamaica and became an organist at Port Royal; and (3) John Worgan.
all printed works published in London
Song collections: Three New English Cantatas, 1v, vn, vc, hpd (1739); An English Cantata … and Three English Songs (1745); A Collection of Songs and Ballads (1749), US-Wc; The Agreeable Choice (1751)
Other songs, dialogues: Aminta's Farewell (?1745); Blest as the immortal gods is he (A. Phillips, after Sappho) (?1745); The Thief (The Fair Thief) (c1745); Jockey and Jenny, dialogue, London, Vauxhall Gardens (c1747); The Shepherd's Wedding, dialogue, London, Vauxhall Gardens (1747); Sappho's Hymn to Venus, 1v, str, bc (c1749)
(2) Mary Worgan
(bap. London, 23 April 1717; d after 1768). Organist and composer, sister of (1) James Worgan (i). She succeeded James as organist at St Dunstan-in-the-East, being elected on 11 May 1753. Eight days later she married Liell Gregg, a tradesman, at St Dunstan-in-the-East and they moved to Betchworth in Surrey. Three songs by her are known, all composed about the middle of the century: The Dying Nightingale, The Power of Gold and The Constant Lover. Though short, they are attractive and well constructed.
(3) John Worgan
(bap. London, 2 Nov 1724; d London, 24 Aug 1790). Organist and composer, brother of (1) James Worgan (i). He was first taught music by his brother and later studied with Thomas Roseingrave and Francesco Geminiani. He made a special study of the works of Palestrina and Handel. He took the MusB at Cambridge in 1748 and became organist at St Mary Axe with St Andrew Undershaft in London the following year. He succeeded his brother as organist at Vauxhall Gardens in 1751 and at St Botolph Aldgate on 11 May 1753; he was elected organist of St John's Chapel, Bedford Row, on 18 June 1760. He married Sarah Mackelcan, a pupil of his brother, on 1 September 1753 and they lived at 7 Milman Street, Bedford Row (Mortimer's London Directory of 1763 is inaccurate in giving Worgan's address as St John's Square, Clerkenwell). Nine children were born there between 1754 and 1768. John divorced Sarah for adultery in June 1768 and a few years later married Eleanor (d 1777), with whom he had two children, (6) Thomas Danvers and Michael (bur. 17 Nov 1775). On 12 June 1779 he married Martha Cooke (d 11 May 1812). He died at 22 (now 65) Gower Street. A memorial brass in St Andrew Undershaft was unveiled on 13 October 1906 (a Voluntary by Worgan, arranged by C.W. Pearce, was played during the ceremony).
Roseingrave had imbued John Worgan with a love of the music of Domenico Scarlatti and in 1752 Worgan obtained a licence, lasting 14 years, allowing him sole printing rights of several of Scarlatti's new sonatas; a second licence was issued in 1771. On 15 April 1761 Worgan conducted a benefit concert for Elisabetta de Gambarini at the Great Concert Room, Dean Street, that included Geminiani's The Inchanted Forrest. His appointment at Vauxhall lasted until the end of the 1761 season and he returned in 1770, remaining until the end of the 1773 season. During this time he published 14 collections of ‘Vauxhall Songs’ and numerous song sheets, most of a rather inferior quality. His oratorio Hannah was given its first performance at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, on 3 April 1764 and a second oratorio, Manasseh (now lost), was performed at the chapel of the Lock Hospital on 30 April 1766.
Contemporary accounts attest the brilliance of Worgan's performances and improvisations on the organ and harpsichord, and he was in demand to give the opening performance on new organs, including those at St Mary's, Rotherhithe (29 September 1765), St Martin Ludgate (26 January 1766) and the chapel of the Asylum for Female Orphans (25 November 1766). He contributed to at least three books of psalms and hymns for the Asylum. After gaining the MusD from Cambridge in 1775, he virtually retired from public life, apart from his duties as an organist.
Worgan's music was thought by many to be old-fashioned (his sons, particularly (6) Thomas Danvers, resented the lack of acclaim afforded to their father). He continued to teach; two of his pupils were Samuel Jarvis and Charles Wesley. A few years before his death he attempted to institute a series of concerts spirituelsat his home, but these proved unsuccessful. Apart from the Vauxhall songs, little of Worgan's music was published and most of the manuscripts are lost. Some indication of the scope of his output can be gained from (6) Thomas Danvers Worgan's The Musical Reformer (p.64), where he cites ‘Oratorios, Anthems, Organ Concertos, and Voluntaries, Vocal Harmony, Sonatas’, and from the anonymous article in the Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review of 1823 (although some of the works listed there are by (1) James Worgan (i)). Vauxhall programmes for 1786 and 1787 identify some orchestral works; they may, however, have been in the Vauxhall repertory for some years and cannot be accurately dated from these performances. Much of Worgan's music presents a somewhat learned style and looks backwards to the Baroque; the organ pieces selected and published posthumously by his son (5) James Worgan (ii) capture the typical 18th-century character of English voluntaries, with echo effects and ‘trumpet tune’ melodic lines. A treatise on composition was left unfinished at his death.
Of his eight sons, three were active in music: (4) Richard Worgan, (5) James Worgan (ii) and (6) Thomas Danvers Worgan; his second son, George Bouchir (or Bouchier) Worgan (1757–1838), became a ship's surgeon and in 1786 visited Australia, taking with him his piano, the first to be landed in New South Wales.
all printed works published in London
Hannah (orat, C. Smart), London, King's, Haymarket, 3 April 1764, as op.1 (1764)
Anthems: We will rejoice in thy salvation (New Anthem compos'd for a General Thanksgiving) (1759); Lord, thou hast been our refuge, 1782, GB-Lbl*; It is good to give thanks, The Lord is my shepherd, We will rejoice, cited by Foster
Hymns, in W. Riley, ed.: Psalms and Hymns for … the Asylum … for Female Orphans (1767–9)
London, Vauxhall Gardens
The Royal Voyage (High on the bounding bark) (J. Marriott), serenata, GB-Lbl, Lcm, also Lbl Add.31693, ff.1–68 as ode
A Solemn Dirge on the Death of the Prince of Wales (C. Smart), LVG, 17 April 1751, lost, text in Lbl (Burns Collection)
Occasional Ode on His Majesty's Return to his British Dominions, LVG, 17 Sept 1755, lost, text in Read's Weekly Journal (20 Sept 1755)
This is pleasure's golden reign, S, S, T, 2 ob, 2 tpt, 2 hn, str, timp, bc, LVG, 1755 (1755)
Hark! the loud drum (Great Britain for Ever) (Lockman), song … to a march, hautboys, tpts, bns, drums (1759)
Trumpets wake! (Ode for His Majesty's Birthday), 1v, chorus, insts, LVG, 4 June 1761 (1761)
Hence with all this melancholy, qt/choral song, LVG, 1772, lost, text in Public Advertiser (10 July 1772)
Cants.: The Court of Comus, London, CG, 5 April 1753, lost; The Nun and Frier (E. Moore) (c1757); Gentle heart give over sighing, LVG, 1761 (1761); Who is this that strikes my wond'ring eye?, LVG, 1770 (1770)
Dialogues: Dear Phillis, LVG, 1753 (1753); Yes Damon I can approve, LVG, 1754 (1754); Corydon and Phoebe, LVG, 1755 (1755); Delia leave the shade, LVG, 1757 (1757); Tell me Amyntor, LVG, 1759 (1759); This way pretty maid, LVG, 1760 (1760)
Canzonettas: 6 Canzonets … for Dilettanti, 2, 3vv, bc (1789)
14 vols. of Vauxhall songs (1751–71)
Other works: 3 pieces (nos.2, 3, 9) in Del canzoniere d'Orazio di Giovan Gualberto Bottarelli, Ode xii (1757); pieces in E.T. Warren's collections of catches, canons and glees (1763–94) and his Collection of Vocal Harmony (c1775); numerous songs pubd singly and in 18th-century anthologies, others in Lbl, Ob
Symphony, ?D, LVG, 26 June 1786, lost, ?cited in Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, v (1823)
Symphony and March, LVG, 28 May 1787, lost [? sym. = same as above]
2 concs.: tpt, LVG, 28 July 1786, lost; hn, LVG, 10 July 1787, lost [? = hn work perf. LVG, 19 July 1786]
Hpd: 6 sonatas, G, C, F, B, E, D (1769);  Pieces … for Forming the Hands of Young Pupils (c1780); A New Concerto, [G], hpd, 2 vn, vc (1785)
Org:  Organ Pieces, A, F, F, B, g (c1795); Select Organ Pieces, 3 vols., compiled by (5) James Worgan (ii) (c1795), 1 Voluntary, G, ed. C.W. Pearce (1906)
Edns: D. Scarlatti: Libro de XII sonatas modernas, [i] (1752), ii (1771)
(4) Richard Worgan
(bap. London, 1 Oct 1759; d after 1812). Composer, son of (3) John Worgan. In a letter to Arthur Young, dated 2 August 1807, he described his work as ‘the study of Divinity Physic & farming’ and his recreation as ‘Music’. He composed A Set of Sonnets (London, 1810), and one of his hymns, ‘Windermere’, was included in (7) George Worgan's collection Gems of Sacred Melody (London, 1841).
(5) James Worgan (ii)
(bap. London, 27 Nov 1762; d after 1801). Composer, son of (3) John Worgan. He published several vocal works, including the pastorale Emma (text by L. Coles; 1800); Port and Sherry, for soloist and four-part chorus (c1797); the songs Soft Downy Sleep (c1797) and Absence (1800); and a duet with flutes, horns, bassoons and piano, Bright Phoebus (1797). His published instrumental works include A Favorite Carillon Sonata for harp or piano with two flutes, op.1 (c1795), and several marches: The Royalist's New March (in D) for piano with violins or flutes (1794; manuscript versions in B exist in GB-Lbl and Lcm for clarinets, horns and bassoon); one in B for a keyboard instrument (1801); and two for band with piano, one in B ‘for the Loyal Essex Regiment’ (1801), the other (in C) A Celebrated French March with piano variations (1802).
Hark! the drum and a glee with full chorus, both performed at a benefit concert for the singer Isabella Mattocks (née Hallam) at Covent Garden on 7 May 1794, are now lost. Worgan also compiled three volumes of organ music by his father (c1795).
(6) Thomas Danvers Worgan
(bap. London, 27 March 1773; d Croydon, 1832). Composer and writer on music, son of (3) John Worgan. He called himself ‘Professor of Music’ and taught and lectured in London in addition to composing music and writing essays. His three collections Vocal Sonatinas forming a Coalition of Vocal and Instrumental Harmony (1816–20) include arrangements as well as his own compositions (rounds, canons, glees etc.). He also composed a motet in ten vocal and 35 instrumental parts, The Heroes' Welcome (1824), and published Rouge et noire de musique, or Harmonic Pastimes, described as ‘Games of Cards constructed on the Principles of Music’ (1807). He published three collections of ‘Essays in Poetry and Music’, as Monthly Minstrelsy (1807) and The Composer or Contrapuntist, with Explanatory Notes (1826). A further collection of essays, The Musical Reformer (1829), included a list of his own works (published and unpublished) and some of his father's. (All of his printed works were published in London.)
(7) George Worgan
(b Chipping Campden, Glos., 1802; bap. 18 Jan 1803; d Wellington, NZ, 2 April 1888). Composer and teacher, grandson of (3) John Worgan; his parents, Joseph and Jemima Worgan, were married at Oxford on 4 January 1792. He was taught the piano by J.B. Cramer and after settling in London gave piano lessons to members of fashionable society, including the daughters of Clementi. In 1841 he compiled and published Gems of Sacred Melody, a Choice Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, Chants etc., which contained hymns by various composers, including himself, his uncle (4) Richard Worgan and his grandfather (3) John Worgan. At this time, he lived in Camden Town and was organist at Camden Chapel. About 1850 he retired and went to New Zealand where, after his attempt at sheep farming failed, he continued to teach music.