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Walmisley, Thomas Forbes

(b London, 22 May 1783; d London, 23 July 1866). English composer. He was the third son of William Walmisley, Clerk of the Papers to the House of Lords. Like his four brothers, he was a chorister at Westminster Abbey and was then sent to Westminster School. The others all obtained parliamentary clerkships, but Thomas, because of his exceptional talent, was educated for the musical profession, first under the Hon. John Spencer and then under Thomas Attwood. In 1803 he began his career as a teacher of the piano and singing, and in 1805 as a composer of vocal music. He was successively assistant organist to the Asylum for Female Orphans (1810–14) and organist of St Martin-in-the-Fields (1814–54). He was secretary of the Concentores Sodales from 1817 until its dissolution in 1847, when the society’s stock of wine was given to him. As an early member of the Philharmonic Society he proposed an Academy of Music, to be run by the society and hence by the musical profession. But his scheme was, perhaps unfortunately, overtaken by the founding of the RAM under aristocratic direction.

Walmisley was well known as a teacher, his most distinguished pupil being E.J. Hopkins, and as an organist; he also composed songs and some church music. But he is remembered chiefly as a glee writer. According to Baptie he produced 59 glees and other partsongs, four of which were awarded prizes. They are written with masterly skill and elegance, but without great individuality. Walmisley said of his From Flower to Flower: ‘Its general character is taste rather than energy, level general effect rather than force’, a remark which could apply equally to most of his other glees.

Walmisley had 12 children, of whom six sons and four daughters survived infancy. His eldest son was Thomas Attwood Walmisley; Henry (1830–57) was organist of Holy Trinity, Bessborough Gardens; Frederick (1815–75) was an artist. His great-niece, Jessie Walmisley, was the wife of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.


all printed works published in London

10 anthems, listed in Foster; 1 Morning and Evening Service (?1840)

59 glees, trios, rounds and canons, pubd separately and in Six Glees, sets i–iii (1814–30), A Collection of Glees, Trios, Rounds and Canons (1826) and Three Canons (1840)

3 duets, 13 songs, pubd separately (1814–40), listed in SainsburyD and Grove 1–5

Sacred Songs (E.B. Impey) (1841)


T.A. Walmisley: Cathedral Music, a Collection of Services and Anthems (London, 1857)



T.F. Walmisley: ‘An Outline of a Plan for an Academy of Music’, Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, iv (1822), 394–5

D. Baptie: Sketches of the English Glee Composers (London, 1896), 100–01

M.B. Foster: Anthems and Anthem Composers (London, 1901/R), 140

A.V. Beedell: The Decline of the English Musician 1788–1888 (Oxford, 1992), 67, 70–71


Walmsley, Peter.

See Wamsley, Peter.

Walond, William

(b Oxford, bap. 16 July 1719; d Oxford, bur. 21 Aug 1768). English composer and organist. In subscription lists of the 1750s and later he is described as ‘Organist at Oxford’, and in the instrumental parts of William Hayes's Ode on the Passions (first performed 2 July 1750) he is named as a viola player; in the Oxford diaries of Parson Woodforde he is referred to as deputy organist of New College where, from 1745 until his death, he was also employed as a music copyist (N.W. Hargreaves-Mawdsley, ed.: Woodforde at Oxford 1759–1776, Oxford, 1969). He also worked in a similar capacity at Christ Church, and (as deputy for Richard Church) at St Peter’s in the East as well. As a scribe he also copied a good deal of material for Samuel Hellier. On 5 July 1757 he took an Oxford BMus degree, and two years later he published his setting of Pope's Ode on St Cecilia's Day – the first setting of the original 1708 version of the poem – which had served as his exercise. He had already published a set of six voluntaries for the organ or harpsichord op.1 (London, c1752) and a further set of ten voluntaries op.2 (London, 1758). Only one anthem (Not unto us, O Lord) is known; the autograph organ part of an evening service (CanD and DeM) also survives in GB-Och.

The first of his fourteen children was baptized on 24 January 1750, from which we may perhaps infer that he was married a year or so earlier. Of three sons variously involved in the world of church music, only the eldest and most obviously gifted of the three, William (bap. 4 Jan 1750; d 9 Feb 1836), deserves to be mentioned here. On the death of William Walond the elder, he apparently assumed his father’s duties as principal copyist at New College and Christ Church. In February 1775 he left Oxford to become deputy organist of Chichester Cathedral where, in June 1776 he succeeded Thomas Capell as organist. He too is mentioned by Woodforde, who was a member of the same masonic lodge as Walond, and in June 1774 Woodforde began to learn the harpsichord afresh under Walond's instruction. In 1794 Walond the younger apparently gave up teaching the choristers; seven years later he resigned as organist, and in the early editions of this dictionary he is said to have lived the rest of his life in Chichester in extreme poverty. Only one anthem and a number of double chants (GB-Lbl, Ob) by William Walond the younger are known.


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