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Davies, Harry Parr (1914–1955), songwriter and composer, was born on 24 May 1914 at 15 Grandison Street, Briton Ferry, Glamorgan, the son of David John Davies, a bootmaker, and his wife, Rosina Parr, a teacher. He was playing the chapel organ and composing musical pieces by the age of twelve, and while attending ...


Freeth, John [pseud. John Free] (1731–1808), innkeeper and political ballad writer, was born at the Bell tavern, Philip Street, Birmingham, the son of Charles Freeth, landlord of the Bell, and his wife, Mary. Nothing is known of Freeth's education or of his early years, although it seems that he was once an itinerant street ballad singer. Where and when ...


J. E. Lloyd

revised by Trevor Herbert

Mills, Richard [pseud. Rhydderch Hael] (1809–1844), composer, was the son by his second marriage of Henry Mills (1757–1820), an important pioneer of Welsh congregational singing. He was born at Tŷ newydd, Llanidloes, in March 1809. He showed musical talent at an early age, and competed successfully at eisteddfods on both musical and literary subjects. He left school at the age of eleven and established his identity as a musician when he was fifteen, when his hymn tune ...


Rutling, Thomas (1854–1915), singer, was born in Wilson county, Tennessee, USA, on 24 December 1854, into slavery. His father had either run away or been sold before his birth, and his mother was sold when he was three; the fates of both parents were unknown to him. He and two siblings (an older brother and older sister) moved to a new plantation when their master's daughter married. He began working in the fields when he was eight, but soon became a household servant. In 1865, freed by Union soldiers, he joined his brother and sister in ...


J. C. Hadden

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Shrubsole, William (bap. 1760, d. 1806), organist, the youngest son of Thomas Shrubsole, a farrier, was born at Canterbury and baptized on 13 January 1760. He was a chorister in the cathedral from 1770 to 1777, and organist at Bangor Cathedral from 1782 to 1784, when he was dismissed for frequenting conventicles. He then became organist of ...


E. T. Wedmore

revised by David J. Golby

Stone, Alfred (1840–1878), choir-trainer and music editor, was born in Denmark Street, Bristol, on 12 February 1840, the son of Thomas Stone, a carpenter, and his wife, Sarah, née Harris. He was educated at the Bristol city school (Queen Elizabeth's Hospital) and displayed an aptitude for music early in life; he took organ lessons from ...