LAST MODIFIED Thursday 6 June 2019 9:34

Frederick William Horncastle

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Frederick William Horncastle", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 31 March 2020

HORNCASTLE, Frederick William (F. W. HORNCASTLE)

Professor of Music, tenor vocalist (concerts and oratorios), lecturer and writer on music, historian of Irish music, composer

Born ? London, England, c.1795 (? 3 July 1795, son of William HORNCASTLE and Mary SQUIBB)
Married Marianne DANGERFIELD (d. ? after 1831), St. George's Hanover Square, London, June 1818 (bond signed 19 June 1818)
Arrived Adelaide, SA, 23 January 1847 (per David Malcolm, from London and Plymouth)
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 1847
Died Botany Bay, NSW, 21 January 1850 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (NLA persistent identifier)


Theatrical bass vocalist and actor (never visited Australia)

Born London, England, 27 January 1801 (son of William HORNCASTLE and Mary SQUIBB, younger brother of the above)
Died West Malvern, England, 6 May 1869

"DEATHS", The morning advertiser [London] (22 May 1869), 8

On the 6th inst., at West Malvern, James Henry Horncastle, late vocalist and actor, of the Theatres Royal Drury Lane and Covent Garden, in his 68th year.

In the 1840s, often appeared as "Mr. H. Horncastle"; listed as a principal vocalist in the first seasons of Balfe's The bride of Venice (1844), and Wallace's Maritana (1845).

On Henry, see also Katherine K. Preston, Opera on the road: traveling opera troupes in the United States, 1825-60 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 267 (PREVIEW


Frederick William Horncastle was active in London and provinces from the late 1810s until the mid 1840s as an organist, pianist, tenor vocalist in concerts and oratorio, musical journalist, editor, and composer. With his innovative "Irish entertainments", he visited the United States in the second half of 1845, but had returned to London by the middle of 1846. In October that same year he sailed for Australia, as one of the few paying cabin passengers on board the emigrant ship David Malcolm.

His younger brother Henry Horncastle (Mr. H. Horncastle) was also active in London as an operatic and theatrical vocalist and actor, from the early 1840s onwards, and also toured the United States.

In the 1830s and 1840s a composer of popular songs and piano pieces widely published both in England and the United States, Horncastle had been "Principal Tenor of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal" before arriving at Adelaide in January 1847.

As well as presenting the first of his popular entertainments, he advertised copies of his Music of Ireland for sale, and offered his services as a teacher and piano tuner. George Coppin engaged "Professor Horncastle" for his New Queen's Theatre.

He arrived in Sydney in early July, and soon began his series of Lectures on Music and entertainments at the School of Arts, at the seventh of which, in mid-September, he was assisted by local singer James Waller, who was to remain a close associate. Toward the end of that month he also appeared at John Philip Deane's concert.

In April 1848 he advertised:

to his personal friends that, in consequence of repeated accidents, losses, and vexations, he has become a confirmed invalid-he therefore cannot continue his usual entertainments, but will attempt one he calls justly INVALID MUSIC.

Having, nevertheless, by May, "materially renovated his health by a residence in the country", he was able to continue his activities for a while; he toured to Goulburn, and in July to Maitland with Abraham and Elizabeth Emanuel as co-artists.

As first noted by TROVE user Archivist1788 he was admitted to Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum on 14 August 1848.

Released finally on 29 December 1849, he was given accommodation by Waller at his Sir Joseph Banks Hotel at Botany Bay, where he died, less than a 4 weeks later, on 21 January 1850.


"THEATRICAL JOURNAL", The European magazine and London review (July 1814), 46 (DIGITSED)

Messrs. Incledon, Sinclair, Clermont, Master Williams, and Mr. Horncastle, are on a musical tour through the North of England and Scotland. Mr. Clermont will recite, and Mr. Horncastle will play the piano.

19 June 1818, marriage bond between Frederick William Horncastle and Marianne Dangerfield

Marriage bonds, London Diocese, 1818; London Metropolitan Museum

LONDON DIOCESE, 19th June 1818 / Appeared personally Frederick William Horncastle of the parish of Saint George Hanover Square . . . bachelor aged twenty one years and upwards and intendeth of marry with Marianne Dangerfield of the same parish a spinster also aged twenty one years and upwards and that he knoweth of no impediment . . .

James Stuart, Historical memoirs of the city of Armagh . . . (Newry: Alexander Wilkinson, 1819), 548 foot note (DIGITSED)

Many of the anthems which are performed in the cathedral are selected from Handel's works, for which the present organist, Mr. F. W. Horncastle, as well as his predecessors, doctors Jones and Clarke, and Mr. Langdon, seem to have entertained a strong and well-founded predilection.

"SKETCH OF MUSIC IN LONDON", The quarterly musical magazine and review 5 (1823), 265 (DIGITISED)

. . . A young professor (we believe from the neighbourhood of Bath) a Mr. Phillips, is also rising into notice; and the corps of glee singers, in private concerts especially, enjoys a most useful acquisition in Mr. Horncastle, a tenor - who possesses a philosophical as well as a scientific understanding of his profession.

"REVIEW OF MUSIC", The harmonicon (June 1824), 115 (DIGITISED)

DIVERTIMENTO ECOSSAIS, for the PIANO-FORTE with accompaniment, ad lib., in which the favourite air "My love is but a lassie yet," is arranged as a Rondo. By T. A. RAWLINGS (Gow and Son, Regent St.)

DIVERTIMENTO for the PIANO-FORTE, in which are introduced the admired Scotch airs, "Jessie o'Dumblaine," with variations, and "Duncan Grey," as a Rondo, by F. W. HORNCASTLE. (Chappell and Co., New Bond-Street, and Power, Dublin.)

WE are glad again to see the Scotish melodies brought forward. Some years ago every thing musical had a Caledonian tinge: this gave way to the Hibernian, and no air was tolerated that was not of Irish origin. Rossini has put them both out of fashion, and what is next to appear uppermost on the wheel, remains doubtful; something must be found out, and that soon, for the great Italian composer seems exhausted, and ought to lie fallow for half a dozen years. The Divertisement of Mr. Rawlings is animating to hear, and easy to perform; the "Scotch snap," as Dr. Burney terms it, in the first air, is well contrasted by the smooth and equal notes in the second, and the whole being short, is calculated to please. Mr. Horncastle's Divertimento is more difficult and ambitious than the former. It contains some good passages, and shews talent, but betrays a want of experience in writing, and some oversights that should be corrected before more impressions are taken from the plates. It was judicious to choose airs in different measures, for a change of time is a great relief to the ear, and is as necessary, to save the mind from being fatigued, as modulation, or change of key.

"HORNCASTLE", in A dictionary of musicians from the earliest ages to the present time . . . vol. 1 (London: For Sainsbury and Co., 1824), 376 (DIGITISED)

HORNCASTLE, an English tenor singer, eminent as a performer in glees. He is said to possess a philosophical, as well as a scientific, understanding of his profession.

[Various mentions], The theatrical observer (5 October 1825 to 24 June 1826) (DIGITISED)

"STATE OF MUSIC IN LONDON", The quarterly musical magazine and review 9 (1827), 63, 65 (DIGITSED)

[63] . . . Mr. Bishop's regular troops consisted of the principal English vocalists of the theatres, with Miss Farrar, Madame Cornega, Mr. Horncastle, and Mr. E. Taylor; occasional assistance was given by the Italians, who were indeed only Signora Toso and Signor Zuchelli, and these but for very few nights . . . [64] . . . We have often heard it stated by experienced persons, that the oratorios have been the most flourishing nursery of English singers, from the diversity and the exercise they offer, and from the introduction to the most numerous and extended audiences. Hence we expect to find fresh aspirants every season, as well as the gradual advancement of those whose first efforts have obtained them a place and standing. Hence too we may notice that Miss Love, the Misses Cawse and Miss Farrar, whose natural endowments, aptitude, and industry, promise so much, are in this state [65] of gradual progression and encouragement. Mr. Horncastle alone seconded Mr. Braham this year, and he unquestionably bids fairest to become the successor to the honours of the first tenor at the classical concerts of the country, wherever there shall be an opening. His voice improves in volume, and his style both in polish, force, and effect . . .

"THE CATCH CLUB", The apollonicon reviewer (1832), 3 (DIGITISED)

It will be interesting to the Lovers of English Music to know, that His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, has given a Prize of Twenty Guineas for the best Catch this Season; to be contended for by the Honorary Members of the Club. The day of decision was Tuesday, 19th June, when the two best Catches were so balanced in votes, that after being thrice tried over, and votes still being equal for each, the Club decided upon awarding another Prize of the same value, leaving to His Royal Highness, the choice for his Prize. This extremely liberal and flattering kindness on the part of the Members, has created some sensation. The fortunate candidates are Mr. T. Cooke, and Mr. Horncastle.

"VOCAL", The apollonicon reviewer (1832), 11 (DIGITISED)

"Mrs. Wagtail's Evening Party" - Comic Round, for four Voices - Sung at the Noblemen and Gentlemen's Catch Club. - Music by T. W. Horncastle [sic]. - Hawes.

The party in this round consist of a Visitor, Miss Wagtail, a Whist player, and an Old Maid; all of whom are interestingly comic in their way, and at the same time, a melody is given to each part. The tout ensemble are perfect, and must enliven any Soirée, at which it may be sung. Mr. Horncastle appears happy in this style of composition.


Singing . . . Horncastle, 37, Upper Norton-st.

"New Music", The olio; or, Museum of entertainment (6 July 1833), 328 (DIGITISED)

The Passions. Goulding and D'Almaine, Soho-square, London.

The passions are delineated in six songs; each with a descriptive poem and graphic illustration; the poetry by Mr. J. Lunn - the music by G. F. Stansbury, T. Cooke, J. Parry, W. F. Horncastle, J. C. Clifton, and E. Taylor - the illustrations by Robert J. Hamerton. - This musical and poetic bijou is dedicated to H. R. H. the Duke of Sussex; patron and president of the Melodists' Club, by whose auspices it has appeared before the public; but not till Mr. Lunn had been twice defeated in his original purpose, which is tritely explained by an interesting preface. By the introduction, the author states that he has chosen the "Cardinal Passions" as the bases of his theme, the first of which is "Love Reason's tyrant, Passion's king," & c.

The second "Hate" -
"Behold! behold! behold!
Within yon dusky temple's gate,
By furies raised, sits scowling Hate," &c.

The third "Joy" -
"A shout, a welkin-rending shout!
Let each friend of mirth breathe out,
"See hilarious Joy advancing," &c.

The fourth "Grief," -
"Hark! the swelling gale,
A thrilling, plaintive wail
Wafts from beneath yon spreading cypress
Where pallid Grief her languid form hath laid," &c.

The fifth "Hope" -
"The choicest boon of Heaven," &c.

The sixth "Despair" -
"See, from his cave of direst gloom,
Which smiles ne'er cheer nor orbs illume,
The hell-born monster, fell Despair," &c.

The songs which succeed the poems are very spiritedly and poetically written. The lithographic illustrations appropriate and vigorous. The musical compositions are such as do honour to the names and members of the Melodists' Club. For ourselves, we have not met with a more elegant and acceptable gift of song and melody than expressed in these combinations of the "Passions," which we heartily recommend to our friends and the public.

"MUSIC" [Concerts], The athenaeum (1 March 1834), 169 (DIGITISED)

Vocal Society. The fourth Concert of this Society fell short of its predecessors, in the matter of performers. Neither Mrs. Bishop, Miss C. Novello, nor Braham, making their appearance . . . The greater part of the selected music consisted of well known glees, madrigals, Italian songs, &c., in which Miss Woodyatt, Miss George, Mr. Bennett, (to our thinking, one of the soundest of English singers,) Messrs. Horncastle, Broadhurst, Bellamy, Sale, and King, took part . . .

Societa Armonica. Had the music, performed at the first Concert of this Society, on Thursday evening, been as well executed, as it was judiciously selected, we should have enjoyed a great treat indeed - a more promising programme we have not looked at for a long time. But such was not the case, the band in the first instance, was almost coarsely loud in the acceptance, and not always steady. Mr. Horncastle is singularly ineffective, though we owe him our thanks for bringing forward Handel's "There the brisk spark."

"MUSIC . . . NEW PUBLICATIONS", The athenaeum (1 March 1834), 169 (DIGITISED)

The Passions - Love, Hate, Joy, Grief, Hope, Despair. The music by Stansbury, Cooke, Parry, Horncastle, Clifton, and E. Taylor. The poetry by J. Lunn, Esq. This is the work of the members of the Melodists' Club. Every passion has a print as well as a composer to itself. Messrs. Stansbury and Parry have been the least unsuccessful.

"REVIEW OF MUSIC", The musical world (24 June 1836), 27 (DIGITISED)

Melodies of many Nations, selected and arranged to English words, original, and translated from the French, Italian, Russian, German, &c. of eminent Writers, by Frederick Wm. Horncastle. Book II. No. 7. CRAMER.

"Pearls and Diamonds, or Love's Conceit," is the title of the present number of this series; the poetry by R. Flecknoe, 1653. The melody an imitation of the old English style by the Editor. The best compliment we can pay Mr. Horncastle is, that we think he has succeeded in his object; with the exception that some of his harmonies have a more modern complexion than will be found in the schools he has professed to imitate; nevertheless these are judicious, and good of their kind. We are reminded both of Jackson and Arne, particularly in the major movement at page 3. The song is a very pretty one, and we can fancy some powdered fair one of the 17th century, with her lappets trembling at the execution of the several divisions and cadences.

The royal kalendar and court and city register for England, Scotland, Ireland, and the colonies, for the year 1840 (London: Suttaby & Co., [1840]), 123 

QUEEN'S HOUSEHOLD . . . Gentlemen of the Chapels Royal. Jonathan Neild, William Knyvett, Tho. Vaughan, J. B. Sale, William Hawes, Thomas Welch, Charles Evans, William Salmon, Richard Clark, John Roberts, John W. Hobbs, Henry Goulden, Orl. Bradbury, F. W. Horncastle, O. Hawkins, Henry Wilde, - esqrs. N.B. Five Clergymen and eight Gentlemen wait monthly. Organists, Sir George Smart, knt., and J. B. Sale, esq. Composers, Sir G. Smart, William Knyvett. Violist, G. T. Anderson. Lutenist, Mr. Charles Evans.

NOTE: Though Horncastle was engaged at the chapels royal in December 1831, and was elsewhere billed as belonging to the chapel in 1832, his name does not appear in any published lists of the gentlemen prior to 1839; as of January 2019, the list I have seen that includes Horncastle is that of the 1840 Royal kalendar, the latest 1854 [sic]

The lists are evidently arranged in order of admission; see also 1845: 

See also 1854: 

"Music Abroad and at Home", The foreign quarterly review (April 1840), 214 

"Evening," a Canzonet. The melody from a German song by Prince Albert, arranged to English words by F. W. Horncastle, Esq., of her Majesty's Chapel Royal. This Canzonet is full of melody, and has been most prettily and judiciously arranged. One of the prettiest serenades which has appeared for many years is "Vieni al Bosco, Notturno," due voci soprani, composta da F. W. Horncastle, Esq., and published by Mills, of Bond Street.

"Music Abroad and at Home", The foreign quarterly review (July 1840), 464 

The Coro Marcia, from Pacini's Opera, I Cavaliera di Valenza, one of his most effective pieces of that style, has been arranged by Mr. Horncastle as a duet. It is brilliant, easy, and adapted for two players of moderate proficiency. The same composer has likewise produced a third divertimento (Melange Militaire) for the piano forte, consisting of a march, waltz, and polonaise, this will be an established favourite among the moderate class of players.

"Music Abroad and at Home" and "REVIEW OF NEW MUSIC", The foreign quarterly review 26 (1840-41), 465, 469-70 

AMERICA. Many of the best English singers are here receiving that patronage which a British public have refused to bestow . . . The next novelty at the Park Theatre will be Mozart s Don Juan, the characters being filled by De Begnis, Seguin and his wife, Giubilei, Miss Poole, W. H. Williams, and [? Henry] Horncastle . . . 

[469] . . . VOCAL - Italian . . . No. 3. Recit. "A te O Signore," ed Aria "Re del Cielo," composed for Miss Masson by Frederick W. Horncastle . . . No. 3. - Is a fine expressive composition in the Mozart school of writing, full of exquisite expression, finely conducted modulation, and passages adapted to the voice and style of the first contralto singer in England . . .

VOCAL - English . . . No. 6. "The Dawn of the Spring." Song. Frederick W. Horncastle. No. 7. "The Gossamer." Cavatina. Ditto. No. 8. "The Merry Mill." Song. W. Glover. No. 9. "The Four Travellers." Third Comic Round. Frederick W. Horncastle . . . No. 6. - Is an elegant song, with a pure style of poetical feeling pervading it; the usual characteristic of this composer's musical ideas. No. 7. - A fairy cavatina, somewhat more ambitious, but certain of popularity when well known. It is for a soprano voice. No. 8. - Is a pleasing little song. The melody is well adapted to the sentiment of the poetry. No. 9. - Is a proof, if any were wanting, that the talent of catch and glee writing still remains in all its vigour, under every circumstance of depression that any branch of musical composition can suffer. Mr. Horncastle's last round, "Music in London," we thought could not be matched for its ludicrous effect; but in the "Four Travellers," he has introduced an ad libitum coughing and sneezing accompaniment that no four singers, we venture to say, [470] can steadily sing it through without themselves giving way to the most irrepressible cacchinations . . .

. . . In the press, a New Treatise on English and Italian Singing, with Observations upon all the essential parts of the Vocal Art. By Mr. Horncastle, of her Majesty's Chapel Royal. The well known taste, judgment, and experience of this professor will render such a work invaluable to both instructor and pupil.

"Music Hall, Store Street", The literary gazette and journal of the belles lettres . . . (14 January 1843), 27 (DIGITISED)

We spent two hours here very delightfully on Thursday evening, listening to Mr. Horncastle's entertainment on the national music of Ireland, with vocal and instrumental illustrations. He was assisted by the Misses Williams and Miss Leroy (harp), and by Mr. Williams (piano), and Mr. O'Hannigan (union-pipes). The former ladies are charming ballad-singers; we would only entreat Miss Martha to articulate distinctly, and she would be perfect. Mr. O'Hannigan, is blind, but this affliction is no hinderance to his playing and execution; we never heard the pipes so admirably handled. The plan Mr. Horncastle has adopted is that of Wilson, descriptive and anecdotical, but entering more at large into the peculiarities of the national melody. The rural songs, and the songs of occupation, the quern, the ploughboy and chorus, &c., were our favourites. We must not, however, omit to mention among such, a song in Irish, by Mr. H., and chorus the Misses W. But, indeed, selection is superfluous when all were excellent. Numerous encores testified the gratification of the audience. Mr. Horncastle promises original songs from the labours of the Dublin Society, translating ancient Mss. Judging from Thursday evening, no one could do them more justice; and a treat may be anticipated.

"National Music of Scotland and Ireland", The literary gazette and journal of the belles lettres . . . (21 January 1843), 42 (DIGITISED)

This class of entertainment, at the Music Hall, Store Street, is extending in all directions, and increasing in popular favour. We have, as noticed in former Nos., Russell with his noble English songs, Wilson with his native ballads, and lately Horncastle, assisted by others, with the national music of Ireland. We now only wait for a Welsh bard to complete the illustrations of the united national melodies. Nothing can be more pleasant to the lovers of simple strains, and they are numerous, than the two or three hours passed at any one of these entertainments. There are two on our list for notice this week; first, Mr. Wilson, on Monday evening, who charmed us for the fiftieth time with a host of the unrivalled ballads of Scotland; but having recorded our admiration nearly as many times, we have nothing left to say, but that increase of appetite doth grow with what it feeds on. Our second visit was to the second soirée, Irish, of Mr. Horncastle, on Thursday; when, in addition to a multitude of Moore's songs and ballads, the remarkable Caoine, or Funeral-cry, was sung with good effect; Mr. Horncastle and Miss M. Williams giving the solo parts. The melodies, sung with native words, are assuredly the most attractive; the Fairy-chant, for instance, is very beautiful, although consisting but of four words.

[Advertisement], The literary gazette and journal of the belles lettres . . . (11 March 1843), 158 (DIGITISED)

"Illustrations of the Music of Ireland", The literary gazette and journal of the belles lettres . . . (27 May 1843), 356 (DIGITISED)

On Tuesday evening Mr. Horncastle renewed his entertainments to illustrate the ancient music of Ireland at the Queen's Concert-Rooms, Hanover Square, to a full auditory, and under distinguished patronage. He was assisted by several eminent instrumental and vocal performers; in one or two instances in a style not connected with the immediate object of his design, but rather as divertissements, for the sake of variety, of which we cannot say we approve. The national purpose, if wrought out with characteristic feeling and fidelity, ought to be more than attractive enough for a London season. Wilson's Scottish Evenings are models in this way worthy of all imitation, and deservedly and triumphantly successful . . .

"Musical entertainments", The literary gazette and journal of the belles lettres . . . (23 December 1843), 837 (DIGITISED)

The distinguished success which has hitherto attended the novelty of national and musical entertainments, introduced by Mr. Wilson (who has been presenting them with unprecedented Éclat in the provinces, and especially in Edinburgh, where their merit could be best understood and tested), led to several performances of a similar kind last season, which were more or less deserving of public approbation. We allude particularly to Mr. Horncastle's Irish and Mr. H. Russell's English songs. And the present year seems to promise still more varied and extended efforts of the same kind . . .


. . . Horncastle's entertainments, on the Music of Ireland, are rather too diffuse in their plan; and though they open a wide field for illustration, their literature is defective, from the want of coherence in the design and some strong and common centre of attraction. The nice work of dovetailing lecture and song so as to occupy two hours with full justice and effect to each, is rarely well performed. Mr. Horncastle seems to have depended mainly on a considerable stock of national music, much of it derived from peculiar sources, which by means of his assistants, Miss Porter, Miss Cobitt, and Miss Le Roy, he is able to serve up in considerable variety. Not to lose opportunities for his music, he frequently curtails his reading to such a degree that but for the form's sake we could wish it wholly omitted. Could he borrow some of Wilson's literary tact, and lend in return some of his more ample means of illustration, the lectures of both would be improved. With a voice of limited power and peculiar quality, which must ever prevent him from taking a high rank as a solo-singer, Mr. Horncastle deservedly possesses the reputation of being one of the best musicians extant among the vocal profession. His taste and skill in arranging parts were very agreeably shown in the three-part harmony which represents the chorus or burden to songs of the Trades in Ireland . . .

"CARLETON'S TRAITS AND STORIES - NEW EDITION", The Dublin university magazine (September 1844), 275 (DIGITISED)

. . . We observe with great satisfaction that Mr. Horncastle is about to publish his collection, as harmonised for these exceedingly agreeable performances, including those wildly-beautiful caoines, or dirges, which he deserves so much credit for rescuing from their supposed barbarism and presenting to the public in their true character of sweet and thrilling pathos. The mention of these subjects revives our own grief for a noble spirit recently called away - the father of Irish music - ardent, courageous Edward Bunting. He has left his task accomplished . . .

"NEW VOCAL MUSIC", The athenauem (8 March 1845), 251 (DIGITISED)

The Music of Ireland, as performed in Mr. Horncastle's Irish Entertainments, &c., in 3 Parts. - We must further transcribe from the title-page of this collection, that it comprises "Bardic and Connaught Caoines, Songs, Fairy Chants and Songs, Rural Ballads, Songs of Occupation, Marches, Jigs," &c., in order that the reader may rightly understand the nature of its contents. As the collection had reference to a popular entertainment, the reader will not expect either such care in research or arrangement, as would give the work any distinguished value, antiquarian or artistic. Some of the less familiar melodies have been already published in Mr. Bunting's earlier collections, unfairly thrust out of sight, by the more popular publication of Mr. Moore and Sir John Stevenson. In one of these, "Burn's March," a harp tune, much of its individuality is disguised by the vocal harmonies attached to one of the most eccentric figures belonging to ancient Irish instrumental composition. Another "To the Battle Men of Erin," a superb tune in the heroic style, is better adapted for a part song than a solo. But Mr. Horncastle's arrangement is awkward, and we cannot approve the wholesale transfer of the words written for Mr. Bunting's collection, without a syllable to point out the obligation. Then we wish to know whether the insipid rondo to which the editor has set the beautiful "Forester's Lament," by an original Irish lyrist heard so seldom - is authentic or a confection. If the former, it furnishes another proof that "there is nothing new under the sun" - since the French intervals and the French style, which we had supposed to be peculiar to the Opéra Comique and M. Auber, are both clearly indicated in it. We must also question "The Weaver's Song," on two counts: first, because the tune has almost a literal identity with the well known "'Twas within a mile of Edinborough Town" - secondly, because it would puzzle St. Senanus or St. Grellan to tell what business Barry Cornwall's fanciful words have in an "Irish Entertainment." Then there is a grace introduced in the second verse of "The Yellow Horse," here printed with poor William Spencer's words "Too late I staid" (see ante, Bunting's collection) so entirely savouring of the Haymarket and its signori, that, slight though it be, we must animadvert on its appearance in what, if it is to have any value at all, should be a national publication. The words to "The Lament of Ormond," have been affixed to the wild old air without the slightest regard to rhythm. This is another grave fault. There is hardly any melody whatsoever, be it as eccentric in its forms and in its accentuation as the Moorish Zorzico itself, which is not capable of treatment in English. Of this Mr. Moore has given us some signal examples in his lyrics; to go no further than his delicious song, "In the mid hour of night, when stars are weeping, I fly," where a most untractable rhythm is so smoothed and melodized as to become absolutely easy and welcome to the ear. Allowing for these blemishes and others of the kind, Mr. Horncastle has got together some curiosities and choice tunes. Horace's first Ode, set by a hedge-schoolmaster, has a crazy sentimentality about it truly ridiculous - a sort of Hibernian quid pro quo for the solemnity of the "Nominativo hic" of Carissimi. Then "My Lodging is Uncertain" - own cousin to "The Girl I left behind me," is a capital tune: new to us. Lastly, Mr. Horncastle has given us one melody "Shule Arun," which, for melancholy pathos, is almost equal to the better known "Savourneen Deelish." We have never met it before in print, though it has been long a familiar friend of ours. On the whole, taken for what it is worth, this publication deserves examination.

"Miscellaneous", The musical world (13 March 1845), 128 (DIGITISED)

MR. HORNCASTLE is delivering Lectures on British Melody, ancient and modern, with great success, at Islington. Mr. Horncastle has lately given Lectures on English and Irish Melody at Liverpool, Manchester, and Ashton under Lyne, with the most gratifying results.

"BRISTOL", The musical world (8 May 1845), 219 (DIGITISED)

Mr. Horncastle's lectures reflect credit not only on himself but on the committee, who appear desirous of showing the variety of instruction and entertainment which may be calculated on by the establishment of the Athenaeum. The lectures were given on the mornings of Thursday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and repeated on the evenings of each day. Mr. Horncastle introduced his subject by some remarks on the origin of melody - the primitive and rural music of Ireland - the musical tone of the Irish mind - their fondness for song - the peculiarities of Irish melody - the resemblance of some of them to those of Eastern nations - and the method taken to preserve the melodies of Ireland without notation. Each department was illustrated either by songs or glees, by Miss Cubitt, Miss Porter, and Mr. Horncastle. Miss Le Roy performed on the harp. Mr. Horncastle, both in his exemplifications and his lectures, exhibited perfect acquaintance with his subject. Felix Farley's Bristol Journal.

MR. F. W. HORNCATSLE'S MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENTS", The Anglo American: a journal of literature, news, politics . . . (8 September 1845), 500 (DIGITISED)

Mr. Horncastle gave the first of a series of Vocal entertainments at the New York Society Library, on Wednesday evening last. It consisted of a lecture, interspersed with songs, on the vocal music of Ireland, and the subject was handled by him in a very masterly manner. This gentleman is more than merely a vocalist. He is a man of research, of feeling, and expression, and his songs which are charming illustrations of his text, are both captivating in themselves, and given in the style of a master in the vocal art. The vocalism of the Irish school does not require a very extensive compass, but a clearness, smoothness, and eveness of intonation are absolutely indispensable, and those qualities he possesses in a very eminent degree. Besides these, he has the property of accompanying himself on the Pianoforte in a way that we have never heard equalled except by Mr. Horn, and his skill in this matter greatly enhances the beauty of the performance . . .

"Miscellaneous", The musical world [London] (2 October 1845), 479 (DIGITISED)

Mr. F. W. HORNCASTLE (gentleman of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal) has been giving his Irish entertainments with great success in the New World. His late visits to Newport and Providence have been highly remunerative. The Newport Press, and the Daily Transcript, (Providence paper) speak very highly of him.

"LECTURES ON MUSIC", The morning advertiser [London] (31 July 1846), 3

Mr. F. W. Horncastle delivered the first of a series of lectures, on Wednesday evening, on English melody, in the London Mechanics' Institution, Southampton-buildings, Chancery-lane, which was most numerously and respectably attended. It is needless to observe upon the great improvement which lectures such as these must ultimately confer on those for whose benefit they are intended; and while we hail with pleasure their introduction into so many literary and scientific institutions, we cannot conceal the extreme gratification it afforded us on this occasion in witnessing so numerous and so attentive an audience. Mr. Horncastle acquitted himself a lecturer with great credit; his delivery, though perhaps little too rapid, was, nevertheless, clear and audible, and in elucidating subject certainly interesting in itself to all who heard him. He introduced with considerable tact, and told with great humour, several anecdotes, which tended to amuse well as to instruct. The lecture was illustrated by that most popular of all practices - a song of the particular period on which he dwelt, or the ballad poetry to which he called the attention of his audience; and in this he was most ably assisted by Miss Thornton and Miss Cubit, who sang the songs appropriated to each, not only with great scientific skill, but peculiar pathos and sweetness. Much credit is due to Mr. Horncastle for introducing the ballad poetry of England to public notice, by so amusing and, at the same time, so peculiarly instructive, a method as that of a lecture, when the manners of the period of which he treats, and the music that charmed the generations that have gone before us, are rendered familiar to all by the course which he has thus adopted. The lecture of last evening was opened by an introduction, in which the lecturer described, with graphic powers of no ordinary description, the ancient customs of "Merrie England," - the practice adopted in partaking of the "Wassail Bowl," - the merry gatherings of young men and maidens, to greet the approach of a May morn, and to welcome it with joyous and merry greetings, with the innocent, though sometimes boisterous, ceremonies around the May-pole. These are topics which could not fail to produce a deep and impressive interest, for however rare the practices alluded to have now become, particularly in large and crowded cities, there are none of us who can fail to remember the days when such scenes took place, amid the wild and joyous merriment of the young, and the sober, but, nevertheless, decided approbation of those who had themselves been similarly employed in the morn of life. Mr. Horncastle then dwelt on the minstrels and ballad-singers of the olden time, and, as we have already observed, was ably assisted by the young ladies, who sang with so much taste and judgment the lays of the mountain, the counties, and the peasant. The hunting songs were given with great effect. The ballads of England not possess that wild and melancholy plaintiveness which characterise the wayward but sad music of the sister isle; nor are they sweet, either in melody or composition, as those of Scotland but they are, nevertheless - we take it correct - living representations of the manners and habits of those by whom they were cherished. The second part of the lecture contains a dissertation on the music of England in the time of Elizabeth, and most instructive exposition of Henry Law's [Lawes's] ballad-operas, in which the lecturer humorously, but truly, caricatured that absurd practice, which exists now in other days, of crying up every description of music which is wedded to a "foreign language." The song of "Mad Tom' was given by Mr. Horncastle with great effect, and "The Lowly Suit," in which he was accompanied by the two ladies with singular sweetness. A curious old song, called "The Hunt is up," finished the evening's performance; but we are glad to perceive that Mr. Horncastle has announced his intention of giving a second lecture in continuation of the same subject, on Wednesday next.

The royal kalendar and court and city register for England, Scotland, Ireland, and the colonies, for the year 1847 (London: R. & A. Suttaby, [1847]), 149 (DIGITISED)

QUEEN'S HOUSEHOLD . . . Gentlemen of the Chapels Royal. William Knyvett, J. B. Sale, Thomas Welch, Charles Evans, William Salmon, Richard Clark, John Roberts, John W. Hobbs, Orl. Bradbury, F. W. Horncastle, O. Hawkins, Henry Wilde, Thom. Francis, esqrs. N.B. Five Clergymen and eight Gentlemen wait monthly. Organists, Sir George Smart, knt., and J. B. Sale, esq. Composers, Sir G. Smart, William Knyvett. Violist, G. T. Anderson . . .

10 and 13 October 1847, departed London and Plymouth, passenger on the David Malcolm

Australia (1847-1850)

Adelaide, SA (23 January to 21 June 1847)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. ARRIVED", South Australian Register (27 January 1847), 3

Saturday, Jan. 23 - The barque David Malcolm, 538 tons, J. W. Smith, master, from London and Plymouth. Passengers . . . Mr. and Mrs. Scott, and two children, Mr. Price, Rev. W. Vansittart, Mr. James Scott Young, and Mr. F. H. Horncastle, and S. Hodgkinson, surgeon superintendent, in the cabin; [list of assisted emigrants]

[News], South Australian Register (27 January 1847), 3

We perceive by our advertising columns that Mr. Horncastle, principal tenor of the Queen's Chapel Royal, and lately arrived in the David Malcolm, intends favouring our colony with his performance of Irish Melodies. He has, we hear, performed in England, Scotland, Ireland, and America, and given great satisfaction to numerous highly respectable audiences.

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (27 January 1847), 1

"LOCAL INTELLIGENCE", South Australian Register (27 January 1847), 3

"LOCAL INTELLIGENCE", South Australian Register (30 January 1847), 2

[Advertisement]: "MUSIC OF IRELAND", South Australian Register (3 February 1847), 1

[Advertisement]: "NEW QUEEN'S THEATRE", South Australian Register (3 February 1847), 1

"LOCAL INTELLIGENCE", South Australian Register (3 February 1847), 3

"LOCAL INTELLIGENCE", South Australian Register (10 February 1847), 2

"PROGRAMME. Mr Horncastle's Dress Concert", South Australian Register (13 March 1847), 1

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (7 April 1847), 7

"HORNCASTLE v. COPPIN", South Australian Register (24 April 1847), 3

Sydney, NSW (2 July 1847 to 21 January 1850)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Sydney Morning Herald (3 July 1847), 2

July 2. - Joseph Albino, schooner, 141 tons, Captain Finness, from Adelaide the 21st June. Passengers - Messrs. J. S. Barnett, Newenham Oliver, Harvey, Lee, Broughton, G. Jarvis, W. Davies, T. Parker, George Home, Samuel Stocks, F. Garden, McLeod, T. Williams, and William Horncastle.

According to the passenger manifest, Horncastle was one of 3 steerage passengers; State Archives of NSW; series 13278, inward passenger lists, 1847

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (12 July 1847), 1

"LECTURE ON MUSIC. To the Editors", Bell's Life in Sydney (17 July 1847), 3

"MR. HORNCASTLE'S LECTURE ON MUSIC. [Letter] To the Editors", Bell's Life in Sydney (24 July 1847), 3

"SCHOOL OF ARTS LECTURE", The Australian (24 July 1847), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (15 September 1847), 1

"MR. DEANE'S CONCERT", Sydney Chronicle (30 September 1847), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (1 November 1847), 1

MR. HORNCASTLE wishes to dispose of some Manuscripts, and printed Music Manuscripts, chiefly of his own composition; also literary articles written to suit popular taste. The music combines Purcell, Handel, Arne, Loder, Rossini, Callcot, &c, Glees, Catches, Duetts, and Scenas. Royal Hotel, Friday, October 17.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (13 April 1848), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (4 May 1848), 1

"MR. HORNCASTLE'S ENTERTAINMENTS", The Maitland Mercury (29 July 1848), 2

Tarban Creek Asylum, Gladesville; photo: Frederick Manning, 2012, flikcr

Tarban Creek Asylum, Gladesville; buildings designed by Mortimer Lewis, 1836-38; photo: Frederick Manning, 2012, flikcr (detail) (DIGITISED)

14 August 1848, admission, Tarban Creek Asylum

Quarterly return of Patients received into the Lunatic Asylum, at Tarban Creek, from 1st July to 30th September, 1848; CS 49/10759, 3 October 1848; State Archives of New South Wales, Returns and Reports 1845-55, 4/7654 fols. 269-70; NRS 4946

[No.] 8 / F. W. Horncastle / [age] 54 / [pauper] / [admitted] 14 [August 1848] / Melancholia, Hallucination / . . .

29 December 1849, release, Tarban Creek Asylum

Annual Return of [ ? ] Lunatics treated gratuitously at the Lunatic Asylum, Tarban Forest, from the 1st January to 31st December 1849; State Archives of NSW, Tarban Creek and Parramatta Asylums, Returns and Reports 1845-55, NRS 4946

F. W. Horncastle / Jan. 1 / Dec. 29 / [no of days.] 363

Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany Bay, c.1855 (G. F. Angus)

Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany Bay, c.1855, drawing by G. F. Angas; National Library of Australia (DIGITISED)

21 January 1850, death, Botany Bay Hotel; buried Camperdown Cemetery

Register of coroner's inquests, NSW, 1850; State Archives of NSW, NRS 343

[No.] 5207 / Sydney / 22 [January] / Frederick Wm. Horncastle / [cause] Visitation of God

At Camperdown Cemetery, his birth year was recorded as 1786 [sic]

"SUDDEN DEATH", The Sydney Morning Herald (23 January 1850), 2

Mr. Frederick William Horncastle, whose interesting lectures upon music must be remembered by many of our readers, was on Monday found dead on the floor of his bedroom at the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany, where he was at the time residing. An inquest was held upon the body yesterday, and an opinion having been expressed by Dr. Tierney that death had been occasioned by the rupture of a blood vessel, a verdict of death from natural causes was returned.

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (23 January 1850), 3

At the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany, on Monday, the 21st instant, after a few days' illness, Mr. Frederick W. Horncastle, Gentleman of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, and well known to this community as an accomplished vocalist and musician.

After 1850

"MANCHESTER CATHEDRAL", The Manchester courier and Lancashire general advertiser [England] (22 May 1852), 7

At the Cathedral, tomorrow, Sanctus, by F. W. Horncastle; Chant for the Psalms, Gooch; Jubilate (Jackson) 24th Psalm, New Version; also Anthem from Handel's Messiah, "But thou didst not leave." Solo and chorus, "Lift up your heads."

The royal kalendar, and court and city register for England, Scotland, Ireland, and the colonies, for the year 1854 (London: R. & A. Stuttaby, [1854]), 149 (DIGITISED)

QUEEN'S HOUSEHOLD . . . Gentlemen of the Chapels Royal. William Knyvett, J. B. Sale, William Salmon, Richard Clark, John Roberts, John W. Hobbs, Orl. Bradbury, F. W. Horncastle . . .

Works and editions:

Musical journalism

"F. W. H.", "ON THE ACQUIREMENT OF A PERFECT TASTE IN MUSIC", The quarterly musical magazine and review 3 (1821), 34-36 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "TO THE EDITOR", The quarterly musical magazine and review (1823), 28-35 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "TO THE EDITOR", The quarterly musical magazine and review (1823), 152-58 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "FROM MUSICAL SCRAP-BOOKS. TO THE EDITOR", The harmonicon (1823), 129 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "TO THE EDITOR. ORIENTAL MUSIC CONSIDERED", The quarterly musical magazine and review 7 (1825), 456-63 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "ORIENTAL MUSIC", The quarterly musical magazine and review 9 (1827), 27-36 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "PLAGIARIAM. TO THE EDITOR", The quarterly musical magazine and review 9 (1827), 156-60 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "TO THE EDITOR [SCHOOL OF COMPOSITION]", The quarterly musical magazine and review (1827), 304-07 (DIGITISED)

"F. W. H.", "ORIENTAL, MUSIC. ON THE MUSIC OF THE ARABIANS . . . TO THE EDITOR", The quarterly musical magazine and review 9 (1827), 308-22 (DIGITISED)

"THINGS IN NAME AND REALITY BY F. W. HORNCASTLE", Bell's Life in Sydney (9 October 1847), 3 (DIGITISED)

Musical editions

The music of Ireland, as performed in Mr. Horncastle's Irish entertainments in which are introduced the Bardic & Connaught Casines, songs, fairy chant & songs, rural ballads, songs of occupation, marches, jigs &c. harmonized & arranged with an accompaniment for the harp or piano forte, by Fredk. Wm. Horncastle, Gentleman of Her Majesty's Chapel's Royal (London: Horncastle, 1844) [parts 1 to 3] 

The Quern tune -- The fisherman's song and chorus -- May Day song -- The rejected lover -- The fairies invitation -- Leitrim's green fields -- The Bardic Caoine -- Fin McCoul's march -- The spinning girl's song -- Horace's first ode -- My lodging is uncertain -- [part 2, pages 30-64]: The jolly ploughboy -- The weavers song -- Dance -- Too late I staid -- The fairy chant -- The lament of Ormond -- Paistheen fion -- Burn's march -- Ollistrum's March -- The boatman's song -- Dance -- Jig -- The humours of Knocktopher -- [Part 3, pages 65-109]: Sound the eagle's whistle -- The fairies lullaby -- Ballinderry and Cronan -- The Connaught caoine -- The liquor of life -- The forester's song -- The wren boy's song -- Shule arun -- Brian Boroimhe's march -- Thy welcome O'Leary -- To the battle men of Erin -- The hen's concert -- The peacock.

[Advertisement], The publishers' circular and booksellers' record (15 October 1844), 300 (DIGITISED)

THE MUSIC OF IRELAND, as performed in Mr. Horncastle's Irish Entertainments; consisting of the Bardic and Connaught Cavines, Fairy Chants and Songs, Rural Ballads, Songs of Occupation, Marches, Jigs, &c. Harmonized and arranged by F. W. HORNCASTLE, Gentleman of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal. Part I. The Work to be completed in Three Parts, 25s. to Subscribers; single Parts, 10s. 6d. each. Published by the Editor, 37, Upper Norton Street; to be had at all Music-sellers and Booksellers.


Published musical works:

"Frederick William Horncastle" [author], Worldcat (LIST OF RECORDS)

Song, "I care not, fortune", composed for The harmonicon by Frederick William Horncastle, the words from Thomson's Castle of indolence, in The harmonicon (1829), 202-03 (DIGITISED)

Notturnino A thought at twilight for the piano-forte, in The harmonicon (1832), part 2, 145 (DIGITISED)

Marcia funebre, in the Harmonist: a collection of classical and popular music, vol 2. (London: Limbird, 1841), 353 (DIGITISED)

Marcia funebre composed by F. W. Horncastle, in The musical standard (19 September 1874), 180-81 (DIGITISED)

Buddelow: an American song, in Godey's magazine and lady's book 32 (March 1846), 187 (DIGITISED)

The infant's prayer, in Godey's magazine and lady's book 33 (1846), 89 (DIGITISED)

The maypole

Spring the sweet spring

Men of old (ballad)

By the side of the fairy lake (barcarolle)

Bibliography and resources

Mooney 1845 and 1853

Thomas Mooney, A history of Ireland, from its first settlement to the present time . . . interspersed with a great number of Irish melodies (Boston: The author, 1845), 236 

I append one more attestation to the same general purpose [demonstrating the beauties of Irish melody] from an English musician, the leader of her majesty's sacred choir. I extract it from the London Sun of October 18, 1844.

"Mr. Horncastle, of the Queen's Chapel Royal, has published a volume entitled the 'Music of Ireland' [ a collection of beautiful, perhaps matchless melodies. The service which the composer has rendered to music, and even to ethnology, by the preservation and publication of those exquisite relics of ancient science and refinement, is enhanced by his judicious as well as reverential abstinence from attempts at improving perfection. In this respect, he stands very much above his predecessor in the same field, Sir John Stevenson; for he at once admits that the old music of Ireland, as it is found, is not the wild effusion of a rude and simple people, but is the production of a school in a high degree methodized, skilful, and cultivated. The Irish keine, according to Mr. Horncastle, is a noble and most expressive piece of music. These keines serve as examples of the most beautiful harmonic composition, and prove, beyond a doubt, that music in those early ages was in the highest state of cultivation. Yet to this day, the humblest of the people are the only depositaries of these great works. There is a close affinity existing between the poetry of the Latins and that of the Irish. The first ode of Horace is perfectly adapted as written for the Irish melody of 'I am asleep, and don't waken me.' It may be worth asking. Did Horace know and use the Irish tune?"

Thomas Mooney, A history of Ireland, from its first settlement to the present time . . . interspersed with a great number of Irish melodies . . . vol. 1 (Boston: Patrick Donahoe, 1853), frontmatter 25, 236 (DIGITISED)

[From the Boston Pilot of November 15, 1845.]


We record to-day the most extraordinary meeting, connected with Ireland, that ever took place in Boston, which was held on Monday evening at the Odeon, Franklin Street, a building capable of holding several thousand persons, to receive Mr. Mooney's new work on the History and Music of Ireland. The building is a vast theatre, consisting of pit, boxes, and three galleries, every part of which was crowded to its uttermost capacity, by the flower of the Irish citizens of this place, including all the clergy of the district, and very many distinguished American citizens . . .

Although the doors were opened at six o'clock, yet, for an hour previously, Federal Street was crowded with people waiting for admission, and several thousands went away unable to enter.

A concert of the music in Mr. Mooney's book was then produced, which far surpassed, in melody and execution, any musical entertainment we ever witnessed. The music, selected by Mr. Mooney from the minstrels of Ireland, is undoubtedly the very finest we ever heard, and its execution, by Mr. Michael Mooney, Mrs. Franklin, Mr. Horncastle, Mr. Garcia, Mr. Shaw, Mr. McGaughey, Miss Walsh, and Master O'Keefe, was truly delightful, and won from the audience the most rapturous applause. The house was brilliantly lighted; the rich and deep intonation of the organ, when pealing forth the melodious airs of old Ireland, filled our hearts with joy; and the sight and sounds of the harp, the Harp of Erin, surrounded as it was that night by men who are prepared to peril all to emancipate her, called up the memories of Tara and Clontarf, and caused many a noble heart in that building to pant for the freedom of that unhappy land . . . (DIGITISED)

I append one more attestation . . . [As above]

Conran 1850

Michael Conran, The national music of Ireland, containing the history of the Irish bards, the national melodies, the harp, and other musical instruments of Erin . . . second edition (London: John Johnson, 1850), 268-69 footnote (DIGITISED)

. . . In 1845, Mr. Horncastle published a "collection" of our melodies; in the preface to which he says, that "many of the old authors, from the tenth to the sixteenth century, speak in the highest terms of the Music of Ireland; and as it is well known that the ancient melodies of a country serve as illustrations of the civilization, temperament, and character of the people, we must conclude, independently of all other evidences, that the ancient Irish were a highly civilized people." This gentleman (of Her Majesty’s chapel royal) further observes, that "their caoines, or funeral cries, alone serve as examples of the most beautiful harmonic compositions, and prove beyond a doubt that music in those early ages was in the highest state of cultivation." The caoine formed the prin-[269]-cipal musical portion of the burial rites in early times, and we have little means of testing its effects, but when the pathetic melody of it is duly harmonized, the ensemble is effective and touching. Some of the "hedge schoolmasters" of Ireland adapted the whole of Horace's Latin Odes to those ancient Irish melodies. To the melody "Ta me mo Chodladh," "I am asleep," the first Ode was applied thus:

"Maecenas atavis edite regibus
Ta me mo Choladh," &c.

The eerie-comic song of "Barney Brallaghan" is also paraphrased, the first stanza of which thus begins:-

"Erat turbida nox / Hora secunda mane," &c.

Brown 1897

James Duff Brown, British musical biography: a dictionary of musical artists, authors, and composers born in Britain and its colonies (London: S. S. Stratton, 1897), 208


Bumpus 1900

John S. Bumpus, "Irish church composers and the Irish cathedrals, part 2", Proceedings of the Musical Association 26 (1899-1900), (115-159), 121 (PAYWALL)

As I shall not again have occasion to refer to Armagh I will sum up the remaining organists in a few words. The Cathedral was very well restored by the elder Cottingham, during the primacy of Archbishop Beresford. Frederick William Horncastle, who was organist from 1816 until his dismissal in 1823, afterwards became one of the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal, S. James's. A Sanctus and Kyrie of his composition were inserted in a collection published in periodical numbers by William Hawes, of S. Paul's and the Chapel Royal, between 1829 and 1836. He compiled "The Music of Ireland" in 1844, and wrote a number of pianoforte pieces, glees, songs, and comic rounds and catches. One of the last-named, "Mrs. Wagtail's Evening Party," used to create great merriment at the Adelphi Glee Club, which, established in 1833, under the presidency of Enoch Hawkins, one of the lay vicars of Westminster (an alto of surpassing sweetness), used to hold its meetings at the London Coffee House on Ludgate Hill. Robert Turle, a younger brother of the distinguished organist of Westminster, succeeded Horncastle at Armagh . . .

West 1921

John E. West, Cathedral organists past and present: a record of the succession of organists of the cathedrals, chapels royal, and principal collegiate churches of the United Kingdom (London: Novello and Company, 1921), 2 (DIGITISED)

FREDERICK WILLIAM HORNCASTLE 1816-1823. Born in London, 1790(?). Chorister in the Chapel Royal. Organist successively of Stamford Hill Chapel, Berkeley Chapel, London, and Armagh Cathedral. Dismissed in 1823. Appointed a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, 1826 [sic]. Died 1850. Composer of a Mass, Glees, Songs, Pianoforte pieces, &c. In 1828 Horncastle collaborated with T. Cooke, Stansbury, Parry, Clifton, and Taylor, in a work entitled "The Passions" for the Melodists' Club.

Shaw 1991

Watkins Shaw, The succession of organists of the Chapel Royal and the cathedrals of England and Wales from c. 1538: also of the organists of the collegiate churches of Westminster and Windsor, certain academic choral foundations, and the cathedrals of Armagh and Dublin (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 405

Rohr 2001

Deborah Rohr, The careers of British musicians, 1750-1850: a profession of artisans (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 77-79, 142 (PREVIEW)

Bucholz 2006

"The Chapel Royal: gentlemen", in Office-holders in Modern Britain: volume 11 (revised), court officers, 1660-1837, ed. R. O. Bucholz (London, 2006), 279-87; in British history online (ONLINE)

. . . 1831 / 25 Dec. / Horncastle, F. W. . . .

Love 2018

Timothy M. Love, "Irish nationalism, print culture and the Spirit of the nation", Nineteenth-century music review 15/2 (August 2018), (189-208), 207-208 (PAYWALL)

Frederick William Horncastle 1816–1822", Past organists, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, website (as at January 2019) (ONLINE)

Born London, 1790?, died 1850. Horncastle was a chorister of the Chapel Royal, London, and then organist of Stamford Hill Chapel and Berkeley Chapel, London. He was appointed organist of Armagh in 1816. Evidence suggests that he became a little careless in his attitude to his duties, absenting himself frequently to make excursions to Warrenpoint and Rostrevor. These absences together with Horncastle's unwillingness to take part in weekly choral concerts in the Music Hall led to a dispute with Richard Allott. Further problems of the same nature led to a visitation held by the Archbishop in November 1822, purely to conduct a disciplinary hearing. Subsequently certificates of expulsion bearing the Primate's seal were fixed to Horncastle's residence and the Chapter Room door at the cathedral:

"Therefore We, John George, Archbishop aforesaid and Visitor of said College of Vicars and Organist, on account of the turbulence, contention, insolence and contumacy of said Frederick William Horncastle do pronounce and decree that the said Frederick William Horncastle be removed from his said office of Organist and Master of the Choiristers [sic] and that the licence or Patent heretofore granted to him be revoked, cancelled and declared null and void, the peace and good order of said College of Vicars in said Cathedral so requiring."

His expulsion from his post is unique at Armagh. The correspondence, charges, dismissal etc. are preserved in a collection of letters in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

Horncastle returned to London and became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1826 [sic]. He was composer of a mass, glees, songs, pianoforte pieces, etc. In 1828 Horncastle collaborated with T. Cooke, Stansbury, Parry, Clifton and Taylor in a work entitled "The Passions" for the Melodists' Club.

A Mr. Garbett officiated as organist during the interval between Horncastle’s expulsion and [Robert] Turle's appointment.

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2020