Immanuel’s GROUND

Warwick's West Gallery Quire

Rumpus, Riot & Rebellion!
Saturday 29th June 2013

Northgate Methodist Church, Warwick

Rumpus, Riot & Rebellion!



7.30 pm Saturday 29th June 2013




Warwick’s West Gallery Quire


With surtitles


The First Half of the concert starts at a Hiring Fair near here, in the Autumn of 1803.  England is again at war with France, but local life must go on with local landowners, farmers and mill owners seeking annual staff. Servants, maids and outside staff are engaged, the contract sealed using a ‘Hiring penny’.     A stockman from another parish tries to get hired but gets rebuffed;  Another remembers waiting many years before being able to settle down after finding good employment;     Her Ladyship bewails the increasing tax burden and having to economise on the number of staff she can employ;  A cook finds she has to do additional outside work, a scullery maid gets hired but at a lower wage than before and another hopes to find a husband as she cannot get employment . . .

Opening Music: Granors March
From ‘Never on Sunday’ by Rollo Woods, arranged by Tricia Entwistle for Immanuel’s Ground Quire.


Psalm 34 NV – Through all the changing scenes of life
From the New Version of the Psalms, to the tune ‘Wiltshire’ by Joseph Stephenson (1723-1810), for 42 years Clerk to the Unitarian Chapel in Poole, Dorset.


Song – ‘The Ox Plough’
Possibly one of the songs in which plough boys sang their own praises in the course of their procession through the streets on ‘Plough Monday’ (the first Monday after Twelfth Night).


The Beatitudes – Tune: Verdure
Set to a tune adapted from the Aria ‘With Verdure Clad’, in ‘The Creation’ by Joseph Haydn. The setting is taken from The Centenary Tunebook, c 1860.


Psalm 128 – The Wedding Psalm
No wedding was complete without singing the wedding psalm, and this version is taken from Jonathan Gibbons’ MS book, from Castor, nr Peterborough, 1786.  It is a resetting by William East in 1750 of an earlier tune written by Michael Beesly of Wootton, Oxfordshire, in 1746.


The Scene shifts as attitudes harden following the increased tensions arising from inequalities of opportunity, and increased taxation. Riots are contemplated following the imposition by the Corn Laws of a tax on imported grain and a disastrous harvest in 1816 which leads to food riots across Britain.


The Riot – Or, ‘Half a Loaf is Better than No Bread’
the words of part of a Broadside Ballad dating from the first half of the 18th century, which contemplates rioting but eventually, after 13 verses, counsels against such action.


The Poor Man’s Prayer
The Poor Man’s Prayer, The Farmer’s Prayer and the Corn-Merchant’s Prayer were all Broadside Ballads published between 1811 and 1842, to be sung or said on ‘sundry occasions’. The first has been set to ‘Hanover’ by William Croft, (c1700), a tune well known to both town and country dwellers in the first part of the 19th century.  Please join in!!


Executions were commonplace, and were quite often watched by the public and reported in great detail.  Col. Edward Marcus Despard, a celebrated and decorated British infantry officer, was executed as a traitor in 1803 for plotting to establish a republic. The story of Despard’s execution is a window into a remarkable period of British history; a time when democracy was undergoing its birth pangs.


Winterbourne Tune – Part of the burial service paraphrased by Henry Price.
Winterbourne Tune is a beautiful setting from the repertoire of the great Dorset composer of Country Psalmody, William Knapp. One of the most important functions of the old church bands was to play for funerals, and there is a huge body of funeral hymns, psalms and anthems which includes some of the most powerful of the entire West Gallery repertoire. The words are by Knapp's old friend Henry Price, "The Poet Laureate of Poole", whose father kept the pub just behind the church where Knapp was parish clerk. 


Go, feeble tyrant
This is a glee by William Jackson of Exeter (1730-1803), who wrote secular music as well as being organist of Exeter Cathedral from 1777. Despite being extremely critical of the way that catches and glees were both written and performed, he was not above writing some himself, presumably to show how it should be done.


This Scene reflects on local malefactors from Northampton and Sulgrave, and the smock gang from Leamington Priors, but gets dramatically interrupted . . .


Round – London’s burning!       Please join in !


Next we consider Gordon’s ‘peaceful march’ on Parliament, the passing of the Catholic Relief Act of 1778,  and the ensuing riots and fires which led to extensive damage in London aimed against Catholics, and attempts to set fire to the Bank of England. This then leads to the Priestley riots in Birmingham in 1791, which continued unchecked for four days before the militia were finally summoned and arrived to quell them. As a result, local men were sentenced at Warwick Assizes to execution.  


A Hymn on Gunpowder Plot  -  Composer unknown.
This little three-part piece, the words attributed to ‘Mr Dodderidge’, was found as a manuscript addition to a printed book of Psalmody in Warwick Record Office, once owned by Jonathan Sodin. Sodin apparently was a subscriber to a book of Parochial Psalmody by John Alcock printed in Walsall in 1777, at which time he lived in Comb-Fields [between Coventry and Rugby,] Warwickshire.


Psalm XL to Balldock Tune – by the little known Northampton church composer, Benjamin West.
Little known and little performed, this psalm tune has probably not been heard in public since 1760!


Brailes – Come thou fount of every blessing, set by William Groves Perry, Warwick’s local church composer, whose music can be brilliant and very ‘singable’. Organist at Cow Lane Chapel, (which became Brook Street Chapel) as was his father William Perry, their joint book of hymns runs to over 100 tunes. Please join in !


Attention finally turns to the local Militia, as local ladies watch them drilling before church service.


God Save King George! 
The second verse, ‘When insults rise to wars, Oak-hearted British Tars . . .’   Please join in !


See the Conquering Hero comes    -    please join in with the words on the screen !




The Second Half opens in Braintree, near Boston, in Massachusetts, at that time part of the English Colonies and known as a Commonwealth. The scene is quiet rebellion in the Quire and the ousting of the old Precentor, but moves on to consideration of the taxes levied on the colonists by the Chancellor of the Exchequer far across the Atlantic. From there, it quickly moves on to local uprisings against the British Government, the ‘Bloody Boston Massacre’, and the dumping of large cargoes of tea from three ships in Boston harbour as a further rebellion against what was seen as unjust taxation.


York Tune and St David’s Tune
Examples of early psalmody, as sung by both English and early American quires and congregations.


Young Ladies in Town
This song first appeared in print in a Boston Newsletter in 1769, as a result of the Townshend Acts of 1767 which levied further taxation on British lead paint, glass and tea. Sung in unison to the tune ‘The Miller of Dee’.


The Liberty Song
Sung to the well-known tune ‘Hearts of Oak’, the American words were first published in the Boston Gazette in 1768, and were written by Mrs Mercy Otis Warren of Plimoth, Massachusetts. Please join in!


Hymn – ‘Washington’ – Lord when thou didst ascend on high
The tune is by William Billings, and the words are by Isaac Watts, 1719. It first appeared in Billings's The Singer Master's Assistant, Boston, 1778, and its first publication in England was in 1805, when Dr Addington’s 13 former publications of Psalm and Hymn Tunes were republished ‘with additions’.


The Scene now moves to the Revolutionary War itself, with General Gage’s closure of the Port of Boston, the arrival of Generals Howe, Clinton and Burgoyne together with numerous British troops, Paul Revere’s midnight ride, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Independence of the Thirteen States.

Voted the runner up to the eventual tune for the American National Anthem, Chester was written by William Billings in 1778 and quickly became used by the American militia for the anti-British words which we will sing.


Bunker Hill
Set to a poem by Nathaniel Niles and music by Andrew Law, this tune was first published in 1781, a little over five years after the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, during which time British troops razed the neighbouring settlement of Charlestown to the ground with great loss of life.


God Save the Thirteen States
This is a parody of the British National Anthem, but even so, please join in !!


This tune by the English composer Thomas Arne, from his opera ‘Artaxerxes’, has been used for the 12 metrical verses Psalm 2 New Version which could very well have been sung as further complaints against the British and as a final appeal to the Almighty for victory over the British enemy.


The Final Surrender of British troops on American soil was on 19 October 1781, and George III received the first Ambassador of the United States of America in London in 1785.


Glee – Peace to the Souls of the Heroes
"Peace," said Cuthullin, "to the souls of the heroes! their deeds were great in fight. Let them ride around me on clouds. Let them show their features in war. My soul shall then be firm in danger; mine arm like the thunder of heaven! But be thou on a moonbeam, O Morna! near the window of my rest; when my thoughts are of peace; when the din of arms is past.”  The music is by John Wall Calcott (1766-1821).


The Arethusa - with additional words in honour of George III’s Golden Jubilee
Please join in the words on the overhead screen !



Immanuel’s Ground, Warwick’s west gallery quire

is a costumed group of singers and instrumentalists who perform music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, reviving the psalmody and hymnody of the rural parish church from around 200 years ago, so much beloved of Thomas Hardy and exemplified in his novels and poetry. This raw and exciting music is genuinely "music of the people" and also found its way into the independent chapels, before being lost and almost forgotten by the beginning of the twentieth century. Our repertoire also includes secular music from the Georgian period and psalmody from the American tradition in the same era, taking to heart the instruction of John Wesley to "sing lustily and with good courage".

Formed in Autumn 2001, the Quire currently has some 30 singers, plus one or two instruments on each part (SATB).  Members of the Quire come from all over the Heart of England and meet to rehearse at Northgate Methodist Church, Warwick, on the second, fourth and fifth Wednesdays of each month. The Quire has appeared at events sacred and secular, including church services, carol concerts, the Bromsgrove Proms, Harvest Festival day at Cogges Rural Museum, Witney, and the Nelson bicentenary celebrations at Burton Dassett church. We also run an annual Workshop Day featuring music by local composers, and another on local carols. On the educational side, we have helped create a music and history video for schools, and are working with a local music hub in order to develop curriculum materials for schoolchildren.

As a West Gallery Quire, we are available for services of Evensong from the Prayer Book, concerts of English and American Psalmody, and as Christmas approaches, carol concerts, services, workshops, etc.  For more information go to  or telephone Julie on 01926 - 512340.