Charles Swinnerton Heap

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Charles Swinnerton Heap c. 1893

Charles Swinnerton Heap (10 April 1847 - 11 June 1900) was an English organist and composer.[1]


Born in Birmingham in 1847, he was educated at King Edward VI School, Birmingham. In 1862 he went to study under Dr. Edwin George Monk at York Minster. In 1865 he won the Mendelssohn Scholarship for young composers.

He then studied at the Leipzig Conservatoire, and then St John's College, Cambridge where he was awarded Mus Bac. in 1871 and Mus.D in 1872.[2]

In 1884 he was appointed Examiner for Music Degrees at his alma mater, Cambridge University. He later taught at the Royal College of Music where one of his notable pupils was organist Herbert Sanders.

He was a friend of Edward Elgar, who dedicated his Organ Sonata to him.[3]

His memorial was sculpted by Albert Toft, and is in Walsall Town Hall.

A printed booklet of his testimonials relating to his job application to be the organist at Birmingham Town Hall in 1868 is kept at the University of Birmingham, Cadbury Research Library.



His compositions include cantatas, anthems, songs, overtures, organ music.


  1. ^ British Musical Biography. Stephen Samuel Stratton and James Duff Brown 1897
  2. ^ "Heap, Charles Swinnerton (HP869CS)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ English Musical Renaissance, 1840-1940 By Meirion Hughes, Robert A. Stradling