Edward Henry Purcell

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Edward Henry Purcell (died 1765), organist, printer, and music publisher, was the son of Edward Purcell, and grandson of the English Baroque master, Henry Purcell. He was a chorister in the Chapel Royal in 1737.[1] Upon the death of his father in 1740, he succeeded him as organist of St Clement, Eastcheap.

He was also organist of St Edmund, King and Martyr, between 10 September 1747 and 10 October 1753, from whence he became organist at St John, Hackney,[2] all the while retaining his post at St Clement's. (N.B. the present Hackney church is a later building). At Hackney he was rebuked for lightness and for irregular attendance.[3]

It may be that Edward Henry is the same Purcell, a printer, who was publishing music at the sign of the Handel's Head, Wood Street in 1751.[4]

Evidently Edward Henry was living very close to poverty at the end of his life, for it was noted in the 23 June 1761 edition of the London Gazette that he was being pursued for debt:

Purcell, Edward Henry: To compel Edward Henry Purcell, late of Mincing Lane, musician, to make a schedule of his estate and effects, as an insolvent debtor, prisoner in the King's Bench Prison, Surrey. Witness my hand the 22d day of June 1761, Henry Saffery.

He was buried, alongside his father, near the organ gallery in St Clement Eastcheap.[2]


  1. ^ Holman, Peter, and Thompson, Robert 'Edward Henry Purcell' in Grove Music Online (ed. L. Macy), <http://www.grovemusic.com>, accessed 15 March 2008
  2. ^ a b Dawe, Donovan 'Edward Purcell' in Organs and Organists of the City of London. Padstow: Dawe. 136.
  3. ^ 'Hackney: The Parish Church' in A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney (1995). 115–122. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22711. Date accessed: 24 March 2008
  4. ^ Humphries, Charles and Smith, William C. (1979) Music Publishing in the British Isles. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 265.