Born in Wingfield near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Greatorex as a youngster studied with Benjamin Cooke, organist of Westminster Abbey, and was a protégé of the Earl of Sandwich. For four years he was organist of Carlisle Cathedral and from there went to live and work in Italy, where he became a friend of Charles Edward Stuart, or "Bonnie Prince Charlie." When the Young Pretender died in 1788, he left some of his music books to Greatorex, who returned to London the same year. He was soon in much demand as a music teacher and succeeded Joah Bates as conductor of the Concerts of Ancient Music. He also directed music festivals at Birmingham, York and Derby. In 1819, he succeeded George Ebenezer Williams as organist of Westminster Abbey.
His works as a composer include the anthem This is the Day the Lord Hath Made.
There is a story that King George IV, when Prince Regent, once said to Thomas Greatorex, "My father is Rex, but you are a Greater Rex".
- Kroeger, Karl (Summer 2008). "Leicester's Lady Organists, 1770–1800" (PDF). CHOMBEC News. Bristol: Centre for the History of Music in Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth (5): 9–10.
- Sadie, S. (ed.) (1980) The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, vol. 7.
- The Name of Greatorex
- Hymns Ancient and Modern. Richard Clay (The Chaucer press). 1986. ISBN 0-907547-37-0.
- The Noblemens and Gentlemen's Catch Club
George Ebenezer Williams
|Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey
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