The organists of St Peter's Church, Nottingham

I am grateful to Andrew Abbott, the Organist of St Mary's Church, who provided the original list of organists since 1818 from the research he carried out for his book on the organs and organists of St Mary's, and the information from the Thoroton Society records. This page is still "in progress", and all suggestions and corrections would be welcome.

Earliest history

There are two references to organists in the Thoroton Society Record Series VII - "Account Books of the Gilds of St. George and St. Mary in the Church of St. Peter".

  • 1481-1482
    And for 5s paid to the organist (lusori ad organa) in the aforesaid Church in this year.
  • 1516/17 - 1517/18
    And for 6s 11d paid to Robert Dowse, organist, at the requst of the greater part of the parishioners, in augmentation of his salary.

Organists in the nineteenth century

  • Miss King 1818-1825 (possibly longer)
  • Miss Price c.1834
  • William Archer c.1834
  • Mrs Cooper c.1840
  • Mr Woolley c.1844
  • R G Parr 1854-1858 (possibly longer)
  • W Selby c.1862
  • T L Selby c.1864
  • W Selby 1866-1879 (possibly longer)
  • Lawrence J Norman c.1901

Vincent W Trivett (organist 1906-1947)

Born 1882, educated at Nottingham. First solo-boy at St Mary's Parish Church, Nottingham 1893-95. Organist of Lady Bay Church, West Bridgford 1901-06. Teacher of pianoforte, organ and harmony. Member of the RCO. Recreations: hockey & tennis. Oversaw organ rebuilding in 1911 by Lloyd. Gave the Trivett cup for progress and effort among junior choristers, and left money in his will for the establishment of the Trivett Music Scholarships. Was still a church warden in 1952 during the 1952 organ rebuild.

Harold E F Bebbington (organist 1947-52)

Oversaw organ rebuilding in 1952 by E. Wragg & Sons when material was added from the organ of St Columba's, Mansfield Road. After leaving St Peter's, Harold took the post of Organist at St John's, Carrington and then at St Andrew's, following Mr Henneker. He then moved to a school in Grantham as a teacher of general studies. Following this appointment he moved to St Mary's Convent, Wantage, as Director of Music. This is an Anglican convent where all the sisters are graduates. Following this appointment he was a lecturer at the College of Further Education in Reading, and played as a voluntary organist at the Parish Church there. He also did some teaching work at Reading prison. He then moved to Kingston-on-Thames College as Senior Lecture, helping various local churches when requested, until his retirement back to Nottingham in the early 1980s. He died in 1998.
Information courtesy of Mrs Audrey Bebbington.

Cyril Whitehead (organist 1952-53)

Appointed "from many applicants" with "long experience of the needs of St Peter's". However, his tenure lasted less than a year and he left to become Organist at St Mary's Church, Wollaton Park, Nottingham (or possibly a job swap with Douglas Madden at St Peter's, Ruddington, according to another account).

Douglas Madden (organist 1953-57)

Educated at High Pavement School, Nottingham and served in the RAF. His degree was in maths and he taught this subject at High Pavement. Had been assistant to Mr Hodgson at St Mary's Church, Nottingham, and later the organist of St Peter's Church, Ruddington, before he took up his post on the first Sunday in July 1953 "after the annual Southwell visit". In his time the choir gave annual performances of the Passions, Christmas Oratorio and Messiah. Began the catalogue of anthems and service music. Left St Peter's when he was appointed Head of Maths at a school in Welwyn Garden City, but retained an interest in St Peter's during his retirement and always called in when in Nottingham.

Kendrick Partington (organist 1957-94)

Kendrick PartingtonEducated at High Pavement School, Nottingham, about 5 years junior to Douglas Madden. After service in the Royal Navy he read Modern Languages and Music at Downing College Cambridge, becoming President of the College Music Society. Assistant Director of Music at Malvern College and then Director of Music at Wellington School, Somerset. In 1957 returned to Nottingham as Director of Music at Nottingham High School and Organist of St Peter's. Instituted a Choral Bursary scheme. Founded the St Peter's Singers. Established the W L Sumner Memorial Organ Recitals and started the biennial Coffee Break Concerts which showcase the abilities of young local musicians. Oversaw overhaul revoicing and additions to the organ by Henry Willis & Sons in 1964, and another overhaul and revoicing by Hill Norman & Beard in 1983 when the console was moved down to the dais. Took the choir on many cathedral trips, including a weekend at St George's Chapel, Windsor, and both St Pauls and Gloucester Cathedrals in 1993. Retired from the High School in 1986 but remained as Organist at St Peter's until 1994. Gave the Partington Cup for good attendance by a junior chorister. After retirement has continued his career as organ recitalist, accompanist and composer. A Founder Trustee of the Restoration Fund for the Binns Organ of the Albert Hall, Nottingham.

Gary Sieling (organist 1994-95)

Read for his BMus at London University, gained an MA in Performance at Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge, and studied organ with Nicholas Danby, Dr Peter le Huray, Jane Parker-Smith and Nicholas Kynaston. Held a number of teaching and church music posts before coming to St Peter's, including Assistant Master of Music at Peterborough Cathedral. Highlights of his time with us included a visit to Ely cathedral and a televised service on Ascension Day during which the choir gave an impressive performance of Palestrina's "O Rex Gloriae". Left to continue his freelance career as organ and harpsichord recitalist, composer, conductor, teacher and examiner, and is now also the Director of Music at St Mary with St Martin, Stamford, Lincolnshire.

Andrew Teague (organist 1995-2003)

Andrew TeagueBorn in Haslemere in 1951 and brought up on the Isle of Wight. Studied the organ at Portsmouth Cathedral with Peter Stevenson, read music at Worcester College, Oxford, and went on to hold teaching and organists posts in England and Canada, including St Bartholomew's Church, Brighton and St Matthew's Church, Ottawa, Canada. Moved back to England in 1995 to become the Director of Music at St Elphin's School in Darley Dale and Organist of St Peter's. Continued to broaden our repertoire beyond basic Anglican church music with pieces by composers like Tippett, Fauré and Messiaen, and introduced the singing of a choral mass setting on the third Sunday of the month. Maintained the biennial Coffee Break concerts and developed links with students at Nottingham University as Choral Scholars and Music Associates. The high point of his tenure as Organist was when the choir sang the services at Chichester Cathedral for a whole week in August 2000. Left in March 2003 to become Organist and Master of the Choristers at Bradford Cathedral.

Philip Collin (organist 2003 onwards)

Philip CollinPhilip was a chorister at Southwell Minster, where he studied the organ under Paul Hale. He read music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge where he was organ scholar, and gained a postgraduate diploma in piano accompaniment at the Guildhall. Philip is also the accompanist of the Nottingham Bach Society and works as a freelance music teacher.

Mike Leuty, Assistant Organist
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 28th January 2006