Clark, Thomas

A musician, born in Canterbury, where he spent most of his life. Like his father, William Clark, he worked as a cordwainer, but spent every spare moment with music and became choirmaster at St. Peter's WM chapel, a post previously held by his father. He resigned his post in 1841 under the influence of Unitarianism and may then have joined the General Baptists. At the age of 27 he published the first of several sets of 'psalm and hymn tunes', adopting in 1830 the new title Sacred Gleaner. In 1837 he was co-editor of the popular Union Tune-Book for the Sunday School Union and his David's Harp (1843) contained settings of the whole Book of Psalms. He died in Canterbury on 30 May 1859.

His tune 'Cranbrook', set to Doddridge's hymn 'Grace, 'tis a charming sound', was sometimes sung to 'While shepherds watched their flocks by night', but, thanks to the Heptonstall Glee Club, has survived mainly as the music of 'Ilkley Moor baht 'at'. His nationwide reputation was clearly seen in the preface written by contemporaries for his Lyra Sacra (1840).

  • Harvey Wallace, Thomas Clark of Canterbury (Canterbury, 1983)
  • Oxford DNB

See also

Entry written by: PLC
Category: Person
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