Warwickshire's Church Bands

'Part book' of music for a church band in Warwickshire Museum collections. From Morton Morrell church, 1868.
Image courtesy of Louise Jennings
Recording of the Petersburgh hymn. A tune played by church bands until the second half of the 19th century.

Musicians have played in their local churches since Medieval times. From the 16th century church bands began to accompany services , which led to galleries being constructed to house musicians. Church goers would have regularly seen bassoonists, flautists, trumpeters and violinists huddled together.

Relatively short lived

Church bands were relatively short lived and by the second half of the 19th century they were being replaced  by the more ‘dignified’ accompaniments of choir and organ. As a consequence of this, churches all over the country had their galleries dismantled to make way for newly funded organs, which reflected these changing musical tastes.

A ‘part book’

Warwickshire Museum collections include instruments donated from  church bands at Moreton Morrell and Bishops Itchington and some of the written music they would have played. The music is presented in a ‘part book’, with four instrumental parts for each piece of music. The ‘part book’ in Warwickshire Museum’s collection came from Moreton Morrell  church around 1868. Some of the musical instruments in the collection also come from this church, and may have been used to play the music from the ‘part book’.

Tunes include some which were well known at the time, such as ‘Hanover’ and ‘Petersburgh’. There are also more local tunes – ‘Newbold’, ‘Warmington’ and ‘Broadway’.

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