Posts Tagged ‘John Smith’

John Smith

November 24, 2015

John Smith was a composer of psalms and anthems for country choirs. He was based in Market Lavington and was composing in the 1740s. This makes him, roughly speaking, a contemporary of Handel and Bach.

His music is for singing with two to four part harmony.

We have met him before on this blog when a local resident and friend had been able to borrow a combined volume of all three of his works. Actually, surviving copies are almost as rare as hen’s teeth, but a very lovely web site at have digitised the three volumes and made them available for download. We have taken advantage of this at Market Lavington Museum to produce our own 21st century reprints of these 18th century Market Lavington pieces of music.

This is the front cover of volume two.

Music from the 1740s by John Smith of Market Lavington

Music from the 1740s by John Smith of Market Lavington

Let’s see a bit of his music.

Psalm 25 by John Smith

Psalm 25 by John Smith

Back in 2010 we had one of John’s pieces performed at our Museum Miscellany. Maybe we can get some more performed in 2016

John Smith’s notebook

November 15, 2015

It was back in March 2010 that we last took a look at a wonderful notebook that was found when Market Place houses were demolished in about 1960.

The notebook did eventually get to where we think it belongs – at our very own local museum. The names and dates in this simple exercise book tell us that John Smith owned it and used it in the year 1796. It could almost have the look of a modern day note book, with scribbles and doodles interspersed with more measured writing and arithmetic.

Here’s a sample page.

A page from John Smith's 1796 note book

A page from John Smith’s 1796 note book

It’s a real mishmash of doodles with some hard to read writing.


We are asked to ‘steal not this book’.


Here we have, with youthful mis-spelling, the Prince of Wales. This would have been the future King George IV.


A typical boy sketch of some kind of fight. No words seem to explain this.

This is very much one of the treasures of Market Lavington. It’s a real shame we can’t identify who John Smith was.