This week’s blog is a sort of personal journey for me as I want to talk about my double great Grandad Frederick Staton and his life.
I’d love to start with a picture of Frederick but I don’t have one and he probably never had his picture taken. Frederick was born in Eckington, Derbyshire in 1840 to William Staton and Sarah Hunt. He was their 5 child of the 7 they would have. William was a sickle grinder as many were in the village. Frederick lived in Eckington until 1861 when he moved to Worksop, Nottinghamshire.
Frederick’s musical career was first mentioned in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent in 1860 when it was reported that he and his elder brother William played a piano duet to raise money for the Eckington Mechanical Institute. They played Hummel’s in E flat and if you’re interested this link will take you to a video of it being played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98vEOJ0IHwE
On the 1861 census when Frederick was still living at home in Eckington he listed his occupation as professor of music. In 1867 Frederick also took part in a concert to raise money for Ridgeway School and this was also mentioned in the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent and the article mentioned he played with “taste and marvellous execution”. He was described as the organist at Worksop Priory.
It was while in Worksop Frederick met his future wife Annie Taylor who was the daughter of the landlady of the Cross Keyes Inn in the town. Frederick and Annie married in August 1871 and had 4 children together. Sadly the marriage wasn’t long as Frederick died in April 1879 from hepatitis aged 39. His youngest son, my great grandad was just shy of his first birthday. It was from Frederick’s burial record that I discovered just how long Frederick had been the organist at Worksop Priory. The notes to the burial stated he was 18 years organist at the Abbey Worksop where he is also buried.
To be the organist at the Abbey would have been a great honour for Frederick and would have indicated his high level of skill on the instrument. From a list of the previous organists of the Abbey it would appear Frederick was one of the longest serving organists they had. I wonder how long he would have held the position if he hadn’t died so young.
So what of the Abbey itself. Well in 1103 Worksop Abbey was begun to be built and it remained a monastery of the Augustinian monks until 1539 when it surrendered to the crown during the dissolution of the monasteries. After this the church building of the Abbey was used as the parish church of Worksop.
The above picture shows the organ at the priory, but alas this is not the organ Frederick would have used. This organ was installed in 1879 so it is possible Frederick new about the new organ, whether he used it is not known.
What I would like to know is what took place to get Frederick and his brother William to become professors of music. Who influenced them to take up music and rise to such heights? Frederick’s brother William was described in 1866 as being from Norwich Cathedral so they had both achieved great things in their chosen field. Did one of their parents or grandparents play and taught them or did the local church organist teach them to play. I suppose I’ll never know but however it came about I am proud of them for breaking into such a field as a time when they probably thought the only occupation open to them was to enter the grinding works in the area or going down the coal mines. Whoever inspired them gave them a huge chance in life and from that chance gave Frederick’s children a chance as his 2 sons both became dentists.
Maybe that’s why Frederick’s granddaughter encouraged her children to learn the piano and I learnt as well. Who knows, but I’m glad the brother’s had a chance to do something so different for everyone else.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!