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This programme was developed for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, and of the state funeral which took place in St. Paul's Cathedral on 9th January 2006. We gave the concert seven times in 2005, including some for Sea Britain.

The music for Nelson's funeral service was offered for sale by subscription, and we have the copy which was bought by Dr. William Horsley, 1774-1858. We have sung and played all of the funeral music at various times, and this programme uses two pieces from it.

Apart from certain well-known passages, our script quotes from various other sources, not generally published. The programme is in two halves of about 45 minutes each.

Our programmes are continually improved, and different music may be substituted from time to time.

Nelson’s March

From a Widecombe MS. One of few such pieces to survive with instrumental parts.

A Catch for 3 Voices

This nautical catch came from the MS book of Annie Hern, now lost. [mp3]

Psalm 69 New Version

Words by Tate & Brady. Copied by our friend Claire Willman from Twelve Psalm Tunes and Eight Anthems in Score, composed by Stephen Jarvis of Dartmouth, and published between 1798 & 1823. We thank Claire for permission to use it.

Psalm 107 New Version

Psalm 107, verse 23, begins "They that go down to the sea in ships..." and is heard at many nautical services. The metrical words are by Tate & Brady. Tune: Doversdale by Samuel Stanley, 1767-1822. This variant is from the MS of Henry Hoddinott of Frome.

The Standing Toast

Words and music by Charles Dibdin, 1745-1814. He studied as a boy chorister and organist at Winchester Cathedral, and became famous as a composer and performer in the London theatres and at Vauxhall Gardens. Also called The lass that loves a sailor, this is supposed to be the last song he wrote. The audience joins in the chorus.

Long Live King George

A loyal catch by William Boyce, 1711-79, published in T. Warren’s Collection of 1763.

College Hornpipe

Our own arrangement of this well-known tune, also known as the Sailor’s Hornpipe.

Dance: Portsmouth

The melody and dance are from John Playford’s English Dancing Master, 11th edition, 1701. We have arranged the tune for our band.

The Battle of the Nile March

This brisk march occurs in several MSS and printed sources. Our setting comes from a band MS used in Widecombe and neighbouring villages.

Britons, Strike Home

This is Henry Purcell’s song for the Chief Druid from Bonduca, 1695, sung even more often than Hearts of Oak (Boyce) when the Royal Navy went into battle.

Hearts of Oak

Words by David Garrick, music by William Boyce. [mp3]

The Death of Nelson

This showpiece was written in 1811 by John Braham, 1774-1856, who had a long and colourful career as a tenor and celebrity. He cared more about giving himself the opportunity for a dramatic performance than he did for historical accuracy. Our arrangement for choir is by Mike Bailey.


Lord Nelson’s Hornpipe

The tune has this name in the Thomas Hardy family MSS, and a number of other names in other sources. We play our own arrangement.

Dirge to the Memory of Lord Viscount Nelson

By Thomas Attwood (1765-1838). At 9 years old he joined the choir of the Chapel Royal, where he was noticed by the Prince of Wales (later George IV), and was invited to Buckingham Palace. In 1785 he was sent to Vienna to study with Mozart, who was complimentary about his playing. On his return to London he worked in the theatre, and in 1796 became organist and subsequently Vicar Choral at St. Paul's Cathedral, holding this post until his death.

The Barley Mow

The audience joins in this traditional Hampshire version of this widespread cumulative song extolling the people involved in the crop and its journey to the tankard.

Conquest in Death (Rule Britannia)

Our setting, ca.1815, of Thomas Arne’s tune is by Vincent Novello, 1781-1861, organist at the Portuguese Embassy chapel in London, together with Arne’s introduction. James Thomson’s original words are here replaced by some verses "sung at a dinner given by a Noble Lord to the Volunteers of his District, Dec 5, 1805", and printed in The Gentlemen's Magazine, Jan 1806. The concert programme contains the words for the audience to join in.

The Dead March in Saul

Handel wrote Saul in 1738-9, and the Dead March is one of the great funeral marches, used on many occasions, including Nelson’s progress from Westminster to St. Paul’s.


Thomas Attwood was organist in St. Paul's for Nelson’s funeral service on 9th January 1806, for which he composed this Magnificat and a matching Nunc Dimittis. We used both Canticles in several Evensongs in 2005.

Anthem on Psalm 39

Dr. Maurice Greene, 1696-1755, was Master of the King’s Musick, and composed 40 church anthems. This anthem was sung at George II’s state funeral, and then Nelson’s. Greene wrote much of his music in an accomplished baroque style, and the 1806 edition still uses soprano, alto, tenor and bass clefs, rather old-fashioned by then.

Song on Nelson’s Funeral Procession (God Save the King)

"A new song on the grand funeral procession of the late Gallant Lord Nelson." These words are among many special verses written quickly for special occasions, and as quickly forgotten. As with Rule Britannia, it was very common for additional verses to appear in newspapers and broadsheets.

Stand to Your Guns

Thomas Carter, 1734-1804, wrote many successful operas and dramatic pieces, and when times were hard is said to have forged and sold "Handel" manuscripts. Stand to your Guns was originally a solo piece and this arrangement for choir is by Mike Bailey. Thomas Carter’s tune Guardian Angels is supposed by some to be the original for Thomas Olivers’ and Martin Madan’s Helmsley.

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