November 12, 1866, Longton, Staffordshire, England.

June 10, 1952, Paignton, Devon, England.

Brixham, Devon, England (the former parish of Henry Lyte).

Challinor left school at ten years of age and went to work making bricks. Then, at twelve, he worked in a colliery—first on the surface, then full time underground. He then went into the pottery industry, and it was here his musical life began—he met a boy who had been a member of a workhouse band, and he gave Challinor instruction during their food breaks.

He studied harmony from books and took lessons when money became available. While still working full time, he studied for the Diploma examination of the Royal College of Music. After some setbacks, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in September 1897. In 1903 he received his doctorate; by this time he had over 400 compositions published, including the cantatas Judah in Babylon, The Gardens of the Lord, and Bethany. One of his best remembered works is a choral ode composed about 1930 for the centenary of Josiah Wedgwood (of china fame) at Hanley, near Stoke-on-Trent.

His biographer, Mary Wilkinson Freeman, writes that Challinor’s music belongs to a populace living in hard times; also that he was the champion of a religious folk tradition when writing music for the high spots of the year such as Sunday School Anniversaries.

Photo & biography from The Story of Normacot, by Mary Wilkinson Freeman (Leek, Staffordshire, England: Three Counties Publishing). Used by permission.

  1. Stories of Jesus

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