De­cem­ber 27, 1800, Fare­ham, Hamp­shire, Eng­land.

May 10, 1880, Brix­ton, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Ken­sal Green Ce­me­te­ry, Lon­don, Eng­land.


John was the son of Jo­seph Goss, or­gan­ist in Fare­ham.

He was a cho­ris­ter in the Cha­pel Roy­al un­der John Staff­ord Smith (1811), and af­ter­wards a pu­pil of Tho­mas Att­wood.

Goss com­posed most­ly church mu­sic. He was or­gan­ist at St. Luke’s, Chel­sea (1824) and St. Paul’s Ca­the­dral (1838–72). He was al­so a com­pos­er to the Cha­pel Roy­al (1856–72), and Pro­fes­sor of Har­mo­ny at the Roy­al Acad­e­my of Mu­sic for al­most half a cen­tu­ry. Queen Vic­tor­ia knight­ed him in 1872, and Cam­bridge Un­i­ver­si­ty award­ed him a Doc­tor of Mu­sic degree in 1876.

In the Mu­sic­al Times for 1901 Dr. Ho­pkins has giv­en some in­ter­est­ing rem­in­is­cenc­es.

‘Goss had not long been in­stalled be­fore he dis­cov­ered that the or­gan stood in need of the ad­di­tion of a few use­ful stops, so he took the op­por­tun­i­ty, af­ter one of the week-day ser­vic­es, of ask­ing the Ca­non whe­ther these de­sir­a­ble al­ter­a­tions might be made. Mr. Goss, sol­emn­ly re­plied Syd­ney Smith, what a strange set of crea­tures you or­gan­ists are! First you want the bull stop, then you want the tom-tit stop; in fact you are like a jad­ed old cab-horse, al­ways long­ing for an­oth­er stop!

‘In the Psalms,’ con­tinues Dr. Hop­kins, ‘when­ev­er there oc­curred any ref­er­ence to storms and tem­pest, the or­gan used to give forth a deep roll, to the great de­light of good Miss Hack­ett, who would look up at the in­stru­ment with a smile of in­tense sa­tis­fac­tion. On one oc­ca­sion, when the psalms had been unu­su­al­ly full of ref­er­enc­es to at­mo­spher­ic dis­turb­anc­es, and the or­gan had been de­mon­stra­tive to an un­u­su­al de­gree, this good la­dy’s face had been beam­ing al­most in­cess­ant­ly. Af­ter the ser­vice Syd­ney Smith ac­cost­ed the or­gan­ist with this pro­found re­mark: Mr. Goss, I don’t know whe­ther you have ev­er ob­served this re­mark­a­ble phe­nom­e­non: when­ev­er your or­gan ‘thun­ders,’ Miss Hack­ett’s face ‘light­ens’!

Lightwood, p. 193–94

Goss’ works in­clude:

The mon­u­ment to Goss in the crypt of St. Paul’s Ca­thed­ral:

In remembrance of Sir John Goss, Knt., Mus.D., Cantab.;
Composer to H. M. Chapels Royal,
and for 34 years Organist and Vicar Choral of this Ca­thed­ral.
Born 27th December 1800. Died 10th May 1880.
His genius and skill are shewn in the various compositions
with which he has enriched the music of the church.
His virtues and kindness of heart endeared him to his pupils and friends,
who have erected this monument in token of their admiration and esteem.

  1. Advent
  2. Armageddon
  3. Arthur’s Seat
  4. Bevan
  5. Goss
  6. Humility
  7. Israel
  8. Lauda An­i­ma
  9. Peterborough
  10. Rothley
  11. Salvator
  12. St. Cy­pri­an