Born: 1707, Hodd­les­den, Lan­ca­shire, Eng­land.

Died: Li­ver­pool, Eng­land. He re­port­ed­ly went to Li­ver­pool to sing in one of the church­es there, and sang un­til he burst a blood ves­sel.

Buried: St. Pe­ter’s Church, Li­ver­pool, Eng­land.


Harwood’s ear­ly train­ing was as a hand loom weav­er, but he sub­se­quent­ly be­came a pro­fes­sion­al mu­si­cian in Li­ver­pool.


His set­ting of Alex­an­der Pope’s The Dy­ing Chris­tian was enor­mous­ly po­pu­lar at one time, and was wide­ly per­formed at fun­er­als:

[Harwood] is­sued two sets of orig­in­al hymn-tunes. The first vol­ume con­tains the me­tri­cal an­them, Vi­tal spark of hea­ven­ly flame, for­mer­ly so po­pu­lar in coun­try church­es. The tra­di­tion­al ac­count of its or­i­gin is as fol­lows:

Harwood had been stay­ing in Lon­don, in com­pa­ny with Al­ex­an­der Reed, of Li­ver­pool; but when the time for their re­turn ar­rived, they found thems­elves with­out the means of dis­charg­ing the reck­on­ing at the inn. In this emer­gen­cy it was re­solved to com­pose some piece of mu­sic, and raise mo­ney up­on it.

What Reed at­tempt­ed in that di­rec­tion is not told, but Har­wood, tak­ing up a Col­lec­tion of po­et­ry which lay in the cof­fee-room, came across Pope’s Ode, which he im­me­di­ate­ly set to mu­sic, and tak­ing it to a pub­lish­er, sold the co­py­right for for­ty pounds. This re­lieved the friends from their em­bar­rass­ment, and brought them back to Li­ver­pool.

Some dif­fi­cul­ties oc­cur in con­nect­ion with the sto­ry which need not be spe­ci­fied.


Har­wood’s oth­er works in­clude:



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