Born: No­vem­ber 15, 1774, May­fair, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: June 12, 1858, Ken­sing­ton, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Buried: Ken­sal Green Ce­me­te­ry, Lon­don, Eng­land.



William was the fa­ther of Charles Hors­ley.

He stu­died mu­sic pri­vate­ly, then be­came or­gan­ist of Ely Cha­pel, Hol­born, Lon­don, in 1794. He as­sist­ed Dr. John Wall Call­cott (who en­cour­aged him in per­se­ver­ing at Glee-writ­ing, at which he be­came suc­cess­ful) as or­gan­ist of the Asy­lum for Fe­male Or­phans, and mar­ried Call­cott’s daugh­ter.

He suc­ceed­ed Call­cott in 1802, hold­ing that post 52 years. A dif­fer­ence of opin­ion with the Asy­lum Com­mit­tee led to him be­ing dis­missed.

In 1838 he be­came or­gan­ist of Char­ter­house at a sal­a­ry of £70 and a room set apart and a fire pro­vid­ed when ne­ces­sa­ry for his use on those days up­on which his duty re­quires his at­tenda­nce at the Hos­pi­tal.

He found­ed the Lon­don Phil­har­mo­nic So­cie­ty, and in lat­er years was a close friend of Fe­lix Men­dels­sohn.

J. C. Horsley, the em­i­nent paint­er, re­lates in his Re­mi­nis­cenc­es the fol­low­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when he went with his fa­ther to one of the ser­vic­es:

When I was four years old my father was or­gan­ist to the Asy­lum for Fe­male Or­phans, which was a state­ly build­ing on the West­min­ster Bridge Road; and one Sun­day he took me in with him to the morn­ing ser­vice and land­ed me in the or­gan-loft. Ev­ery­thing was new and sur­pris­ing to me, es­pe­cial­ly the crowd of bux­om girls, at least a hund­red in num­ber, all dressed alike, ranged right and left of the or­gan, and who, when the or­gan had played a bar or two of the op­en­ing hymn, sang out with open mouths and such en­er­gy that I was po­si­tive­ly scared, and in con­ti­nent­ly ac­com­pa­nied the per­for­mance with a pro­longed howl; up­on which my fa­ther, con­tin­u­ing to play the ac­com­pa­ni­ment with one hand, sup­plied me prompt­ly with pa­per out of his ca­pa­cious pock­et, where he al­ways kept a store of backs of let­ters (en­ve­lopes were not in­vent­ed then), and a sil­ver pen­cil-case of he­ro­ic pro­por­tions, thus qu­iet­ing me.

Lightwood, pp. 171–72