Born: Between January 1 and 13, 1760, Canterbury, England.
Died: January 18, 1806.
Buried: Bunhill Fields, London, England. Buried with him are the great-grandparents of J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.
William was the son of farrier Thomas Shrubsole.
Shrubsole was a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral for seven years. He became organist at Bangor Cathedral around 1780, but his sympathies for the
dissenters were not well received there, as evidenced by these records:
October 1783. Mr. William Shrubsole, the organist of the Church, having given great offence to the Dean and Chapter, by his close connexion with one Abbot, late of this place, as by his frequenting conventicles, that Mr. Dean be impowered to discharge the said William Shrubsole from his place of organist, if the said Abbot (who is supposed to have gone to reside in Dublin), shall at any time hereafter return in order to abide in the town of Bangor, or the neighbourhood thereof, or if the said William Shrubsole shall be found to frequent any conventicle or religious assembly, where anything is taught which is contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Church of England.
December 1783. That William Shrubsole be employed to play on the organ of our Cathedral Church till Lady-day next and no longer; that in case it should not be convenient for him to continue in that employment till Lady-day next, he shall be at liberty to leave it before that time, and shall be paid the full allowance to Lady-day next notwithstanding.
Lightwood, p. 167–68
After leaving Bangor, Shrubsole became organist at Spafields Chapel, London, in 1784, and remained there until his death.
According to Nutter, p. 465, this is a different man from William Shrubsole the hymn writer .
If you know where to get a good picture of Shrubsole (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels), would you send us an e-mail?