Object Histories

By Peter Greener


For Christmas I was given the book ‘Music-Making in the Hertfordshire Parish 1760-1870’ (It does not get much more exciting than that). It gives a good oversight, taken from a wide range of original sources, of the efforts made to encourage music making and congregational singing. But of course one of the first thing one does with a book like this is to look through it for references of Ashwell.

I was surprised to read that Ashwell was not included in the list of parishes with evidence for a band as we have in the museum this fine CLARIONET which was donated in 1933 by Mr Pepper. The information given by Mr Pepper states that in the 1830s it was used by Thomas Waldock in Ashwell Church as part of the musical accompaniment provided before the installation of the organ (in 1868). There does not seem much hope of finding out more as I think the churchwardens accounts for that period are missing.

The clarionet is stamped on each section ‘Clementi & Co’ but they were probably only the retailers. The maker was likely to be George Wood whose mark is on the mouthpiece and was working in London between 1804 and 1822.


The most likely Thomas Waldock lived from 1802 - 1883. Information from the census returns imply he was an agricultural labourer living on the High Street.  


It would have been good to hear this lecture:

From Royston Crow   26 Oct 1883             

Choir supper given by rector and Mrs Hodgson. Rector spoke of history of musicians as accompaniment to choir then harmonium. Mr Chote, organist, thanked on behalf of choir.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Clarionet' page
This page was added on 08/02/2021.