John Hussey

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Date published: 29/06/2014
© Newbury Weekly News

JOHN HUSSEY

SCHOOLMASTER AND CHOIRMASTER

Last week there passed away in the Craven-road, Newbury, one who had reached the advanced age of 77, and whose tastes, habits of life and old-fashioned appearance, marked him out as belonging to the past generation. Born in 1834, he was a native of Hughenden, in Bucks, rendered famous by the residence of Benjamin Disraeli, afterwards Earl of Beaconsfield. H e came of a well known Bucks family. He was trained as a schoolmaster and after his apprenticeship went to Somerton Training College, and afterwards held positions at Berkeley and Luckner. He was then appointed to the important post of headmaster in the Lambourn National Schools, which were erected at the cost of Robert Milman(?) who became vicar in 1551(?). John Hussey appreciated the work here, and ever afterwards spoke of the happy time he spent at Lambourn. After the removal of Mr. Milman in 1862, Mr. Hussey came to Newbury, acting as choirmaster and precentor at St. John's Church, which had lately been consecrated, and of which the Rev. T. Hubbard was vicar. He, however, was accustomed to return to Lambourn to train the Choral Society, which during the vicarate of the Rev. Henry Barter, was a flourishing institution, the concerts of the society proved greatly attractive, some of these being given in Newbury. It was however, in church music that Mr. Hussey excelled. Possessed of a powerful bass voice he led the singing and trained St. John's choir to no little ability. He particularly rejoiced in Gregorian music, for which St. John's at that time enjoyed a reputation, and under his fostering care, the choir attained to considerable merit in part singing. Coincident with his duties at St. John's and with assistance of his wife, he conducted a business in the Market Place for the sale of pianos and music, but had to give way in face of modern competition. He also acted as correspondent for a local paper, and in that capacity became an attendant at public gatherings.

A personal friend of the late Mr. Hussey writes: Two years ago the late Mr. Hussey suffered a paralytic seizure which confined him to his bed until the hand of death released him from his sad affliction on Friday last. During these two long and weary years the sufferer bore himself with exemplary patience. Mr. Hussey was a man of retiring and reserved disposition, and permitted himself to be known only by a small circle of friends, but none who were privileged to know him intimately cold not be impressed with his kindly disposition, his humility and his high Christian character. Of strong religious views, his religious views, his religion was to him a reality, and he entered heartily into the services of the Church of England. When in health he was to be found daily attending the morning prayers and he was particularly well informed in reference to ecclesiastical matters. He was a man of great information but never paraded his knowledge or obtruded his views in conversation with others. H is fondness for music, especially church music, was a marked characteristic of the deceased. Politics did not interest him greatly, but nevertheless he was a consistent Conservative.

Of a kindly sympathetic regard and respect of those who shared his confidences. A most pathetic incident connected with his illness was the death of his wife, to whom he was devotedly attached, whose life ebbed away as she was lying beside him. The memory of this sad event was always present with him, and he often expressed a desire that death would end his sufferings so that he might be re-united to the companion of his life. His dislike of ostentation was shown even at the last, when he desired that his coffin should not receive any floral adornments. His tombstone, designed by himself, was erected in Newbury Cemetery during his life, leaving only the date of his death to be cut in the stone.

One who knew him well, writes:- John Hussey was a very worthy man. A school teacher of the old time, he was of the pedagogic type, a the dead languages, familiar with his Latin liturgy and Greek Testament. His early days were spent under the influence of Bishop Milman, while vicar of Lambourn, and was well versed in ecclesiastical history. Although very staunch in his views as a churchman, he always had an inclination towards the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church.

For many years he was a regular attendant on Sunday mornings at St. Joseph's, taking part in the musical rendering in the service, and in the evening was always in his accustomed seat in the Parish Church, joining in the ringing with equal fervour. His knowledge of Latin enabled him to follow the Roman service with ease and understanding. Until illness prevented, Mr. Hussey was a regular attendant at the daily services at the Parish Church, and enjoyed the friendship and regard of the clergy of both English and Roman churches. During the time he was choirmaster at St. John's, the present organ was built, mainly to a specification drawn by him, and he superintended the building by Bevington, of London.

The excellent service rendered by the instrument for more than forty years justified Mr. Hussey's musical knowledge. The deceased was a skilful change ringer, joining the band of the Newbury Parish Church in 1867 when the church was restored and the band re-formed by Bishop Randall. In 1863 the band joined the Oxford Guild and he was appointed secretary, and from then till his health began to fail, everything he could do by personal service at the bell ropes, or by giving instruction to the younger members of the band, he spared neither time nor trouble. His favourite bell was the 7th, and he rang in several peals, as the peal records in the tower belfry show.

On going out of business, Mr Hussey did private teaching, and he was used to impart homely advice with his teaching. One of his maxims was that a boy with a shilling, a knife and a piece of string in his pocket was equipped for the ordinary emergencies of life. He was a stickler for discipline among choir boys, but they responded to him in after life.

For several years Mr. Hussey has been laid on a bed of sickness, and the death of his aged wife was a severe blow in the midst of his affection. So certain was he that they would not be long parted, that when the headstone was erected, he also had his own name inscribed thereon, leaving only the date to be filled in. His greatest consolation has been to receive the frequent visits of the clergy and to listen to their recital of the daily service in Latin.

His funeral service took place at St. Nicholas Parish Church, on Monday afternoon, the interment being afterwards at the Cemetery, in the same grave as his wife. The ceremony was conducted by the rector of Newbury, the Rev. L.R. Majendie. The Mourners were Mr William Hussey, of Hughenden (brother), Mrs. / Morris (niece) High Wycombe, Miss Edith Morris grand niece, Mr. Butler, W. Morris, Newbury, great nephew,

Among those present were Mr. Alderman Lucas, Mrs. Hassell, Mrs. H. Elm?, Rev. A. H. Barnes, Miss Robinson, Mr. Osgood, Mr. Edgar Stillman, Miss Sperring, Mr. James Pettit, Mr. D, Geater, Mrs. Cottrell, Mrs. Hayden, Miss Hassell, Mr. Jones, Mrs.Swayne, etc. etc.

The coffin was inscribed

JOHN HUSSEY

Born February 13, 1834

Died August 31, 1911

 

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. G.H. Hopson.

A muffled peel was given by the ringers before the ceremony, as a token of respect for one who had done so much to develop the art of campanology.

 

Newbury Weekly News 7 September 1911

 

Mrs P. p. 28 NE 6

 

Book 1899 page 213 record 8900

 

Wife Emma died Mar Q 1910 Newbury, aged 87

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 7 September 1911 and Mrs P

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