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Orlando and Christopher Gibbons

In the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey is a black marble bust in memory of organist and composer Orlando Gibbons. It is a copy by A.G. Walker of the bust in Canterbury Cathedral and was presented in 1907 by the Worshipful Company of Musicians. The gilded inscription reads:

ORLANDO GIBBONS ORGANIST 1625

Orlando was born in Oxford and baptised in 1583. His parents William and Mary actually lived in Cambridge. His brothers were Edward, Ferdinando and Ellis. After serving as a chorister at King's College Cambridge he became a member of the Chapel Royal and probably took part in the coronation of James I in 1603. He was organist at the Chapel Royal 1604-1625 and court musician, writing songs, madrigals, keyboard music and anthems. In 1606 he married Elizabeth Patten and their children were James, Alice, Christopher, Ann, Mary, Elizabeth and Orlando. He was organist of Westminster Abbey 1623-1625. He died in Canterbury on 5th June 1625 and was buried in the cathedral there. His wife was buried in St Margaret's church Westminster on 2nd July 1626.

Christopher Gibbons

He was also an organist and composer and was baptised on 22nd August 1615 at St Margaret's Westminster and was in the choir at Exeter and possibly a chorister at the Chapel Royal. He served as organist at Winchester Cathedral from 1638 and then at Westminster Abbey 1660-1664 and was also Master of the Choristers 1664-1666. In 1646 he married Mary Kercher and she was buried on 15th April 1662 in the north cloister of the Abbey. He married secondly in 1655 widow Elizabeth Filbridge and they had five children. He was buried on 24th October 1676 in the Abbey cloisters but he has no marker or memorial.

Further reading

"Orlando Gibbons and the Gibbons family of musicians" by John Harley, 1999

"Orlando Gibbons. A short account of his life and work" by Edmund Fellowes, 1925

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - Christopher Gibbons

Died

5th June 1625

Field

Musician; composer

Location

North Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Bust

Material Type

Marble

Orlando and Christopher Gibbons
Christopher Gibbons

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Orlando and Christopher Gibbons
Orlando Gibbons

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

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Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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