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Some Highlights of Tickhill’s Musical Past
A Summary of the Attached Paper by Philip L. Scowcroft

While we know little or nothing about the beginnings of music in Tickhill, we can imagine, bearing in mind the town’s importance in medieval times, that minstrels entertained the Castle garrison, the villagers amused themselves with folk dancing, and hymns were sung in the Parish Church of St Mary’s.

The documented scene down the years affords rich variety with visiting instrumentalists, choral music, church music, brass bands and a thriving concert society.

St. Mary’s Church hosted the first notable music event, of which we have a record, with a performance of the Messiah in 1792.

Mrs Susan Sunderland By the 1830s important secular concerts were taking place in Tickhill, most of them perhaps in the Concert Room used for the Festival of 1818 and whose location is not clear, but may be in Northgate. In March 1858 at Tickhill Institute, two noted singers of the day, Henry Phillips and Mrs Susan Sunderland (‘Yorkshire’s Queen of Song’), appeared together.
Church choir Tickhill had its own Choral Society at least as early as 1832. We hear of the Tickhill Harmonic Society in 1849 (same organisation, new name?) and the Tickhill Choral Society (1880) with many concerts by them noted. They remained active until 1968. In the 1960s, Tickhill and District Male Voice Choir came into prominence. The Choir of Tickhill Parish Church has existed on a formal basis for well over a century.
The late Victorian period saw the establishment of a brass band, or bands, in Tickhill. The Tickhill Victoria Brass Band was probably formed at the end of 1865, launched in the wake of a considerable surge of enthusiasm for brass bands in the Doncaster area from the 1850s. Later known as the Tickhill Victoria Silver Jubilee band, it continued until about 1938.
Boy with brass instrument

Visits by brass bands were enjoyed in Tickhill after the Second World War. Perhaps the most prestigious visitors were a Band of the Royal Marines who performed in the grounds of Tickhill Castle as part of the 1990 Tickhill Extravaganza. The Castle venue was used periodically for outdoor performances over the previous century thanks to the generosity of successive tenants at Castle House.

St Mary's pipe organ St Mary’s acquired a pipe organ in 1831 following several decades when instrumentalists installed on a wooden gallery at the west end of the Church accompanied the singing. The present organ of St Mary’s dates originally from 1857 and was rebuilt and updated in 1965. As well as a series of long-serving organists accompanying worship at St Mary’s, visiting organists have played in a variety of concerts.
The Church bells of St Mary’s have been part of community life at least since the 17th Century. Six bells were cast in 1726 and a ‘Tinker Bell’ added the following year. Two new bells were installed in 1897 when a device was also added to ring out tunes at four-hourly intervals from midnight. The tunes change each day on a weekly rota. Over the years, teams of bell ringers have rung peals of bells to call people to worship and to mark local and national celebrations.
Bell ringer

In 1977, the Tickhill and District Music Society was launched to foster the appreciation of music through concerts, talks and musical evenings. Its 300th concert was given in October 2005 and the Society continues to attract a wide variety of visiting musicians performing to the highest standards.

For fuller details, please see attached article which also credits the photographs used: Highlights of Tickhill's Musical Past


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