(continued from previous issue)
There is no trace of Green's whereabouts or activities in the years between 1761 and 1768 (7). In the latter year he apparently became partner to John Byfield II. The early work of the partnership was predominantly in Oxford, which suggests that Greeks home links may have helped the partnership to become established. In 1770, Byfield and Green worked at Wigan, the furthest point they had ventured away from London. This was a significant job in that it paved the way for at least ten commissions for Green in later years in the South Lancashire-North Cheshire area.
In 1772, on 1st January, Green married Sarah Norton, the daughter of Eardley Norton, a noted maker of musical and astronomical clocks. They were married at St Andrew, Hoi born, and Green was described as 'organ-builder in Red Lion Street, Holborn1. Later that same year John Byfield must have'retired, for Green set up business under his own name, but still at Red Lion Street. To do this, he took up his freedom in the Clockmaker's Company on 29th September, 1772. Green's addresses for the next seventeen years are recorded in the quarterage books of the Clockmaker's Company. They were as follows (3):
1772-76 Red Lion Street, Holborn 1777 54 Theobolds Road 1778-1783/4 Queen's Row, Islington 1784-5 New Road, Islington 1786 Paddington Road 1789 (first i) Tedington [sic]
In 1780 Green made out his will, leaving everything to his wife, Sarah. The will was not witnessed at the time, and after Samuel's death it required a declar ation by two witnesses as to its authenticity before it could be proved. The Greens had two daughters (8) both born before 1780, as 'children' are mentioned in the will. One of the daughters may well have been named Sarah; a piece of a child's copy-book with the name carefully written was pasted inside the bellows in the chamber organ at Attingham (built in 1788) - a thrifty use of discarded paper.
In 1789, Green made his final move: to Isleworth, Middlesex (9). In a letter to John Fletcher, Chapter Clerk at Lichfield, dated 13th May, 1789, Green says:
I have now compleated new Larger Shops at Isleworth where Your Organ was moved to this week, and by now being able to employ more Hands shall get forward as fast as possible ...
In another letter, dated 7th August, 1790, giving directions for the waggoner, Green says:
... the turnpike man will direct where I live near the Church there is a very good broad road all the
way to my house.
Having moved out of London, and the influence of the liveried companies, Green no longer felt obliged to pay quarterage to the Clockmaker's Company; hence the final entry in the quarterage books.
Samuel had a relative, Charles, who was an organ builder in Salisbury. Charles became ill in 1779 and made a will, dated 21st September, which was witnessed by Samuel. Charles was working on the organ in Winchester College Chapel at the time of his illness, and it seems that Samuel helped out: a payment was made to 'Charles Green's widow for work done to ye organ by Samuel Green'. Charles died in Wells, Somerset, in November, 1779 (10). The exact relationship between Samuel and Charles is not known. Charles's father was John; Betty Matthews suggests that he and Samuel's father, Henry, were brothers, making Samuel and Charles cousins. We have already noted that Samuel had a brother named John, who died in 1781; the name was 'in the family' - but it was also commonly used name.
Charles1 demise in late 1779 may have prompted Samuel to make his will in 1780, calling to mind the uncertainty of life', though he left it until 6th June to do so. Samuel describes himself in his will as being of 'sound health*. In two of the Lichfield letters Green excuses his tardiness with complaints of ill health: a sore throat prevented his calling at Lichfield on his way back to London from Lord Berwick's (i.e. Attingham, near Shrewsbury) in December 1788; and in a letter dated 14th April, 1791 he writes as a postscript:
I have been in hopes of compleating Your Organ before this time, but have been afflicted with the Rhumatism (sic) for a long time, am now thank God in good health.
Samueal Green died on 14th September, 1796, aged 56 - i.e. very near to his birthday. We have no idea of what he died. Sarah, his widow, who is described by Samuel in a letter as being "very well
known amongst my friends to do a great deal of the more nice parts about an organ" (11) carried on the business. In 1797, she completed work in hand when Samuel died - such as Trinity College, Dublin, and the repair of the Snetzler organ at St. Nicholas, Whitehaven. 1798 seems to have been a barren year, perhaps a year of crisis as the business wilted from want of Samuel's direction. In 1799 it gained a new lease of life as Sarah went into partnership with the firm's foreman, Benjamin Biyth, the title becoming 'Green and Biyth'. Work at York Minster in 1803 seems to have been the last prestigious job, and the title 'Green and Biyth' is last recorded in 1804, suggesting that Sarah died (or retired?) in that year. The firm, now 'B.J. Biyth & Son', continued until 1847, benjamin Biyth having died in 1840, and his son, James, in 1847; the work produced was of no particular merit. The family continued to occupy the house and workshop in Isleworth, in Church Street, quite close to the church, until 1908, though they had abandoned any connection with organ-building. The premises were demolished sometime early in the present century (12).
(1) Register of births ... Bodleain Library, Oxford.
(2) Jackson's Oxford Journal, Index ECD, rets 54:320c and 60:157a.
(3) Dawe, 'The Mysterious Pyke ...', Musical Times, Jan 1974.
(4) Freeman, Organ, vol. XXI, p113.
(5) Boston & Langwill, Barrel-Organs.
(6) H&R. 3rd ed., 154 (in part 1).
(7) There is an outside chance that Green was making metal pipes for Snetzler in the 1760s.
(8) Christian Remembrancer, Jan 1834.
(9) Not Tedington, as given in New Grove.
(10) Betty Matthews, Organ, vol. LVI.
(11) Letter, now lost, quoted in Byard, Organ, vol. XXVI, 99
(12) Freeman, Organ, vol. XXIII, 113.
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