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"Paupers and Pig-killers"

The Diary of William Holland, A Somerset Parson, 1799-1818
(Over Stowey, Somerset)

Sun 23 Feb
The Church was full this evening, some strangers with instruments of various kinds among the Singers. Poor Ben could not make it out this day being in the background with these youngsters. He is old Sternhold & Hopkins for ever in the plain old stile and cannot well comprehend this grunting and tooting.

Nov 3 The Singers begin to shine as Musicians and the two Hunts blow the flute capitally

Dec 22 A full congregation and the Singers had their New Instruments from London for which I subscribed a guinea. I do not approve of this mode of picking money out of my pocket.

May 31 very few indeed at church and no Singing for the Singing Gentlemen were all gone to Enmore and had taken half of the parish. It is a pity Jenkins had not contrived to go to other churches to sing when we had no Service here, for as we buy the Instruments we have some right to the Musick.

Jul 5 ... they sung psalms most gallantly

Jul 12 the Singers except a few were gone to Lydiard to sing and have a dinner given to them and I fear carried many of the Congregation with them. Our Singers are become famous in the Country, which makes them vain and fond of exhibiting themselves and I think they think more of their own Praise than the Praise of God. As we of our own Parish subscribed for the Instruments I observed that they should not forsake us in the time of our own Service, for we did not buy the Instruments for the Amusement of other churches. This time they apologised and hoped I would excuse as they were strongly pressed to go and promised dinner which was not to be resisted ... However we had tolerable singing notwithstanding.


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