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Bennett, Sir William Sterndale, 1816-1875 (Knight and composer)



  • Existence: 1816 - 1875


Sir William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875), composer, was born at 7 Howard Street, Sheffield, on 13 April 1816, the third child and only son of Robert Bennett (1788-1819) and his wife, Elizabeth, née Donn (1791-1818). Bennett's grandfather, John Bennett (1754-1837), was a bass lay clerk in the choir which at that time served the Cambridge colleges of King's, St John's, and Trinity. His father was organist of Sheffield parish church from 1811, a piano teacher trained in Logier's method of instruction, and the composer of a few published songs, including Six Melodies to Original Poetry (1815), settings of words by his friend William Handley Sterndale, the son of a Sheffield surgeon, after whom Robert Bennett named his son. Bennett's mother was the daughter of James Donn, curator of the botanic gardens at Cambridge and author of Hortus Cantabrigiensis (1796). On 7 May 1818 Bennett's mother died, shortly after giving birth to a third daughter, who survived only a few days. On 11 January 1819 Robert Bennett married Harriet Blake (1794-1828) of Sheffield, but a few months later, on 3 November 1819, he himself died of tuberculosis. Bennett and his two sisters, Marianne Ellen (1813-1857) and Emily Agnes (1814-1852), were therefore brought up by their paternal grandparents in Cambridge, and were all baptized at St Edward's Church, Cambridge, on 19 March 1820.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Piano études in G minor and E flat minor

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8902-8903
Scope and Contents

Two working manuscripts of 'études' for piano, [Add.8902] in G minor, [Add.8903] in E flat minor.

Dates: Jan. 1841
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