Look what we’ve found! This manuscript collection of vocal music by the composer John Lodge Ellerton (1801-1873) was recently discovered during cataloguing of the Bridge Memorial Library, the historic library of the college.
The collection contains 39 works, mainly part songs, in one volume and bound with the title ‘glees’ in gold lettering on the spine. Glees were a popular form of part singing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and are well represented elsewhere in the Bridge Memorial Library (see our past exhibition Catches and Glees in the Jerwood Library).
Born in Liverpool, Ellerton was educated at Rugby School and Brasenose College, Oxford, before studying counterpoint with Pietro Terziani in Rome for two years. It seems he had the means to support himself as a composer and published many works at his own expense. His music, whilst not now well known, was generally well received by contemporaries. A critic for the Musical Times described his part-writing as ‘healthy and vigorous’, and the biographer David Baptie described him as ‘an amateur composer of elegant taste and decided ability’. However, it was not always his composing he was remembered for. For Richard Wagner it was Ellerton’s hospitality that was more memorable: in his autobiography Wagner recalled one particularly ‘agreeable’ evening at the end of which Ellerton ‘had to be taken home by two men, one holding each arm, quite as a matter of course, as it was obvious that he would not have got far across the road without this help’.
Ellerton’s manuscript is now on display in the library.
 C. Lonsdale, ‘A Set of Twelve Glees by John Lodge Ellerton’, The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, vol. 14, no. 334, supplement (Dec. 1. 1870), p. 716.
 David Baptie, Sketches of the English Glee Composers (London: William Reeves, [n.d.]), p. 130.
 Richard Wagner, My Life (London: Constable and Co., 1911), pp. 629-630.