Thomas Merritt

Cornish musician & composer

17th April, 1908
Buried at:  
Illogan Churchyard

Born in Illogan to a poor family, Thomas Merritt overcame a difficult start in life - his father died when he was 11 and he supported his family by working at the Tolvadden Tin Streaming works - to create a lasting legacy of music which is known across the world.

He was a self-taught musician with incredible natural talent, and as his services as a music teacher increased, he was able to earn a living with this as a full-time occupation. Thomas Merritt was organist at the Chili Road Chapel (now demolished) and then for 12 years the organist of the Illogan Highway Methodist Church. He gained further fame when he was commissioned to write a march for Edward VII's coronation in 1902, and wrote many carols for voice, including 'Hark the Glad Sound'.

He was well known in the area for his amiable and gentle character and kindness, and this is reflected in the large number of people who attended his burial in Illogan churchyard when he died from consumption at the age of only 46. He was out-lived by his mother, who lived in to her nineties.


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