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A Weem Organist


Organist Weem Church

The photograph above was taken in Amen Court, St Paul's Cathedral, in 1925. On the left is Charles Macpherson, organist of the Cathedral, fencing with his son Alasdair. The father has a sword given to him by the Chief of the Clan, who was a friend of his and with whom he used to stay every summer at Cluny Castle. His son has a walking stick.

Charles Macpherson was born 1870, the eldest son of Charles Macpherson, MICE, burgh architect to the City of Edinburgh and Mary Charlotte D'Egville. He arrived in London as a boy to enter the St Paul's Choir School and then went to the Royal Academy of Music where he won the Charles Lucas Medal for composition. He was briefly organist of St Clement’s Church, Eastcheap, London in 1887 and then the organist at St David's Church, Weem, Aberfeldy from 1887 to 1889. Charles was then organist at the private chapel at Luton Hoo, seat of Madame de Falbe until 1895 when he was appointed sub-organist at St Paul's Cathedral, London, under Sir George Martin whom he succeeded as organist in 1916.

Charles was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and was its Professor of Composition. He was also a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and its President 1920-22. He was an honorary member of the American Guild of Organists, an Examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, also a Director of the Royal Philharmonic Society and a member of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. He was a well-known player of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and he composed a number of orchestral works.

His son, Alasdair, was a scholar of Uppingham when the fencing picture was taken. He became a Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, and gained a Double First in Classics and Divinity. He became a Fellow of Trinity and in 1939 he was elected to the Chair of Divinity at Toronto University, Canada. When war broke out, he joined the RAF. He was killed in action when shot down over Rotterdam Harbour in a Blenheim. His obituary mentioned his brilliant published work on St Paul's Epistle to the Romans.

Dr Charles Macpherson died in 1927 and was buried in the crypt of St Paul's, next to the grave of Sir Arthur Sullivan. There is an inscription on the stone to his son, also to his wife, Sophie, whom he married in 1911 and was the younger daughter of Canon W.C.E. Newbolt, who is also commemorated in the crypt.

Image top of Charles courtesy of

Image of Fencing & the text courtesy of Clan Macpherson Museum Trust

Thanks to Ewen MacPherson for bringing this information to us.

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