Past Organists:

Robert Hodge 1695 - 1703

Hodge was appointed organist on 27 June 1695. We only have two references to him in Armagh: his appointment as mentioned above in cathedral registers and his signature on a lease in Armagh in 1703. This itself does not mean he was organist during this time or even resident in Armagh. With the possible previous connection with Dublin, through Hawkshaw, it is likely this Robert Hodge was a relative or even the same person as his namesake who was organist of the two cathedrals there. The 1701 visitation record suggests that no organist was present but this could have been during a period of absence.

On a lease, dated 2 December 1703, from the Vicars Choral and Organist to a Thomas Shields, we have the signature "Robt Hodge: organist".

The Robert Hodge connected with Dublin was a chorister at Exeter Cathedral and in 1683 went to London to study under Henry Purcell. He was admitted a probationary Vicar Choral of Wells Cathedral in January 1686/7, and was appointed organist on 7 April 1688. A few months after his appointment as organist at Wells he was "arraigned by the Chapter and the Vicars Choral for having been with some persons, late at night in the city, who had broken a window and was warned that if his behaviour did not improve within his probationary year he would be removed. "Also He seems to have left Wells, in dubious circumstances, in 1690, and next appears as a lay clerk of Durham Cathedral in April 1691. Soon afterwards, he set out for "Hibemia" in April 1692.

St Patrick's Cathedral Dublin appointed him a Vicar Choral on 19 April 1693 and the next year he was appointed organist on 19 October 1694. At Christ Church he was appointed a Vicar Choral on 4 June 1695, but had been connected in some way as early as the accounting year 1692-3. At some point he became "master of the song" of St Patrick's where he resigned his position as organist in 1698 having been appointed master of the choristers of Christ Church. He continued as Vicar Choral of St Patrick's and evidently continued to teach the boys.

In 1699 Daniel Roseingrave (Hodge's successor as organist of St Patrick's) and Hodge were ordered to appear before the Dean and Chapter of St Patrick's because they "lately gave each other very scurrilous language in Christ Church, Dublin, and afterwards went to the tavern and there fought." VII Roseingrave as "the first and chief aggressor" was fined £3 and required to apologise to Hodge whose fine was a mere 20s. VI The following year Thomas Finnell (organist of Christ Church 1694-8) was accused of assaulting his successor, Roseingrave. VII No doubt Hodge was a somewhat unstable character and Roseingrave possibly more so, but Hodge is recorded doing his job well at Christ Church, "teaching and instructing the boys in singing and in the knowledge of the organ and finding them with sufficient meat, drink, clothing, lodging and washing." VI The repertoire of St Patrick's was improved in 1697/8 when Hodge returned from a journey to England with some anthems and services. In February 1705/6 he brought two choirboys from England to St Patrick's. The burial of "Mr Robert Hodge, vicar of St. Patrick and master of the song", is recorded in Dublin, 26 May 1709.

If this was the same Robert Hodge as Armagh then there is an interval of several years unaccounted for previous to the appointment of William Toole in 1711. He may not have taken up his appointment at Armagh in 1695 but could have returned for a short stay c.1703 or he may perhaps have been an absentee organist in Armagh (or Dublin).

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