Chorley, Henry

BORN 15 Dec 1808, Blackley Hurst, Lancashire (near Billinge) - DIED 16 Feb 1872, London: 21 West Eaton Place
BIRTH NAME Chorley, Henry Fothergill
GRAVE LOCATION London: Brompton Cemetery, Old Brompton Road, West Brompton (U 83,,0 x 11,,3)

Henry Chroley was born in Lancashire into a family of quakers. His father was an iron worke and lock maker. After the death of his father, his mother moved the family to Liverpool where his uncle lived. Henry was educated privately worked in the offices of merchants. At the same time he hoped to become a musician, but his uncle didn't support that wish. He started writing about music instead and from 1830 to 1868 he wrote for the Athenaeum about literature and music. The music of Schumann and Wagner he often criticised for its 'decadence'.

His books about music were well read, but his novels, stories, drama, verse and librettos were less popular. He published his novel "Roccabella" under the pseudonym Paul Bell and dedicated it to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. For William Vincent Wallace he wrote the libretto for "The Amber Witch". He also wrote the English libretto for Gounod's "Faust" that was performed in London in 1863.

Chorley was kind but also eccentric and although he promoted Gounod's music in the United Kingdom, Gounod didn't like him and even wrote a satirical piano piece that was meant as a parody on his character. He probably first met Charles dickens in the 1830s, but from about 1855 they were close friends and he often visited Dickens at Gad's Hill. After Dickens' death in 1870 Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke asked Chorley to write the obituary for the Athenaeum. During his last years Chorley was a heavy drinker but he died a rich man in 1872 at his home in London.

Related persons
• was a friend of Browning, Elizabeth Barrett
• was a friend of Dickens, Charles
• was detested by Gounod, Charles
• was a friend of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix


The grave of Henry Chorley at Brompton Cemetery in London.
Picture by Androom (16 Jun 2022)


The grave of Henry Chorley at Brompton Cemetery in London.
Picture by Androom (16 Jun 2022)


• Meller, Hugh & Brian Parsons, London Cemeteries, Ann Illustrated Guide & Gazetteer, 4th Edition, This History Press, Chalford, Gloucestershire, 2008
Wikipedia (EN):

Christ, Lena

Published: 29 Mar 2024
Last update: 30 Mar 2024