Life story retold by Yota Dimitriadi
John Bilson Binfield and his wife, Mary, had six children. I shall later mention three of them briefly: Richard Leverton Binfield (1835-1860), Fanny Jane Binfield (1837-1881), and Louisa Donaldson Binfield (1839-1891).
John was a gifted musician who edited a number of important collections of church music, including The Reading Psalmody (1847) and The Choral Service of the Church (1847). But perhaps his most interesting venture was to establish a Singing School for adults and children in 1842. Its purpose was to teach the skill of singing music at sight from notation. This was part of a national mania for sight-singing which swept the country. His first class successfully completed a course of sixty lessons. The response was so encouraging that he developed a further series of classes designed specifically ‘for Ladies, for Gentlemen, for the Middle Class, the Working Class, and for young children’. Outposts were established in Henley, Wokingham and Hartford Bridge (near Hartley Wintney).
Sadly, both John’s sister, Mary, and his second son, Richard Leverton Binfield, were admitted to asylums in which they also died. The three tragic losses are poignantly remembered in the inscription on John’s grave, ‘Then are they glad because they are at rest’.
Buried in Section 61, Row B, Number 35