JOSEPH EMIDY HEADSTONE AND FOOTSTONE AT THE KENWYN PARISH CHURCH

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1392417

Date first listed: 25-Feb-2008

Statutory Address: JOSEPH EMIDY HEADSTONE AND FOOTSTONE AT THE KENWYN PARISH CHURCH, KENWYN CHURCH ROAD

Map

Ordnance survey map of JOSEPH EMIDY HEADSTONE AND FOOTSTONE AT THE KENWYN PARISH CHURCH
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Location

Statutory Address: JOSEPH EMIDY HEADSTONE AND FOOTSTONE AT THE KENWYN PARISH CHURCH, KENWYN CHURCH ROAD

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Truro

National Grid Reference: SW 82043 45921

Reasons for Designation

The Joseph Emidy headstone and footstone are being listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: Joseph Emidy (d. 1835) has claims to being the first African composer in England, and the epitaph is an eloquent reflection of contemporary appreciation of his achievement * Connection with the slave trade: his story is a poignant reminder of the effects of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and serves as a record of the impact of this trade on the unsung lives of countless other Africans who were enslaved * Cultural achievement: he was a figure of considerable local influence and was a strong force in the development of the music scene in Cornwall

Sources:

`The Hidden Routes' Concert Programme, Truro Cathedral Cornwall (1998). L Young, `My Hero: Joseph Emidy', BBC History Magazine, October (2001) http://www.josephantonioemidy.com R McGrady `Music and Musicians in C19 Cornwall: The World of Joseph Emidy' (1991)

Details

TRURO

880-1/0/0 KENWYN CHURCH ROAD 25-FEB-08 JOSEPH EMIDY HEADSTONE AND FOOTSTONE A T THE KENWYN PARISH CHURCH

II Portland stone headstone and footstone dated 1835. The rectangular headstone has a moulded top framing a raised central lozenge containing a garlanded urn in relief. It bears a carved inscription in Roman and italic script, now highlighted in black, which states 'HERE LIE DEPOSITED/the mortal remains of,/ Mr Josh Antonia Emidy/who departed this life,/on the 23rd of April/1835/AGED 60 YEARS./And sacred to whose memory/this tribute of affection is erected/by his surviving family./He was a native of PORTUGAL,/which Country he quitted about/forty years since; and, pursuing the/Musical profession, resided in/Cornwall until the close of/his earthly career./ Devoted to thy soul-inspiring strains,/Sweet Music! thee he hail'd his chief delight,/And with fond zeal that shunn'd nor toil not pain/His talent sear'd [sic], and genius mark'd its flight/In harmony he liv'd, in peace with all/Took his departure from this world of woe;/And here his rest, till the last Trumpet's call,/Shall 'wake Mankind to joys that endless flow.'

The gravemarker has recently been restored. During this process, the closing verse was mis-transcribed; the fourth line formerly read 'His talent soar'd, and genius mark'd its flight'.

The footstone has a rounded head and is inscribed 'J.A.E/1835'.

HISTORY: Joseph Emidy was born in Guinea on the west coast of Africa in 1775. He was sold into slavery to Portuguese traders in 1787 and taken to Brazil where his owner arranged for him to be taught by Jesuit priests. In 1791 he was taken to Lisbon where his owner, impressed by Emidy's interest in music, provided him with a violin and engaged a teacher for him. Emidy proved so musically gifted that after three to four years training he gained a place among the 2nd violins of the Lisbon Opera. His life took a radical change, however, when Captain Sir Edward Pellew, master of the HMS Indefatigable, heard Emidy play at the opera whilst his ship was in port for repairs. Pellew wanted a 'fiddle' player for his crew aboard the Indefatigable and arranged for Emidy to be pressed into service on his ship, kidnapping him as he left the Opera house following a performance. Emidy remained on the Indefatigable, without shore leave, for four years until he was eventually discharged as a free man in 1799 at Falmouth.

Emidy earned a living providing music tuition and organising concerts and events in Cornwall. In September 1802, he married Jane (Jenefer) Hutchins, the daughter of a respected local tradesman, and the couple went on to have several children. Emidy worked throughout Cornwall but had close connections with Truro, organising musical events there, even before he moved there with his family in 1815. The only known portrait of Emidy is a sketch of 1808 showing 'A Musical Club', possibly made in the 'Concert Room' of Truro's Assembly Building and now in the Royal Cornwall Institute.

Joseph Emidy died on the 24th April 1835 and was buried in Kenwyn Church, Truro. His fifth son, Richard, is buried next to him. Awareness of Emidy's remarkable life and career is growing and a memorial stone to him was recently erected in front of the Lady Chapel at Falmouth Church.

SOURCES: 'The Hidden Routes' Concert Programme, Truro Cathedral Cornwall (1998); L. Young, 'My Hero: Joseph Emidy', BBC History Magazine, October (2001); http://www.josephantonioemidy.com; R. McGrady 'Music and Musicians in C19 Cornwall: The World of Joseph Emidy' (1991)

REASON FOR DECISION: The Joseph Emidy headstone and footstone are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: Joseph Emidy (d. 1835) has claims to being the first African composer in England, and the epitaph is an eloquent reflection of contemporary appreciation of his achievement * Connection with the slave trade: his story is a poignant reminder of the effects of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and serves as a record of the impact of this trade on the unsung lives of countless other Africans who were enslaved * Cultural achievement: he was a figure of considerable local influence and was a strong force in the development of the music scene in Cornwall

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 504431

Legacy System: LBS

Sources

Books and journals
The Hidden Routes Concert Programme, Truro Cathedral Cornwall, (1998)
McGrady, R, Music and Musicians in 19th century Cornwall
Young, L, 'BBC History Magazine' in My Hero: Joseph Emidy, (Oct 2001)
Other
The World of Joseph Emidy,

End of official listing