Samuel Sebastian Wesley

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Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Birthdate: (71)
Birthplace: Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
Death: October 11, 1837 (71)
Islington, London, England
Place of Burial: East Finchley Cemetery
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles Wesley and Sarah Gwynne Wesley
Husband of Charlotte Louise Martin
Partner of Sarah Suter
Father of Samuel Sebastian Wesley; Charles Wesley; John William Wesley and Emma Frances Wesley
Brother of Martha Maria Wesley; Charles Wesley, Jr.; Sarah Wesley; Selina/Selena Wesley and Johan Jarvis Wesley

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About Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Samuel Wesley (24 February 1766 – 11 October 1837) was an English organist and composer in the late Georgian period. Wesley was a contemporary of Mozart (1756–1791) and was called by some "the English Mozart."

Personal life

Born in Bristol, he was the son of noted Methodist and hymn-writer Charles Wesley, the grandson of Samuel Wesley (a poet of the late Stuart period) and the nephew of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church.

Samuel informed his mother of his philosophical conviction that his marriage had been constituted by sexual intercourse, precluding any civil or religious ceremony, but after a scandalous delay he married Charlotte Louise Martin in 1793, and they had 3 children. A book published in 2001 provides a fascinating account of how Samuel Wesley's marriage to Charlotte finally broke up with her discovery of Samuel's affair with the teenage domestic servant Sarah Suter. Samuel and Sarah never married but had 4 children together, among them Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876) who was a cathedral organist.

In 1784, Wesley converted to Roman Catholicism.


Samuel showed his musical talent early in life. He played the violin as well as the organ, and worked as a conductor as well as a music lecturer. Many of his best-known compositions were written for the church; they include the motet In exitu Israel. His secular compositions include the five part madrigal O singe unto mie roundelaie set to the well known poem by Thomas Chatterton.

In 1788 Wesley was initiated into freemasonry in the Lodge of Antiquity. The Duke of Sussex appointed him Grand Organist in 1812, but he resigned the appointment in 1818.

Samuel died in 1837 and was buried in St Marylebone Parish Church, London.

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Samuel Sebastian Wesley's Timeline

February 24, 1766
Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
September 25, 1793
Age 27
Age 32
Age 39
August 14, 1810
Age 44
October 11, 1837
Age 71
Islington, London, England
October 11, 1837
Age 71
East Finchley Cemetery