Former home of organist Throne Biggs, Abergavenny

Former home of organist Throne Biggs, Abergavenny

Throne Biggs lived here in the 1890s. He made a big impression on Abergavenny’s musical scene before his untimely death. The ground-floor shop, now occupied by Serendipity Hair Salon, was home to a jewellery business the 1920s. In the 1930s it was an antiques shop run by Leo Fine.

Thomas Throne Crick Biggs was born in 1864 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, to Anne Biggs and her husband Sylvanus, a schoolteacher. Throne showed an early talent for music, becoming Lichfield Cathedral’s deputy organist while still in his teens.

He was appointed organist of St Mary’s Church in Abergavenny, where one of his first tasks was to supervise the organ’s improvement. The instrument was removed for the rebuilding of the church’s north aisle and nave. It came back “so improved and enlarged as to be beyond recognition”, the press reported. Throne gave the first performance – a recital in February 1884 attended by the Bishop of Llandaff, industrialist Crawshay Bailey and other note-worthies.

Throne was keen to advance “musical taste” in Abergavenny and sometimes risked his own money to lay on concerts, including performances where he conducted a choir and orchestra of more than 120 people. He was Abergavenny Choral Society’s conductor and adjudicated at eisteddfodau. In 1890 he conducted c.1,000 children singing the national anthem to welcome Prince Albert Victor, Queen Victoria’s grandson, to Abergavenny.

He also taught piano, organ, singing and harmony. He was an early member of the Welsh section of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and organist of the region’s lunatic asylum.

In 1888 Throne and his wife Emmeline had a daughter, who died within a year. The 1891 census records that the couple were living here with a maidservant. Their daughter Winifred Edith was born in December 1891 but their happiness was short-lived, as Throne died of pneumonia and pleurisy in February 1894, two days after performing his usual Sunday duties in church. He was 29 years old.

He left a modest £40 to his widow. She died in 1931 and Winifred in 1969.

Postcode: NP7 5AN    View Location Map

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