Oct 21

Interesting Pianos Around the World Part 1

Interesting Pianos Around the World

Burnham Thorpe All Saints Church

Famous as the birthplace of Lord Nelson

The rectory where Nelson was born no longer exists, but the church still stands and in it is a beautiful old piano.  Whilst reading up on the church there was a suggestion that the piano was said to have been played by Lord Nelson himself in his childhood, but as you will see, this is not the case.  Horatio Nelson’s father , Edmund was Rector of the church and is himself buried in the grounds, along with his wife, Catherine, Lord Nelsons Mother, who passed on at the young age of 42 years.

The Piano

The Piano

The piano is still in use and although I can’t say anything about the sound of it, it looks in good condition with a lovely inlaid name plate and ornaments. It looks a hefty piano by today’s standards and the stool appears missing, as is the way with many pianos of this size as they are often pressed into service else where and sometimes never make it back.

Piano at Burnham Thorpe All Saints Church

Piano at Burnham Thorpe All Saints Church

The marquetry name plate is inlaid with the name John Spencer and Co London which was established in 1883 and that, unfortunately, makes it not possible for Nelson to have played this particular piano given that he died in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Piano at Burnham Thorpe All Saints Church

The Nameplate

In fact, pianos were very much in their infancy as an instrument and Bach himself didn’t find a satisfactory piano until 1747 so any piano that Nelson played would have had to have been a very early model indeed and it’s doubtful that there would have been enough market penetration of the instrument for a small church in Norfolk to have one during Nelsons childhood, even if it could afford it. It’s still a lovely story though, he certainly skipped his way around the grounds of the church which is enough to make me put the church on my list of “places to go”


Thanks to my good friends Dick and Jan,  credit to them for the great photos.

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