Lost Voices of Erddig: Anne Jemima Yorke and her Harpsichord

In 1769, the soundscape of Erddig, a house in North Wales today managed by the National Trust, experienced a radical change when teenage Anne Jemima Yorke took delivery of a brand-new harpsichord from the celebrated London maker Jacob Kirkman. The purchase of this expensive instrument was part of a wider family drama, and the expenditure had to be kept a secret from the wealthy uncle upon whose favour the Yorke family fortunes depended. But its acquisition would help her musical activities to flourish, and would allow her to recreate and imagine colourful music from the London stage at her instrument far from the capital.

The videos below include a short documentary about the harpsichord and its purchase, as well as several complete pieces taken from Anne Jemima Yorke's music books in Erddig's collection. Harpsichordist Magdalena Jones plays a Kirkman harpsichord of 1766, created just a few years before and following the same model as the one purchased for Erddig, which is lost today.

To find out more about Anne Jemima's story, see our page Lost Voices of Erddig: A Secret Harpsichord. The films were made for the "Music, Home and Heritage: Sounding the Domestic" project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and produced in collaboration with the National Trust, the University of Southampton, and the Royal College of Music. The project is directed by Jeanice Brooks and Wiebke Thormählen.

Lost Voices of Erddig: Anne Jemima Yorke and Her Harpsichord. A series of performance films and minidocumentary made for Erddig
Charles Burney, ‘Overture,’ The Cunning Man: A Musical Entertainment (1766)
Charles Dibdin, ‘Let me when my heart a sinking,’ from The Padlock (1768)
Johann Adolf Hasse arr. Samuel Arnold, ‘When you meet a tender creature,’ from The Maid of the Mill (1765)
Samuel Arnold, ‘Hist, hist, I hear my mother call,’ from The Maid of the Mill (1765)
Charles Dibdin, ‘Oh me what shall we do,’ from The Padlock (1768)
Tradition Welsh, ‘Nos galan,’ arranged for keyboard.
George Frideric Handel, ‘See the Conquering Hero,” from Judas Maccabaeus (1747)
George Frideric Handel, ‘March,’ from Judas Maccabaeus (1747), arranged for keyboard.