William Crotch (5 July 1775 – 29 December 1847), English composer and organist was born in Norwich, Norfolk, to a master carpenter he showed early musical talent as a child prodigy. The three and a half year old Master William Crotch was taken to London by his ambitious mother, where he not only played on the organ of the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, but for King George III. The London Magazine of April 1779 records: "He appears to be fondest of solemn tunes and church musick, particularly the 104th Psalm. As soon as he has finished a regular tune, or part of a tune, or played some little fancy notes of his own, he stops, and has some of the pranks of a wanton boy; some of the company then generally give him a cake, an apple, or an orange, to induce him to play again..." Crotch was later to observe that this experience led him to become a rather spoiled child, excessively indulged so that he would perform.
He was for a time organist at Christ Church, Oxford, from which he was later to graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree.
His most successful composition in adulthood was the oratorio "Palestine" (1812), containing the famous (and nice!) anthem, "Lo, Star-Lead Chiefs", depicting the coming of the Magi. He may have composed the Westminster Chimes in 1793, which are played by Big Ben when it strikes the hour.
In 1797 Crotch became Heather Professor of Music at Oxford University, and in 1799 he acquired a doctorate in music. While at Oxford, he became acquainted with the musician and artist John Malchair, and took up sketching, and became quite a decent artist.
In 1822, Crotch was appointed to the Royal Academy of Music as its first Principal, but resigned ten years later. He spent his last years at his son's house in Taunton, Somerset, where he died suddenly in 1847.
Several portraits of Crotch are attached as well as some photos of Christ Church, Oxford. In addition, there is a drawing of Crotch playing the organ at the age of 3. Score attached too.