Henry Heron (1738 – 1795) was a dancing and music teacher in London during the second half of the 18th century and for many years organist of St Mary’s, Ewell, then at the Church of St Magnus the Martyr, beside London Bridge.
Born 1738 in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, Henry Heron was the only son of William Heron, a dancing master, and his wife, Hannah. He was baptised at All Saints Church on 28th August.
Shortly after his father’s death, Henry moved to the City of London and around 1756 married Elizabeth, a woman four years his senior. They lived in Millman Street, Holborn, in a brick-built house opposite St John’s Chapel (Bedford Row) and their first child, Henry Sidney Heron, was born there in 1757 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Holborn, on 20th February.
There, Henry must surely have been acquainted with John Stanley (1712 – 1786), the well-known blind musician, who was organist of St Andrew’s, Holborn, at this time.
At some point in this early part of his life he became organist of St Mary’s Church, Ewell, in Surrey, but he continued living in Holborn.
Dancing and singing lessons
Henry Heron’s main income, following in his father’s footsteps, came from giving dancing and music lessons, including singing. In later life he was assisted in this by his son, Henry, who was also a composer and teacher. And like many musicians of the time Henry senior wrote popular songs and pieces for performance at the London pleasure Gardens.
After Ewell, Henry was appointed organist at the more prestigious city church of St Magnus the Martyr, next to London Bridge. The precise date of his appointment is not known but he was certainly there by 1770 when he published a set of ten voluntaries for organ or harpsichord.