Tyne and Wear HER(17325): Swalwell, Hood Street/Market Street, home of William Shield - Details
Swalwell, Hood Street/Market Street, home of William Shield
William Shield (1748-1829) was born in Swalwell and lived near the spot now marked by a blue plaque on a stone plinth in his early years. Shield was a violinist, violist and composer of operas and other works. In 1769 he composed the anthem for the consecration of St. John's Church in Sunderland. In 1782 we was appointed house composer to Covent Garden. His opera Rosina premiered. He published the Op.3 string quartets. In 1817 he was appointed Master of the Musicians - in Ordinary to the King. He is reputedly the composer of Auld Lang Syne. He died in London in 1829 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. There is a monument to William Shield in Whickham churchyard and another in Brightling Church in East Sussex by Peter Rouw. It has long been assumed that Robbie Burns wrote the tune of Auld Lang Syne. However the tune features in Shield's opera Rosina of 1782. Shields never claimed to have written the tune, and the music to Rosina was 'written and selected' by William Shield. So there are some who believe that Shield wrote it and there are others who believe that the tune is an old Scottish folk tune (dating back to 1687) and that Shield re-used.