Healey Willan – “O Lord Our Governour” handwritten sheet music for Queen Elizabeth II Coronation 1953

In June 1954, Queen’s University Archives became the pleased recipient of the handwritten sheet music of Healey Willan’s homage anthem “O Lord, Our Governour”, written and performed for Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation on June 2 1953.  It came courtesy of Queen’s University’s Rector at the time, Dr. L.W Brockington, who apparently convinced Healey Willan to donate the sheet music to Queen’s Archives. (location #2055 Box 18)

Dr. L.W Brockington had the sheet music bound and received permission from the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Alan Don, to place the Arms of Westminster Abbey on its cover.

Willan wrote a letter to the University Librarian, Dr. Gundy (to whom the Archives reported to at the time), expressing his pleasure that his sheet music was in “such goodly and honoured company” at Queen’s. His letter goes on to describe how he undertook the writing of the anthem.  Willan letter to Gundy June 1954

The sheet music to “O Lord, Our Governour” is six pages long and is handwritten showing both the choral and instrumental parts. O Lord Our Governour handwritten sheet music by Healey Willan

Healey Willan (1880-1968) was the first non-resident of Britain to be commissioned to write a coronation anthem.

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