[[HOME] [Introduction] [Horrabridge tree] [John WINGATE (1742-1823)] [John WINDEATT (?1778-1851)] [John Windeatt (1805-1885)] Charles Windeatt (?1837-?1897) Corelli Ernest Bere WINDEATT

Corelli Windeatt, 1868-1947, "a violinist of rare talent"

THIS PAGE: [Tree] [About Corelli] [Parents] [Royal College of Music] [Early Career] [Weston Super Mare] [Photo on the Pier] [Marriage & Family] [London] [Death] [Descendants]
Arrow up to more about John and ThomasineCharles A.=Sarah HAWKINS (married 1830)Arrow up to more about John and Thomasine
              ____|__________seven other brothers and sisters
        CORELLI E.B. = KING, I.F

Corelli Ernest Bere WINDEATT (1868-1947)

Corelli's strange name?

All three Christian names are unusual in the WINDEATT families.  I had assumed that Charles, his father, had called him after his favourite composer . . . .but we have now found that there was an Arcangelo Corelli Collard BERE who was born in Tiverton, Devon in 1821 but who married and lived in Kensington, London.

Arcangelo BERE was an organist and lived on a private income.  He would have been about 47 when Corelli WINDEATT was born and was probably either a sponsor or a tutor of Charles Allen WINDEATT, Corelli's father, and Charles must have named his new born son after Arcangelo BERE.

Infant prodigy?

Corelli lived up to his famous name by showing a precocious talent as a violinist and in October 1879, aged only 11, (although claiming to be 9), he went up to London as a boarder to study the violin at the Royal Academy of Music.


Academician & Soloist

The Royal Academy has his age recorded as 9 when he began his studies there in 1879 but he was actually 11.  I suspect Charles, his father, massaged his age to make him appear even more of an infant prodigy?

He won prizes and accolades for his performances and those we know about are listed in chronological order below.

Later life as a musician

Corelli eventually became a well-known Dance Band Leader and a composer of light orchestral works, first in Weston Super Mare and later in London.  See various newspaper and other references below.

More Information

WARNING: The information below mainly guesswork. It has been put together from secondary census and BMD index data. We only have Corelli's birth certificate.

Birth and Parents

1868 Birth in the Sub-district of Teignmouth in the County of Devon

When & WhereNameSexName and Surname of FatherName, surname and maiden surname of motherOccupation of fatherSignature, description and residence of informantWhen registered
27th June 1868
Fore Street
West Teignmouth
Corelli Ernest BereBoyCharles Allen WINDEATTSarah WINDEATT formerly HAWKINSJewellerC.A. WINDEATT
Fore Street, West Teignmouth
6th August 1868

Corelli was born in Devon, the fourth son of a jeweller but this all changed over the next decade.  Probably as the result of some kind of sponsorship, the family moved to Weston Super Mare in Somerset and Corelli's father became a full-time musician, band-leader and music teacher.

1879 Baptism and Entry into the Royal Academy of Music

On September 10 1879, aged 11, Corelli was baptised in Christ Church Weston-Super-Mare along with three of his younger siblings.  I wondered what had impelled Charles and Sarah to suddenly get four of their children christened but obviously it must have been a requirement of the Royal Academy that pupils were baptised members of the Church of England.

According to information received from the Royal Academy of Music:

 "in October 1879, Corelli Windeatt entered the Royal Academy of Music aged 9, recommended by Mr Rutson, to study violin as principal subject . . . the 1886 published Prize list (page 3) lists as amongst the 13 pupils in the Male Department "having received all the Annual awards [in previous years], have satisfied the Examiners with their continued progress....

Windeatt, Corelli,
Violin Bronze medal: 1883
Silver medal :1884 
Certificate of Merit : 1885
. . ."

More information may be available from the Academy. Please leave a message on the Message Board if you would like to find out further information about his studies.

John RUTSON appears to have been quite well off.  In 1861 he was single and living in Newby Hall, Newby Wiske with his brother and seven servants. He must have funded a scholarship for poor, but musically talented boys to study at the Royal Academy and Corelli benefited from this according to the Dancing Times biography.

1881 Census  taken 3rd April © Crown Copyright

Here's Corelli in London living with the Wilsons at 1 Rochester Villas, St. Pancras, London.  Presumably Charles WILSON was one of the teachers at the Royal Academy and Corelli was boarding with him [PRO Ref  RG11/0212 Folio 78   Page 18].

Charles WILSON HeadM 62 F School MasterWestminster, Middlesex
Caroline W. WILSON Wife U 58 F   Liskeard, Cornwall
Charles R. WILSON  Son U18M Scholar Old Charlton, Kent
Frances A. WILSONDaurU15M Scholar Old Charlton, Kent
John ARMSTRONG Pupil U19M Lieut Militia Royal WestmorlandCockermouth, Cumberland
Ernest GOUHAULT*Pupil U18 F Scholar Expernay, France
Corelli WINDEATT**Pupil   11  Scholar Teignmouth, Devon
Sara POOLE Serv W30F General Serv DomesticCheshunt, Hertford

* Ernest GOUHAULT (or GOUBAULT?) from Expernay:  Perhaps he was the Ernest Goubault mentioned in an article in praise of great champagnes and named as "one of Champagne’s greatest winemakers for giving us the 1921 Moët & Chandon, a wine so special that it was transvasaged into a fancy 18th-century replica bottle to become the very first vintage of Dom Pérignon."  (See  Wine Makers - Simply the Best from http://www.wine-pages.com/guests/tom/greatest.pdf).  Epernay is in the heart of the champagne country and Ernest would have been about 60 in 1921.

**mistranscribed as Carelli WINDEATH

1884-1887 Early Musical Career

1884 Age 16 and performing on tour as a violin soloist . . .


A miscellaneous concert was given in the Town Hall on Saturday, at which the following artists appeared:  Miss Madeline HARDY, Miss Frances HIPWELL, Mr. T. W. HANSON, Mr. Alfred MOORE, Master Corelli WINDEATT (violin soloist) and Mr. Albert H. FOX (solo pianoforte and conductor).  There was a very large audience, and, judging from the hearty applause and frequent recalls, the performance was highly appreciated.  Miss HARDY sang in capital style Gounod's, "Changez, Ma Belle" - the violin obbligato to which was played by Master WINDEATT - and Hamilton EVAN's "Only a Story."  Miss HIPWELL gave an effective rendering of COWEN's "Never Again" and Pinsuti's 'Dream of Peace'.

 - Birmingham Daily Post (Birmingham, England), Monday, October 27, 1884; Issue 8213.

1886 Age 17 and winning prizes. . .

The competition for the Sainton-Dolby Prize at the Royal Academy of Music, took place on Saturday.  The examiners were Messrs. John FOSTER, M. MAYBRICK, and Lewis THOMAS (chairman.  There were 18 candidates, and the prize was awarded to Helen SAUNDERS.  The competition for the Bonamy Dobree Prize also took place.  The examiners were Messrs. William BOOLE, G. D??LIS, and B. ALBERT (CHAIRMAN).  There were four candidates, and the prize was awarded to John CARRODUJAN.  The Hine gift was also competed for, the examiners being Messrs, F, MOIR, Milton WELLINGS, and Michael WATSON (chairman).  There were four candidates, and the gift was awarded to Corelli WINDEATT.

-The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Friday, December 24, 1886; Issue 15199

1887 Age 18 and causing a "furore" in the provinces . . .


.- A grand evening concert in aid of the funds of the Stour Boar Club was given in the Corn Exchange on Tuesday evening, when there was a fashionable, but not-very crowded audience.  The vocalists were Mrs. SPARROW, Miss SPARROW, Rev. W.E..DIXON, and Mr ROBERTS; piano soloist, Mrs, HENRY; violin ditto, Mr. Corelli WINDEATT, R.A.M.;  clarionet [sic], ditto, Mr. J. GARRETT.  Mrs. HENRY achieved a great success in her pianoforte solo, which was played in a brilliant style; as accompanist also her execution was fine and her touch sympathetic.  Mr. Corelli WINDEATT, a medalist [sic] of the Royal Academy, who is quite young man, caused quite a furore by his wonderful execution of the violin and his splendid style.  His playing was almost faultless, and he several times received the well-deserved plaudits of an appreciate company.   We are glad to find that we are likely to have him again in the town, as he has entered into an engagement with Mr. G. L. ANDREWES to assist in "St. Paul," which will be given next Easter. .. . . .

- The Ipswich Journal (Ipswich, England), Thursday, February 17, 1887; Issue 8635

1890 Return to Weston Super Mare

By 1890 Corelli had returned to Weston Super Mare where he was living with his brothers and sisters. 

A short extract from an article from the Weston and Somerset Mercury explains this move:

. . . Nor must one forget the brilliant contribution to Grand Pier and Weston music generally over many years of Corelli Windeatt. He was a violinist of rare talent who studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Prosper Stanton (Court violinist to Queen Victoria). Although only in his teens, he won Royal Academy of Music medals and diplomas and achieved fame as a solo violinist. He was also engaged for concert tours with famous artistes.

Corelli's father was a Weston music teacher and concert performer. Affectionately known as 'Old Boy Windeatt', he was rarely seen without his fiddle box. He taught at the Weston College and other schools and founded and conducted the Weston Orchestral Society. Sometimes at local concerts there were as many as seven members of his clever family in the orchestra.

A breakdown in the health of his father brought Corelli back to Weston to carry on his teaching connections. He also had his own orchestra, which he conducted for seasons at both Piers and at many events in the district, including the balls arranged by Squire Smyth Pigott at his Brockley manorial residence.

Eventually Corelli returned to London and formed a dance band that became famous the country over and was in great demand for society balls and garden parties. It was featured at the Chelsea Arts Ball at the Albert Hall and at fashionable polo gatherings at Ranelagh . . .

- Weston & Somerset Mercury, 17/10/08, edited article originally published on February 7, 1969
© The Western and Somerset Mercury by kind permission.

1890 Concert

MR CORELLI WINDEATT's CONCERT - We would remind our readers of the grand evening convert to be given, under distinguished patronage, to-night in the Blind Asylum Music room.  The artists include Mme Probert GOODWIN, Mr. E. T. MORGAN, Mr. Montague WORLOCK, Mrs. Viner POMEROY, Mr. K. POMEROY, Mr. Corelli WINDEATT, R.A.M., and Mr. Fredolph WINDEATT, R.A.M.

- The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England),
Monday, September 22, 1890; Issue 13217.

1891 Census taken 5th April © Crown Copyright

In 1891 Corelli’s father was in the Somerset and Bath Asylum as a patient - we don’t know when he was admitted nor why. It would be useful to see if there are any patient records that can be accessed.  However the rest of the family were living at home with Sarah and a small four-year-old visitor from Devon who may have been a relation:

1892 Marriage & Family with Bella KING (c.1868-1964)

The GRO index records the marriage in the September quarter of 1892 [Axbridge 5c 849] to Isabelle Florence KING.  Corelli and his younger brother, Fred, (see picture above) married two sisters (Bella and Henrietta KING). 

Thanks to some information from a kind correspondent we now know a little more about Bella and Henrietta KING.

Corelli and Isabella had had the following children by the time of the 1911 census.

1. Stanley Ernest Corelli WINDEATT (1893-?)

Stanley Ernest He was a musician born in the June quarter of 1893. His army discharge document dated 9.2.1919 is available from which we can see that before joining the Army in 1916, he was a musician working at the Alhambra Theatre and that he was married and had one child.  There is also a Pensions document available in the National Archives.  Further details are available but are not posted here in line with the hundred year guideline.  Please leave a message on the message board for further information.

2.  Phyllis Rita (1898-?)

Rita was born in the March quarter of 1898 in the Kingston, Surrey Register Office district.  She appears the 1901 census aged 3 and again in 1911 aged 13

3. George Alan (1901-?1959)

George was born in the March quarter of 1906 in the Kingston, Surrey Register Office district. There are quite a few references to George Alan WINDEATT on the web.  He was an orchestra director,  composer and arranger of dance and jazz music.  He appears in the 1901 census aged two months and in the 1911 census aged 10.
Here is a clip from The Observer "Dramatis Personae" column. 22.05.38, kindly supplied by Phil Windeatt, a relation:

"The orchestra director of the Victoria Palace Mr George Windeatt has come to the conclusion that theatres "God Saves the King" that winds up performances is treated with undue perfunctoriness. He has accordingly rescored it and has it played in full solemnity at all performances and with great effect. The Victoria Palace musical-comedy "Me and My Girl" has now run for six months and is still playing to about £4000 a week - one of the biggest post-war musical successes."

George was still writing  or arranging popular songs throughout the Second World War.  Here is a link to the cover of a piece of sheet music composed at this time (also courtesy of Phil Windeatt):

After the second world war, George also became involved in composing or arranging music for films. 

Barbara Sybil WINDEATT (1906-?)

Barbara was born in the September quarter of 1906 in the Kingston, Surrey Register Office District.  She appears in the 1911 census, aged 4

Alfred Phillip WINDEATT (1909-?)

Philip was born in the June quarter of 1909 in the Kingston, Surrey Register Office District.  He appears in the 1911 census, aged 2.

We don't know about the other two children which Corelli declared on the 1911 census form had died before 1911, but probably the Florence Dorothea Windeatt who died, aged 0, in the Axbridge Register Office district in the December quarter of  1899 [GRO 5c 359] is one of them.

According to information received, Bella (full name Florence Isabella or sometimes Isabella Florence) lived to the ripe old age of 94 as did her sister Hettie/Hynda.  Hettie lived even longer and died aged 97 in Richmond upon Thames.

1901 Move to London

1901 Census (taken 31st March) © Crown Copyright

Living at no 4, Palmer Crescent, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey [RG13/663 Folio 57, Page 29, Schedule 187]
NameRelStatusAgeOccupationEmploymentWorking at homeWhere Born
Corelli WindeattHeadM31MusicianEmployerYesSomersetshire, Weston*
Isabell WindeattwifeM31      America US British Subject
Stanley Windeattson  7      Somersetshire, Weston
Rita Windeattdaur  3      Surrey, Kingston
George A Windeattson  2 mos      Surrey, Kingston
Lydia WIGGINSservS19General Serv -
Domestic worker
    Oxfordshire, Piddington

I wonder why Corelli gave his birthplace as Weston-Super-Mare rather than Teignmouth?  Perhaps the enumerator made a mistake?

1911 Census

Here they are in 1911 still living at 4 Palmer Court, Kingston upon Thames (which he declared was a six-roomed house).  We know, from a telephone directory entry, that they were still living there in 1920.
According to his declaration they had been married 19 years and had seven children born alive of whom two had died.

NameRelAgeStatusOccupation IndustryWorking on Own accountWorking at homeWhere Born
Corelli WindeattHead 42MMusician TheatreEmployer- Devonshire, Teignmouth
Isabell Windeattwife 41M-   & Employed* - Newport, Mon
Stanley Windeattson 17S Student Music     - Somerset, Weston S Mare
Rita WindeattDau 13- School     - Surrey, Kingston
George Windeattson 10- School     - Surrey, Kingston
Barbara WindeattDau 4--    - Surrey, Kingston
Phillip WindeattSon 2-     - Surrey, Kingston
Lillian Windeatt**Niece 20Single-      Somerset, Weston S. Mare
Gwendoline Windeatt** Niece 19SingleAssistant Music Shop Dealers     Somerset, Weston S. Mare

* it rather looks as though the words "& Employed" relate to Corelli rather than his wife.

**Lillian and Gwendoline WINDEATT were the daughters of Frank Benjamin WINDEATT, Corelli's elder brother, whose wife had died when the children were quite young. 

1887-1920 Composer

Here is a list of those of Corelli’s compositions that I have found referenced online:

Here is a link to a search of British Library holdings

1911-1920s Dance Band Leader

During this period Corelli became an increasingly famous Dance Band Leader.  See:

Here are a few references I have found to his work in the early twentieth century:

In 1923 Sir Arthur Bliss composed a 'One Step' which he dedicated to Corelli Windeatt. and which was to be played at a Punch and Judy Ball at the Savoy Hotel.

Corelli Windeatt’s Band on the Pier at Weston Super Mare

Below is a photo of Corelli Windeatt and his Band also from the Weston and Somerset Mercury, reproduced here by kind permission, from their 2004 feature celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Grand Pier. This photograph came from the Pier Picture Special page (now no longer available) and was captioned : "Corelli Windeatt and his band during the 1920s".

I’m assuming Corelli is the guy in the centre. And, because he looks so like him even down to the pair of glasses, I imagine the guy to his left is his brother Fredolph (known as Alf), the violinist.  Corelli is standing awkwardly and looks as if he has a bad back?  If this *was* taken in the 1920s then Corelli would have been in his fifties.

© Weston & Somerset Mercury

1947 DEATH

His death is recorded in 1947 in the Wandsworth Register Office District.

1919-2009 Descendants

There are probably living descendants of Corelli and Bella.  Please make contact via the Message Board if can contribute any more information about this family or if you can correct any of the information.


Last updated February 2010.