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Mr John Mainwaring

John Mainwaring was rector of Church Stretton from 1749. He is best known as the first biographer of George Frederic Handel, and a friend of Capability Brown.

Born in 1724 in Bonsall, Derbyshire, Mainwaring showed an early aptitude for academia and theology.

He attended Christ Church, Oxford, where he excelled in his studies, particularly in classical literature and theology. Mainwaring's passion for music and his friendship with George Frideric Handel flourished during his time at Oxford. His interest in Handel's work led to a lifelong dedication to understanding and promoting the composer's legacy.

Mainwaring's most notable accomplishment was his biography of Handel, published in 1760, titled "Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel." This comprehensive work was one of the earliest biographies of Handel, shedding light on the composer's life, compositions, and impact on music. Mainwaring's meticulous research and personal connection with Handel provided invaluable insights into the composer's life and artistic journey.

Around 1775, he embarked on the first major improvement of the grounds of the rectory.

His biography of Handel remains a foundational text for scholars and enthusiasts studying the life and works of the renowned composer. Mainwaring's detailed accounts and intimate knowledge of Handel's life and music have contributed significantly to the understanding and appreciation of Handel's legacy.

Despite his scholarly contributions, Mainwaring's own life remains somewhat obscure beyond his association with Handel. He continued his work in the Church, serving as a clergyman and devoting his spare time to academic pursuits.


  1. Mainwaring, John. "Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel." 1760.
  2. Hicks, Anthony. "Handel, George Frideric." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  3. Dean, Winton, and Knapp, John Merrill. "Handel's 'Memoirs' by Mainwaring: Another Source." The Musical Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 2, 1963, pp. 166–170.

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