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Obituary: CANON RAYMOND ALAN HOCKLEY

by
19 April 2013

Roger Shaw writes:

CANON Raymond Hockley, who died on 11 September last year, aged 82, became an Anglican in his early 20s, having been a Quaker in his teens.

He was born in Sheffield, and attended Firth Park Grammar School. It was through a teacher there that he became a Quaker and joined the Student Christian Movement. Instead of National Service, he worked for the Friends Ambulance Unit International Service in Hampshire, followed by a year in a Family Service Unit. It was with this organisation that he became a great friend of the Revd Alfred Jowett, who was a large influence on his conversion.

Raymond loved music from the age of five, and completed his first composition, aged 11. In 1951, he won the Macfarren Scholarship for Composition, which entitled him to three years' free tuition at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied under William Alwyn. He also won several prizes including the Clements Memorial Prize for the Best Chamber Music composed by a British subject in 1954 and in 1955. His music was played regularly by the Society for the Promotion of New Music, and some was broadcast by the BBC on the Third Programme.

After the Royal Academy of Music, he studied theology at Wescott House, Cambridge, and was ordained in Sheffield in 1958. He was Assistant Curate at St Augustine's, Brocco Bank, becoming Curate-in-Charge of Holy Trinity, Wicker with Neepsend, Pitsmoor, in 1961. From there, he went back to Westcott House as Chaplain in 1963. The first performance of his cantata for Easter and the Ascension was performed there.

In 1968, Raymond was appointed Chaplain of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and he remained in this post until 1976. He was elected Fellow and Director of Music in 1970. It was at Emmanuel that he wrote Parlour Games, which had its première at the May Week Concert of 1972. This was a composition in eight movements, with each movement inspired by and dedicated to Fellows and other members of Emmanuel. The movements were Jolly, Sad, Gentle, Boisterous, Serene, Lively, Absurd, and Passionate. I am not sure how many people recognised any of their characteristics in the music.

He also composed pieces for the Chapel Choir, and it was during these years that he started his study of the life and works of Edward Naylor, composer and sometime organist at Emmanuel and Honorary Fellow. Raymond was fully involved in all aspects of college life, not just spiritual and musical areas, and at times was chairman of the Athletics Club and honorary vice-president of the Debating Society. Many students who passed through the college in these years remained his friends.

After his years in Cambridge, Raymond was appointed Residentiary Canon and Precentor of York Minster by Archbishop Stuart Blanch, later Lord Blanch. The Dean at the time was Ronald Jasper, whom he had met through work for the Liturgical Commission. He remained there until his retirement 19 years later.

During his time, he served with a variety of canons, and with Jasper's two successors, John Southgate and (briefly) Raymond Furnell. It would be fair to say that there were frustrations connected with his ministry as Precentor. Serving as a liturgical canon at a time when the Dean chaired the Liturgical Commission was bound to create certain frictions. Jasper's insistence on the introduction of the new liturgies associated with the Alternative Service Book were not to everyone's taste, and Raymond had to cope with much tension.

Whe he arrived at York, the Master of the Music was Dr Francis Jackson, and on his retirement Raymond was involved in the appointment of his successor, Philip Moore. Two of his important responsibilities as Precentor were the installation of an earlier friend of his from Westcott House days, Dr John Habgood (now Lord Habgood), as Archbishop, and the re-dedication, in the presence of the Queen, of the south transept after the great fire of 1984.

Throughout his term of office, he served assiduously as chairman of the governors of the Minster School. He was in charge at the time of considerable expansion and development. The school changed from being a tiny choir school, consisting mainly of choristers with a few non-singing boys, to a normal preparatory school nearly four times the size of the one that Raymond had inherited. Co-education was introduced, thus paving the way for a girls' choir in the Minster.

In his retirement, Raymond moved from York to a small bungalow at Sneaton Castle in Whitby, home to the Order of the Holy Paraclete. He became a close friend of the nuns, and helped them and their Chaplain with services. He had a short period at the College of St Barnabas at Lingwood, before moving to Sutton Coldfield to live in a house owned by his friend Richard Mason. He became a regular worshipper at Emmanuel Church, Wylde Green, made many friends and was a regular contributor to services.

During his retirement, Raymond wrote several suites of piano music, and gave private performances of his work at parties for friends in York and also at St Barnabas's.

Raymond's pastoral, listening, and counselling skills, together with his cheeky sense of humour, will be much missed by his many friends.

A requiem mass, on 22 September, was attended by a large number of his friends, and most periods of Raymond's life were represented.

Some of his work will be performed in a memorial concert in Emmanuel College Chapel, Cambridge, on 27 April, at 2.30 p.m.

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