Born in London, the son of Thomas Forbes Gerrard Walmisley, a well-known organist and composer of Anglican church music. Thomas Attwood was his godfather, and the boy was educated in music under their tuition. Walmisley was organist of Croyden Parish Church in 1830 before becoming organist at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1833, and there he soon became known for his anthems and other compositions. He was simultaneously organist for the choir at St. John's College, Cambridge, and became Professor of Music at Cambridge in 1836.
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