WILLIAM JACKSON was born at Exeter in May 1730. His father, an eminent grocer in that city, gave him a liberal education, with a view to one of the learned professions; but the youth soon discovering a particular genius for music, he was induced to place him under the tuition of Mr. Travers, at that time organist of the King's chapel, and St. Paul's, Covent Garden; under whom having studied about two years, he returned to Exeter, where he for many years practised as a composer, performer, and teacher, with considerable reputation. His compositions, chiefly vocal, are extremely numerous, and of extraordinary merit; but a detail of them would be quite out of place in this work, and, indeed, is little needed, for in the musical circles they are of great celebrity. In 1777 he succeeded Mr. Richard Langdon as sub-chanter, organist, lay-vicar, and master of the choristers, in the cathedral of Exeter.
In 1782 he rose into literary fame by the publication of Thirty Letters on various Subjects, 2 vols. 12mo. which exhibited strong proofs of taste, learning, originality, and genius. In 1791 he published Observations on the present State of Music in London; which were followed in 1798 by The Four Ages, together with Essays on various Subjects. As a dramatist he has produced only two trivial pieces; viz. 1. Lycidas. M. E. 8vo. 1767. 2. The Metamorphosis. C. O. 1783. N.P. Mr. Jackson died at Exeter July 12, 1803.