John Balsir Chatterton was born in November 1804 in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He was the third eldest of eight brothers and three sisters. His Father, also John and Mother, Mary (nee Callow) were both from Lincolnshire. Father John became Professor on Music in Portsmouth. A musical family, his brother Frederick and Frederick's daughter, Josephine were also harpists, the former to become Harpist to HRH the Duchess of Gloucester. Another brother Charles enlisted in the East India Company Artillery as a gunner and went to Madras. This started the line of Chatterton's in India resulting in myself. There were, however other Chatterton ancestors who were in India from different branches of the family.
According to The Dictionary of National Biography John came to London and studied the Harp under Robert Boscha and Labarre, succeeding the former as Professor of the Royal Acadamy of Music. His first appearance in London was a concert given by William Aspull (composer, teacher and singer) in 1824. On 1st August 1835 he married Eliza Davenport Latham. The couple had five sons. His appontment as Harpist to Queen Victoria was in 1842 and was to last until his death in 1871. His last public performance was at Windsor on the occasion of the marriage of Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, 21st March 1871. He died not long after at his home in Portman Square, London. His grave at Kensal Green Cemetery is a Grade II listed monument.
- 25th November 1804 born in Portsmouth Hampshire (DNB)
- Came to London and studied the Harp under Robert Boscha and Labarre. (1) succeeding the former as Professor of the Royal Acadamy of Music. (DNB)
- 1824 - First appearance in London, a concert given by Aspull. (DNB)
- 1st August 1835 - Married Eliza Davenport LATHAM (1807-1877)
- 24th June 1836 - Son John Ballsir (H1) born, Marylebone, London
- 27th January 1838 - Son Thomas Davenport (H2) born, London
- 1st June 1839 - Son Frank William (H3) born, London
- 1841 - Son George Latham (H4) born, London
- 1842 - Appointed Harpist to Queen Victoria until 1871 (1)
- 1847 - Son Algernon Balsir (H5) christened
- 21st March 1871 - Last public performance, the marriage of Princess Louise.
- 9th April 1871 - Died at 32, Manchester Street, Portman Square, London, age 67
- Buried at Kensal Green Cemetery.
- DNB - Dictionary of National Biography