For the remainder of 1767, Adcock’s movements are unrecorded, but in 1768 he travelled to Birmingham for the first Birmingham Music Festival founded by his friend the composer Capel Bond. He reprised his performance of Bond’s Trumpet Concerto and served as organ tuner, on which Hellier wrote, ‘you will see Mr. Adcock will not come till the last minute and not half do the organs. So we are always served’.
In the latter half of 1768 he returned to Hereford for the Three Choirs where the first evening’s performance was the oratorio of Samson; on the second morning, at the Cathedral, a new anthem by Mr Norris was performed; in the evening, performed for the first time, was Handel’s oratorio of Israel in Egypt; and on Friday morning, The Messiah, at the College.
That same year, the Theatrical Monitor writing about Adcock called him ‘greatly eminent in his profession of an organ-builder and ever was, and is esteemed as one of the best trumpets in England’.
On the 23 June 1769, the Oxford Journal reported that a concert was performed on the previous Thursday to celebrate the music degree awarded to Charles Burney. Amongst the performers named were Norris, Millar, Malchair, Richard Burney, Park and Lates, all peers and colleagues of Adcock, but there was no sign of the trumpeter. Charles Burney was close friends with George Colman, had he fallen out with Adcock? Or was Adcock too ill to attend?
Adcock performed at the Birmingham Festival, but there is no record of him at the Three Choirs meet. However in 1770 he was commissioned to build an organ for the Worcester Festival and gave a performance during the event; the 1770 festival was notable for a performance by Eliza Ann Linley, later Mrs Sheridan and by Charles Rousseau Burney.
Adcock returned to London, where with a hint of desperation he contacted David Garrick, who wrote to his brother on 30 August:
‘Have you spoke to Richards [leader of the Drury Lane Theatre band] about Adcock ye Trumpet who begs to be restor’d’. He was subsequently hired by Drury Lane and probably remained an employee until his death.
A month or so after the Garrick letter, Adcock made his final appearance at the Three Choirs Meeting. The performances of the first two evenings were, the oratorios of Samson, and Israel in Egypt; on Friday morning, The Messiah was performed in the Cathedral; and in the evening, the novelty of an additional musical performance – a Miscellaneous Concert at the College hall. Miss Linley, also made an appearance at this Meeting, described as ‘the most accomplished singer that this country had produced’, she was sister of the celebrated Thomas Linley, close and esteemed friend of Mozart, who died tragically at the age of twenty-two.
The band was led by Giardini with the other principal instrumental performers, Fischer, Malchair, Parke, Jenkins, Storace, Baumgarten, Lates, Charles Burney, and his brother Richard, a performer on the violin and violoncello.
From 1771-1773 there is no indication that Adcock was active, he was old, probably infirm and possibly leading a life of indigent circumstances.
Abraham Adcock died on the 28 December 1773 and was buried on 2 January 1774 in St Martin in the Fields; his Will was proved in the PCC on 7 January 1774. The speed at which his estate was administered does lend to the conclusion that there was little left to administer; further evidence for this can be derived from the Burney Papers.
Amongst Burney’s collection of newspaper cuttings is an entry regarding the sale of an Adcock organ:
The Daily Advertiser, March 14 1775
‘To be Sold by Auction by Miles Nightingall,
At his Great Room the End of Savile-Row, next Conduit-Street…
On Friday at Two will be sold, a remarkable fine-tone magnificent organ, 22 Feet high by 61 Feet wide, with eight stops, built by that celebrated Artist Mr Abraham Adcock, Organ-Builder and Musician, deceased, tuned, tried, and approved of by some as the most Eminent in that Art and Science, which, by Order of the Executrix, will be submitted to the Candour of the Publick, to enable her to discharge some Debts of her late Husband…’
Rebecca Sarah Adcock probably lived another twenty years. On 3 May 1795 the Governors of the Royal Society of Musicians ordered £5 to be paid to John White for the funeral expenses of Mrs Sarah Adcock.
As for any lasting memorial to Abraham Adcock, there does not appear to be one. The engraver George Bickham Snr produced the only known image of him, this is in the Royal Collection; the Stevens family may have had in their possession ‘a sculptured model’ of him that was passed on to Richard West (Adcock was probably his great, great uncle), however West disappears after 1851.