While at Winchester Cathedral Wesley was largely responsible for the Cathedral's acquisition in 1854 of the Father Willis organ which had been exhibited at The Great Exhibition, 1851. The success of the Exhibition organ led directly to the award of the contract to Willis for a 100-stop organ for St George's Hall, Liverpool built in 1855. Wesley was the consultant for this major and important project, but the organ was, arguably, impaired for some years by Wesley's insistence that it was initially tuned to unequal temperament.
After singing in the choir of the Chapel Royal as a boy, Samuel Sebastian embarked on a career as a musician, and was appointed organist at Hereford Cathedral in 1832. While there he married the sister of the Dean, John Merryweather. He moved to Exeter Cathedral three years later, and subsequently held appointments at Leeds Parish Church (from 1842), Winchester Cathedral (from 1849) and Gloucester Cathedral (1865-1876). In 1839 he received both his Bachelor of Music degree and a Doctorate of Music degree from Oxford. He became a Professor of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music in 1850. He died at his home in Gloucester on 19 April 1876 aged 65. He is buried next to his daughter in St. Bartholomew's Cemetery in Exeter by the old City Wall. There are memorial tablets to him in Exeter Cathedral and Winchester Cathedral, and his memorial at Gloucester Cathedral is in stained glass.
Celebrations in Leeds for the 200th anniversary of Wesley's birth began with Festal Evensong at Leeds Parish Church on Sunday 4 July 2010 followed by a gala choral recital. Worship on Sunday 15 August was broadcast on BBC Radio Four. Dr Lindley gave a commemorative recital of Wesley's organ music in the evening and a commemorative recital of music by Wesley at Leeds Town Hall on 13 September.