Early Tudor Composers: Biographical Sketches of Thirty-Two Musicians and Composers of the Period 1485-1555

By W. Henry Hadow; William H. Grattan Flood | Go to book overview
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V. William Newark

UP to the present the earliest notices given of William Newark are in 1483 and in 1503-4. In the latter year his name appears among the Gentlemen of the King's Chapel at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, wife of King Henry VII ( The King's Musick, by Henry Cart de Lafontaine, 1908). However, this distinguished choirmaster and composer was famous at an earlier period, and eventually succeeded Gilbert Banaster as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal in 1486.

William Newark was born (? in Newark on Trent) about the year 1450, and displayed uncommon musical ability at an early age. In 1477-8 we find him a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and he served as such under Kings Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, Henry VII, and the first year of Henry VIII. He was evidently in Court favour, as, in 1479, he was granted a corrody in the monastery of St. Mary, Thetford, a substantial gift duly recorded in the Patent Rolls of Richard III, and dated November 28, 1480. Four years later his services were recognized in a more substantial form, and he was given a grant for life of a yearly rent of £20, accruing from the King's manor of Bletchingley, Surrey. This grant was also entered on the Patent Rolls, 2 Rich. III, and bears the date April 6, 1485.

As has been seen in the first chapter of this volume, Gilbert Banaster, Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal, resigned his office on September 29, 1486, but retained three valuable corrodies till his death in the last week of August 1487. One of these corrodies was attached to the monastery of St. Benets Holme, Norfolk, and, on September 1, 1487, King Henry VII granted it to Newark for life. Doubtless this farm was given to Newark as a solatium for not being appointed, as his merits deserved, to succeed Banaster, but certain it is that Laurence Squire (of whose musical abilities nothing has been handed down),

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