CONSIDERING that there are Masses, Magnificats, and Motets by Thomas Appleby--all of a good quality--it is surprising that his biography has hitherto proved so elusive. Even the new edition of Henry Davey History of English Music ( 1921) dismisses his career in one sentence: ' Thomas Appleby also appears in the latter set of part-books; he was organist of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1539.' It is almost needless to add that neither Burney nor Hawkins throws any light on this remarkable organist and composer. Fortunately, the publication of the valuable Lincoln Chapter Records, admirably edited by Canon Cole, affords us much desired information as to Appleby, who was for two periods organist and Master of the Choristers of Lincoln Cathedral. I take this opportunity, also, for expressing my sincere thanks to Canon Cole for his kindness in forwarding me the transcripts of all the Chapter Acts bearing on musical appointments from 1520 to 1560.
The name of this Tudor musician appears variously as Appleby, Appelby, and Appulby, but it will be more convenient to adhere to the spelling ' Appleby'. He was probably a native of Lincoln, born 1498, and educated as a chorister in the Cathedral, afterwards proceeding to Oxford. Thomas Appleby, of Balliol College; supplicated B.A., April 26, 1510; admitted May 2; licensed for M.A., June 27, 1515. Be this as it may, he must have displayed unusual musical ability, and at the age of thirty-eight he appears as acting-organist of Lincoln Cathedral in 1536, owing to the ill-health of Robert Dove, Vicar-Choral1. According to the Chapter Records, the said Dove received but 40s. for playing the organ at the Mass of the Blessed Virgin, and 20s. 8d. for playing____________________