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

XXVIII. John Dygon

AMONG the few early Tudor composers whose works are quoted by Sir John Hawkins the name of John Dygoon has an honoured place. Hawkins printed a Motet of his from the Royal Collection, namely, 'Ad lapidis positionem', but so little did the great English musical historian know of Dygon's biography that he considered the work as having been composed towards the middle of the sixteenth century.

Since Hawkins's day no new light has been thrown on the career of Dygon save that he graduated Mus.Bac. at Oxford in 1512, and that he was Prior of St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538. Neither Dr. Ernest Walker nor Mr. Henry Davey has pierced the obscurity which has hitherto enveloped Dygon's biography, and though the amount of new information which I have gleaned is not so large as could be desired, yet the facts now brought to light may serve to stimulate some future delver of Tudor records.

John Dygon was a nephew of the John Dygon who was elected Abbot of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, in January 1497, and was a novice under his uncle between the years 1497 and 1504. It is safe to assume that he was born circa 1485, and he doubtless entered the famous Canterbury choristers' school in 1494. This choristers' school had been endowed so far back as February 1319/20, by Prior Henry, of Eastry, and had therefore a good tradition. Young Dygon, after his reception as a novice, displayed uncommon musical abilities, and at length, having supplicated on March 28, 1512, he was granted the degree of Mus.Bac. at Oxford.

Meantime, Dygon's uncle died in 1509, and was succeeded as Abbot by John Hampton, after whom came John Vokes (Essex). A curious hypothesis was started by Mr. A. Hughes-Hughes in his article on Dygon in the new edition of Grove Dictionary ofMusic and Musicians

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