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

IX. John Browne

JOHN BROWNE was a not inconsiderable figure in English musical art during the closing years of the reign of Henry VII, and yet scanty details are available as to his biography; in fact, Mr. Barclay Squire says that 'nothing is known of him'. Some writers allege that he flourished in the early portion of Henry VIII's reign, while others place him as 'circa 1525'. His works are fairly numerous, and the British Museum can boast of over a dozen of his compositions. He is represented in the famous Eton College Anthem Book1 by a six-part 'Stabat Mater', a five-part 'O Mater venerabilis', an eight-part 'O Maria salvatoris mater', a six-part motet 'O Regina mundi clare', and a five-part 'Salve Regina'. Dr. Ernest Walker, in his admirable History of Music in England ( 1907), quotes with approval John Browne's 'Margaret meeke', which he describes as written 'in a regular rondo form'.2

There has been much confusion over the period of Browne's activity, and this is heightened by the fact that there were two composers of this surname almost contemporaneous. However, their Christian names were not the same, as William Browne of the Chapel Royal was a very different person from John Browne the composer now under notice; and, moreover, John Browne was dead fully ten years before the accession of Henry VIII, whereas William Browne was alive in 1516.

So far I have not been able to locate the early career of John Browne, but he appears to have been Rector of the Parish Church of West Tilbury in 1480. This post he held till the year 1490,

____________________
1
An excellent account of this manuscript, by Mr. Barclay Squire, appears in Archaeologia, lvi. Mr. Squire, however, gives a six-part motet, 'O Marie plena gracie', but this is by Walter Lambe (Dr. James's catalogue).
2
This madrigal is in the British Museum (Add. MS. 5465).

-40-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Note 7
  • Preface 8
  • Contents 11
  • I. Gilbert Banaster 13
  • Ii. David Burton 17
  • Iii. William Cornish 20
  • Iv. William Crane 23
  • V. William Newark 27
  • Vi. Hugh Aston 30
  • Vii. Richard Pygot 34
  • Viii. Robert Fayrfax 37
  • Ix. John Browne 40
  • X. Richard Hygons 43
  • Xi. Richard Bramston 46
  • Xii. John Taverner 49
  • Xiii. Thomas Farthing 52
  • Xiv. Thomas Ashwell 55
  • Xv. Richard Davy 60
  • Xvi. Robert Cowper, Mus.D. 64
  • Xvii. John Lloyd 66
  • Xviii. Robert Jones 69
  • Xix. Nicholas Ludford 72
  • Xx. Sir William Hawte 76
  • Xxi. William Pasche 79
  • Xxii. Richard Sampson 83
  • Xxiii. Simon Burton 86
  • Xxiv. William Whytbroke 89
  • Xxv. Thomas Knight 92
  • Xxvi. John Redford 95
  • Xxvii. Thomas Appleby 100
  • Xxviii. John Dygon 104
  • Xxix. John Gwynneth, Mus.Doc. 108
  • Xxx. Richard Edwards 112
  • Xxxi. Edward Higgins 116
  • Xxxii. William Parsons 119
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