THOSE who have studied the famous Eton College MS.--which has been so admirably and minutely described by Mr. W. Barclay Squire in Archaeologia, vol. lvi1--have been struck with the beauty of the five-part anthem, 'Salve Regina', by R. Hygons. Yet no details have hitherto appeared as to the biography of Hygons, and the only fact deducible from the MS. is that he lived before the year 1510 or 1515.
As will appear from the succeeding chapter on Richard Bramston, there is mention of Hygons in Mr. John E. West Cathedral Organists (Novello, 1921), as the first recorded organist of Wells Cathedral, under the slightly disguised form of ' Richard Hugo'. Mr. West, however, did not suspect the identity of this ' Hugo' with Hygons, but the Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Dean and Chapter of Wells, vol. ii, issued by the Historical Manuscripts Commission in 1914, leaves no room for doubt, and furnishes unimpeachable material for a memoir of this early Tudor composer.
An antiquarian friend suggested to me that probably Richard Hygons was identical with Richard Huchins, who was a vicarchoral of Wells in 1470; but this suggestion cannot stand, because the latter was dead in 1494, and Hygons was certainly living in 1507, as will be seen later. Moreover, the surnames are not the same.
Richard Hygons studied under Abyngdon, and was Master of the Choristers of Wells Cathedral in 1474. In the Chapter Act Book for 1486-7, under date of May 2, 1487, there is a record of a grant to Richard Hygons, Master of the Choristers, 'for his life', in recognition of 'his diligence and good service', of an increased salary of 26s. 8d. yearly, issuing from a vacant stall.____________________