OF the many distinguished composers who flourished during the reign of Henry VIII the name of Richard Sampson holds an honoured place. Dr. Ernest Walker, in his excellent History of Music in England, and Henry Davey, give prominence to Sampson, but as to biographical data none is furnished save that he was 'Dean of the Chapel Royal in 1516'--an error of date, as will be seen in the course of the present chapter. No previous musical writer has taken the trouble to piece together the scattered references to this remarkable ecclesiastic and composer to be found in the Calendar of Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, and I confess it was no easy task to wade through the twenty volumes (in reality thirty-one parts) of that monumental work, on which account the material unearthed will be serviceable to future investigators of early Tudor music.
To begin with, Richard Sampson, LL.D., was not Dean of the Chapel Royal in 1516. This coveted position, which was generally the prelude to a bishopric, was held by John Vesey during 1514-19 (in which latter year he was made Bishop of Exeter), and by John Clark during 1519-23.
In 1511 Sampson received payment of £10 from Sir Robert Southwell on a diplomatic errand to Antwerp. In 1513-16 he was in the service of Wolsey, and was his representative at Tournai; Archdeacon of Dorset in 1514-16, and Proctor of Tournai, January 12, 1517. Three years later he appears as Dean of St. Stephen's, Westminster, and on April 1, 1522, he was given the canonry of St. Paul's Cathedral, vacant by the death of C. Urswick, to which post was added on June 29 the sacristship of St. Paul's. At length, after the appointment of Dr. John Clark as Bishop of Bath and Wells ( March 26, 1523), and his restitution of temporalities (May 2), Richard Sampson was pro-