IT is generally admitted that John Redford was not only a remarkable organist, choirmaster, and composer, but also a playwright of distinction under Henry VIII; yet his biography is a blank so far as our accredited musical historians are concerned. The only information concerning his personality in the second edition of Grove is the comparatively vague statement that he was 'Organist and Almoner and Master of the Choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral in the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII'. This is the accepted account of Redford, and strange to say modern investigators acquiesce in placing Redford as flourishing in the 'latter part' of Henry VIII's reign, that is to say, as flourishing between the years 1530-47. The only other item of biography vouchsafed is that Tusser was a pupil of Redford. Now it is fairly certain that Tusser's career as a choirboy of St. Paul's cannot have been after 1542 or 1543, and there is no clear evidence that Redford lived much later than 1543. Professor Pollard tells us that Redford Interlude of 'Wyt and Science' was written 'probably towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII', that is, circa 1544; yet there is ample testimony to show that this date must be placed as circa 1538 or 1539- Dr. Ernest Walker, in his History of Music in England ( 1907), confesses that he knows nothing of the life of Redford save that he was organist of St. Paul's Cathedral 'about the middle of the sixteenth century', and Mr. H. Orsmond Anderton, in his Early English Music ( 1920), suggests that Redford's life 'probably extended from 1491 to 1547', but gives no further particulars.
No better proof of Redford's powers need be adduced than the inclusion of his name by Morley, in his Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke ( 1597), among the celebrated English composers who flourished under Henry VIII. Still stronger proof may be found in the dozens of Redford's compositions preserved in the British Museum, including his beautiful Organ Fantasias,