REGARDING this distinguished Tudor composer the biographical data are very scant. Even Davey thus dismisses him:
Gwynneth, a secular priest, was presented to a London vicarage--St. Peter's, Cheap--in 1543; he resigned in the reign of Mary, when he published tracts against the Protestants. His only known work is the song in Wynkyn de Worde's book.
He adds that Gwynneth 'was licensed to proceed Mus.Doc., Oxon., in 1531', and quotes Anthony à Wood's remarks.
Considering that Gwynneth is included in Anthony à Wood's list of famous Oxford composers, as well as in Morley's oft-quoted list, and that he is mentioned by Dr. Burney, it is strange that his biography has never been adequately explored by English musicologists. The inclusion of his song, 'My love mourneth', for four voices, in Wynkyn de Worde's printed Song-Book, dated October 10, 1530, is ample proof of his reputation as a composer at that date.
From the Register of the University of Oxford we learn that John Gwynneth, on supplicating for the degree of Mus.D. on December 9, 1531, set forth that he
. . . had composed all the Responses for the year, in cantis crispis aut fractis, ut aiunt, and many Masses, including three Masses of 5 parts, and five Masses of 4 parts, as well as Hymns, Antiphons, &c.
Evidently his abilities must have been recognized, for we read that he was licensed to graduate as Doctor of Music on payment of a fee of 20d. ( Oxford Register, i. 167).
John Gwynneth was born circa 1498, and was an exhibitioner