Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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402                                              PUBITANISM, ETC.
In 1582, she revoked all commissions for penal statutes against concealments (except where suits were pending); because those commissions had been abused by persons endeavouring to obtain the property of churches and corporations. In a letter from Lord Burghley, in 1586, we find that " Hir majestie is pleased to confirme unto the vicars-choral of the Churche of Hereford the graunt of their landes, which hath been sowght by divers greedie persons to have been gotten from them as concealed." (Egerton Papers, p. 119, 4to., Camden Soc, 1840.) Nevertheless, when she gave the control of the lands and benefactions intended for singing men and children, together with other church property, into the hands of deans and chapters, she did more injury to the cause she desired to advocate than all that puritanism could eifect. Puritanism triumphed for a time,—but the grasp of deans and chapters has never been removed.
It was not long before the seed thus sown produced its fruits. During the Queen's life, the injunctions she had issued had the effect of restraining, in some measure, the misappropriation of the funds devoted to the musical service; but her injunctions died with her, and the trusts remained.
The misappropriation of these funds was brought before the notice of James I., in a paper entitled " The Occasions of the decay of Music in Cathedrall and Colledge Churches at this time." It is therein stated that, " whereas, in former tymes of poperye, divers benifaCtions have been given to singing men which have falne within the danger of concealement, and have been againe restored to Deanes and Canons by newe grauntes by the late Queene, with intencion that the same should be imploied as before; contrariwise the same is swallowed up by the Deanes and Canons, because they only are the body of that incorporation, and the singing men are but inferior members." Among the means resorted to, were—Firstly, the giving the actual sum at which the lands were formerly valued, " so as whereas 20 nobles* a yeare, thirty yeares agone, would at this day have equalled the worth of twenty markes a yeare in the maintenance of a man, the same hath lost its value the one halfe, by reason of the dearness of the tyme present." Secondly, the places of singing men were " bestowed upon Taylors, and Shoomakers, and Tradesmen, which can singe only so muche as hath bene taught them" [riot read music] ; "and divers of the said places are bestowed upon their , owne men, the most of which can only read in the church, and serve their master with a trencher at dynner, to the end that the founder may pay the Deanes or Prebends man his wages, and save the hyre of a servant in the master's purse." Thirdly, " All indeavour for teachinge of musick, or the forminge of voices by good teachers was altogether neglected, as well in men as children;" and " many that go under the name of choristers, have that same small maintenance, not for singing, but beinge dumbe choristers, the said wages being by ill governors bestowed upon them to keepe and maintaine them for some other instruction, which the founder never meant; so that in Colledges where there are founded sixteen, twelve, or ten choristers, scarce four of them can singe a note." '
• The value of a noble was 6*. Sd.t and of a mark accounts in marks and nobles in the lawyers' bills of 13*. id. We have a vestige of the old method of keeping the present day.







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III