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(b ?Medina del Campo, 1394; ruled 1416–58; d Naples, June 27, 1458). Spanish monarch and patron. He was the son of Fernando I of Antequera and Leonor of Albuquerque. His activity as patron is usually divided into two periods, before and after he had settled in Naples (1433). He was an outstanding patron of minstrels, among them the shawm player Jehan Boisard and the lutenist Rodrigo de la Guitarra. The choir of his royal chapel was, according to his contemporaries, one of the finest of its day. In the two earliest records of its members, dating from 1413 and 1417, there are 13 singers, among them Gacian Reyneau and Leonart Tallender, and two organists. His singers were recruited from Spain, France and Germany: in October 1419 he sent one of them, Huguet lo Franch, to his native land in search of singers, providing him with a letter offering all kinds of privileges. In ...


(b Greenwich, June 28, 1491; ruled 1509–47; d Windsor, Jan 28, 1547). English ruler and patron of music. The younger son of Henry VII, he was originally intended for the Church, and his education included instruction in music. His interest and ability in the art are amply confirmed by contemporary accounts, and when he ascended the throne in 1509 (his elder brother Arthur having died in 1502) music occupied a prominent place in life at court. It played a part in ceremonies of all kinds: meetings of heads of state, processions, banquets, tournaments and so on. Thus, at his coronation banquet ‘there was a stage on which there were some boys, some of whom sang, and others played the flute, rebeck and harpsichord’ (Nicolò Sagudino).

During the first half of Henry's reign the leading court musician was William Cornysh, Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal. Cornysh was in charge of the music and elaborate pageantry at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in ...


(b c1470; d mid-Jan 1538). English lawyer and ecclesiastic. He was master at Trinity College, Arundel, and commissioner and donor of the Caius Choirbook. Born into a Shropshire family, he studied at the University of Oxford, from which he held degrees in both canon and civil law by the time of his ordination to the priesthood in 1501. He subsequently pursued a distinguished legal career in London and Westminster as a judge in the Court of Requests (1509–13) and a master in Chancery (9 March 1512); he may also have been the ‘Master Higons’ named as occupying the privileged position of Clerk of the Closet in Henry VIII's retinue at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in the summer of 1520.

As so often happens, professional advancement and ecclesiastical preferment went hand in hand. During a period of some 30 years Higgins amassed an impressive number of benefices, including at least a dozen rectories, vicarages and deanships, a chaplaincy to Henry VIII (by ...