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date: 02 June 2020


  • David Griffiths
  •  and John Paynter


Cathedral city in England. The Minster was founded in the 7th century and there has been a building on its present site since 1079. From the mid-1200s the music was regulated by a precentor and performed by the vicars choral, who were assisted from about 1500 by lay singing-men; in 1425 the number of choristers was increased from seven to twelve. Polyphonic music was first performed at the end of the 15th century. There was an organ in 1236, and there is evidence of organ building and repairs from 1338 onwards.

At the Reformation most of the Minster services were abolished, and polyphonic music was banned, although it was reintroduced by the 1610s when services by Byrd, Morley, Mundy, the older Robert Parsons and Sheppard were sung. The number of male voices was raised to 20 in 1552, and in the 1600s ranged between 12 and 14; there were 12 choristers between the Reformation and the English Civil War. From the mid-1660s until about ...

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