Cavendish, William, Duke of Newcastle
- Lynn Hulse
(bap. Handsworth, Yorks., Dec 16, 1593; d Welbeck Abbey, Notts., Dec 25, 1676). English poet, playwright and music patron. Christopher Simpson recognized his knowledge of and skill in the science of music and praised him for ‘cherishing and maintaining such as are excellent in it’ (A Compendium of Practical Musick, 1667). The duke's enthusiasm for playing divisions on the bass viol is reflected in his employment of Maurice Webster, from whom he acquired four books of divisions (now lost), and his close friendship with Simpson, who during the early years of the Civil War served under Newcastle's younger son. A 1636 inventory of the duke’s music collection lists important manuscript sources, including the only surviving copy of John Dowland’s funeral psalms for Henry Noel (GB-NO) and a set of ‘Fantasies, Almaigns Corantoes, &c.’ by Webster, Stephen Nau and John Adson (now lost), as well as madrigal prints by English and continental composers and Roman Catholic liturgical works by Infantas and Byrd. Newcastle came into close contact with many theatrical composers. Four songs from his comedy ...