ISSN: 1089-747X
Copyright © 1995–2013 by the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 15, no. 1:

Andrew Woolley*

The Harpsichord Music of Richard Ayleward (?1626–1669), “an Excellent Organist” of the Commonwealth and Early Restoration


1. Richard Ayleward of Norwich

2. Ayleward’s Keyboard Music: “Lost” Sources

3. Lambeth Palace Library Manuscript

4. Royal College of Music Manuscript

5. The “Continental” Group

6. Ayleward’s Harpsichord Music




1. Richard Ayleward of Norwich

1.1 On Saturday, 27 April 1667, the warden of New College, Oxford, Michael Woodward (1602–1675) visited the city of Norwich and heard a performance of the organist of the cathedral:

Their Organist is Mr. Alworth sonne unto Alworth the pettie Canon of Winton [Winchester]; an Excellent Organist who played a very good voluntary & afterward an Excellent Te Deum, the Organ not guilt, nor very bigg, but very sweet. I desired to know who made the Te Deum, hee told mee himself. I desired that I might have it for our Organ; hee replied that it was hardly finished as yet & that he intended to make a whole service & then I should have it.1

Woodward’s account at least suggests that Ayleward and music at Norwich cathedral achieved some renown in the 1660s. Modern scholars have observed that Ayleward’s surviving music suggests he was a musician of considerable talents. Ian Spink writes enthusiastically of his three services and twenty-five anthems, which often require considerable forces (one anthem, “Blow up the trumpet,” is in twelve parts): “Taken together they are remarkable, showing no obvious models in the music of the previous generation or similarities with that of his contemporaries—other than perhaps George Jeffreys and Matthew Locke.”2 A considerable amount of harpsichord music by Ayleward also survives. However, it has largely escaped modern attention, probably due, in part, to its apparently fragmentary state, and because the main source at present is a nineteenth-century transcription of a contemporary manuscript that is unlocated. Yet closer study reveals a repertory that would be worth exploring by harpsichordists, albeit one faced with unusual textual problems.

1.2 Little is known about Ayleward’s career, and nothing about his life before the Restoration, except that he was a chorister at Winchester Cathedral in 1638 and 1639 where he would presumably have been a pupil of Christopher Gibbons.3 Virtually all biographies state that he was born in Winchester in 1626 (which would make sense if he was a chorister there in the late 1630s), but the evidence for this is unclear. The date may have originated with Arthur Henry Mann (1850–1929), who mentioned it in a note accompanying an organ book partly in Ayleward’s hand in Kings College at Cambridge.4 The note is dated “June 1886,” but some years later, in notes for a lecture he gave on “Old Norwich Cathedral Musicians” (1903), Mann instead claimed: “I have not yet been able to find the exact date of his [Ayleward’s] birth.”5 It may be that Mann was aware of a document relating to Ayleward’s career at Norwich cathedral from which he was able to estimate a birth date (it also noteworthy that he knew Ayleward was the son of Richard Ayleward of Winchester, a fact confirmed by Woodward). Indeed, a “Richard Alward” was baptized in the parish of Catherington, Hampshire, on January 24, 1626.6 Nevertheless, it seems the date cannot be accepted wholeheartedly at present.

1.3 Ayleward was appointed organist and Master of the Choristers at Norwich in March 1660–1.  There are indications, however, that his time at Norwich was not altogether smooth-flowing. For unknown reasons, between early 1664 and July 1666, he was replaced as organist, and in 1664 a canon at Norwich was paid “for what he laid out for sending for Mr Aylward at the Assizes.”7 The previous year Ayleward also quarreled with the St. George’s Company, an ancient Norwich guild, about a yearly allowance of foodstuffs to the Master of the Choristers and his choir.8 In 1667, he probably married Elizabeth Weedes in the parish of Saint Mary in the Marsh, Norwich.9 It is tempting to speculate that Ayleward was also active in London or Oxford at some point, the two principal musical centers in England in the seventeenth century, given the sophistication of his music. Nevertheless, source evidence only hints at this. His sacred music survives in sources that originate from Norwich cathedral, and the provenance of the keyboard sources remains unclear.

2. Ayleward’s Keyboard Music: “Lost” Sources

2.1 Three contemporary manuscript sources of Ayleward’s keyboard music existed into the twentieth century. However, only one of them can be located today. Most regrettable of the losses, from the point of seventeenth-century English keyboard music generally, is a large and important manuscript formerly owned by the collector William H. Cummings. It was described by John West in 1910, when it was in Cummings’s possession, and contained an unusually diverse repertory:

organ music by Tresure, William Lawes (killed at Chester, 1645), Richard Ayleward (organist of Norwich Cathedral: died 1669), Morley, Gibbs (probably Richard Gibbs, organist of Norwich Cathedral before the Commonwealth), Byrd, Locke, Cobb (organist to Charles I), Christopher Gibbons, Orlando Gibbons and others. It was written probably about 1660–1670. The music is in a bold hand on six-line staves … An interesting feature is the fingering of some of the pieces.10

Geoffrey Cox has pointed out that the volume was one of two sold together at the 1917 Sotheby’s sale of Cummings’s collection as: “Compositions of early English musicians, including Richard Cobb, Tho. Morley, R. Price etc.; English and Italian Fantasias for the organ, etc. MANUSCRIPT; 2 vol. calf. Autograph of H. J. Gauntlett.”11 The organist, composer and critic Henry John Gauntlett (1805–76) sold his collection in 1847, which included both volumes, sold separately, as lots 337 and 349 respectively.12 They were presumably sold together at the Cummings sale because they came from Gauntlett’s collection and both contained keyboard music; they were probably not otherwise connected, and “autograph of H. J. Gauntlett” probably meant that Gauntlett signed the manuscripts rather than copied them. In addition to the composers mentioned by West, the 1847 catalogue mentions that the English volume also included pieces by “M Lawes” and “F. à Kempis.” It also gives further details about the “Italian” volume that are intriguing: “Amongst the writers whose compositions are in this curious volume are Claude de Correggio, Palestrina, Ad. Wilaert, O. de Lasso, Petit Jachet, Clemens non Papa, Ruggerius, Cipriani del Rori, etc.” In the English volume, “M Lawes” is probably a misreading of “W Lawes” or “Mr” Lawes, whom West mentions, while “F à Kempis” may have been the Flemish organist and composer Johannes Florentius à Kempis (1635–1711), or another member of the same musical family.13 

2.2 Both Gauntlett volumes are described in the earliest catalogue of the Nanki Music Library, Tokyo, exactly as they are in the 1917 Cummings catalogue.14 Many items in the Cummings collection were sold to the Marquis Yorisada Tokugawa, who founded the Library.15 However, neither manuscript is listed in the 1970 printed catalogue.16 In 1939, an attempt was made to sell the Nanki collection to the Library of Congress, Washington D. C., at which point some items may have gone missing “in transit.”17 Nevertheless, as the 1925 catalogue mechanically reproduces the descriptions, word-for-word, of items as they appeared in the 1917 sale catalogue, it may not have been an entirely accurate account of the library’s holdings.18

2.3 The other manuscript which cannot now be traced was formerly in the collection of Thomas Taphouse (1838–1905), music collector, alderman of the city of Oxford, and owner of a music shop.19 It is described in two catalogues of Taphouse’s library, the 1905 Sotheby’s sale catalogue,20 and in a manuscript catalogue compiled by Taphouse dated “1890.”21 The 1890 catalogue describes the manuscript as “a curious + valuable collection of allmaines, corantes, sarabands, jigs, variones + Passionate ayres for the harpsichord: (?or lute) some signed–Richard Aylward. M. S. small obl 4to. C.1640.”  A more detailed description, however, was given by Fredrick George Edwards in an article of 1904 on “Norwich Cathedral” for The Musical Times:

Mr Taphouse possesses a volume of music entirely in the handwriting of Richard Ayleward—a Collection of Allmaines, Corantes, Sarabands, Jiggs, Variones and Passionate Ayres for the Harpsichord, most of them signed by Ayleward. The book also contains some directions for tuning the harpsichord according to equal temperament, which shows that at so early a period as the 17th century a Norwich organist gave attention to so complicated a subject.22

This description was partly influenced by Mann, the organist of King’s College, who had begun his series of lectures on Norwich cathedral musicians the previous year, a portion of which was devoted to Ayleward.23 Mann’s assistance is acknowledged at the end of Edwards’s article, and he spoke about the manuscript at the lecture in almost identical terms. He stated that it was an autograph and that it contained “some directions for tuning the harpsichord, on what is known as equal temperament, proving that Ayleward had—even at this early period[—]given attention to this complicated subject.” During the lecture, Mann also performed three pieces from the book on the piano entitled “Allemande,” “Courante,” and “a Lamond.” It seems unlikely that a seventeenth century manuscript would have contained instructions for tuning in equal temperament, although it may have contained tuning instructions of some kind. Ayleward may have experimented with unusual temperaments as the manuscript contained pieces in E major and even B major, so the tuning instructions may at least have been designed to accommodate distant keys.

2.4 From the early 1890s Mann corresponded with Taphouse, and in 1902, he requested that Taphouse send the manuscript to him. Taphouse replied, “Any book or books in my possession are always at your service. Let me know when and where the Ayleward M.S. is to be sent & it shall be done.”24 At the 1905 sale of Taphouse’s collection, however, Mann purchased the manuscript for his own collection. It presumably remained with him until his death. In 1930, a large part of his collection was bequeathed to King’s College, although the manuscript was probably not part of this bequest, which included mostly eighteenth-century items, largely Handel material.25 

2.5 Hereafter all trace is lost of the Taphouse manuscript as it is not explicitly mentioned in the 1945 Sotheby’s sale of remaining items in Mann’s collection.26 However, John Harley has suggested that it may have been sold as part of Lot 499.27 The lot describes a manuscript of voluntaries by Greene or Boyce, a “MS. 12 ll. of a Verse Anthem [apparently by Philip Hayes], dated on the first page 1788,” “and another,” which might have been the Taphouse manuscript. The Green/Boyce manuscript entered the collection of Wilfred Thompson, and microfilms of it once belonged to Thurston Dart and Theodore Finney. Dart later lent his microfilm to his research student Peter Williams who made an edition of the manuscript, while Harry Diack Johnstone had access to Finney’s microfilm in Oxford around 1964.28 The auctioneer’s copy of the 1945 sale catalogue in the British Library indicates, however, that the purchaser of the lot and several others were the antiquarian book dealers Maggs and Co. It seems likely therefore that Thompson bought the manuscript from a North American bookseller, and may not have come into contact with the Taphouse manuscript. In addition, it is unlikely that the microfilms of the Green/Boyce manuscript included the Ayleward manuscript since Dart and others would probably have brought it to public attention.

3. Lambeth Palace Library Manuscript

3.1 The only source of Ayleward’s harpsichord music that survives in its original form is the Lambeth Palace Library MS 1040, one of a pair of seventeenth century music manuscripts, the other being a mid-century song book (GB-Llp MS 1041). Gordon Callon has pointed out that both manuscripts were deposited in the library over the period 1725–50 judging from early catalogues, although they are apparently otherwise unrelated.29 MS 1040 is an upright quarto volume of 51 leaves (52 numbered: “27” is skipped) measuring approximately 20cm x 27cm. It has a contemporary full brown leather binding (back replaced), on the front and back of which, in the center, is a gilt diamond-shaped ornament with the initial “A L.” An Arms of Strasbourg watermark is present, one resembling type “Bend 1” encountered in English music manuscripts of the 1630s.30 The manuscript was written by two principal copyists; the first entered twenty-one complete pieces (ff. 1v–17r) and two incomplete pieces (f. 24r and 52r) and the second copied seven pieces by Ayleward. A third copyist appears to have entered the bass of two grounds, the second of which is “Polewheel’s Ground” (f. 1r) (Table 1).31 Harley has suggested that the manuscript was used for teaching since many of the pieces in the hand of the first copyist are extensively fingered, and that first copyist may have taught “A L.”32

3.2 The hand of the first main copyist is also found in two other contemporary English manuscripts of harpsichord music, GB-Ob Mus. Sch. d. 219 and US-NYp Drexel MS 5611 (pp. 155–9).33 There is evidence that suggests it is the hand of the London keyboard player and composer Albertus Bryne (ca.1621–68). These two manuscripts are the principal sources of Bryne’s harpsichord music, and a recent edition has shown that the texts of Bryne’s pieces that they contain, which are in the hand of the “Bryne scribe,” are excellent.34 Drexel MS 5611 also contains several pieces by Bryne, which were entered by a different copyist, the main copyist of the manuscript, Thomas Heardson (fl. 1637–42).35 In Drexel MS 5611, the “Bryne scribe” (who never appears to use the formal appellation “Mr”) signed one of the Bryne pieces that Heardson copied, the D major Allemande (pp. 145–6), and apparently made musical corrections to some of them, notably in measure 2 of the D major Sarabande (p. 145) and in m. 10 of the A minor Courante (p. 151), which suggests he was the composer of these pieces.36

3.3 The second principal copyist in MS 1040 entered two suites by Ayleward in A major and D major (ff. 18v–23r), each piece of which is signed “Rich: Ayleward.” They appear after the first copyist had entered most of his pieces. However, the first copyist returned to the manuscript later to copy an incomplete sarabande in E minor on f. 24v.37 A plausible explanation is that the owner somehow acquired a manuscript of Ayleward’s pieces and copied them into her manuscript before the course of lessons with the “Bryne scribe” had been completed. Harley proposes that the Ayleward pieces are in the composer’s hand, observing that signatures in an organ book partly in Ayleward’s hand located in the Rowe library are similar to the Ayleward “signatures” in MS 1040.38 However, an examination of the musical hand of the second copyist in MS 1040 and the music copied by Ayleward in MS 9, reveals the hands cannot be the same, despite some similarities in the signatures (see (Figure 1a and 1b). This is apparent, for instance, from the upward note stems, which in Rowe MS 9 are more or less upright or slightly left-slanting, whereas in MS 1040 the stems are often considerably right-slanting, and vice versa for downward stems. In all probability, the “Rich: Aylward” signatures in MS 1040 are imitations of Ayleward’s signature made by an amateur from autographs now lost. Indeed, the labored and unpracticed appearance of the hand suggests it is not that of a professional musician.

4. Royal College of Music Manuscript

4.1 Harley has also pointed out that a copy of the Taphouse manuscript survives written by the pianist and writer, Edward Dannreuther (1844–1905), in a Royal College of Music manuscript.39 The volume is a composite of several manuscripts dated in one instance “Oct 23/[18]90,” and belongs to the papers that Dannreuther bequeathed to the College, where he was professor of piano from 1895.40 It contains a complete copy of Charles Dieupart’s Six Suittes de Clavessin (1701) (ff. 3–51), which was probably taken from an exemplar owned by Taphouse,41followed by sketches of musical subjects from pieces by Froberger, François Couperin, and J.S. Bach (f. 52r) (above which, he wrote, in a later ink: “the following probably originate with the lutenists,”) and some transcriptions from Frescobaldi’s Toccate d’intavolatura (1637) (ff. 53–6), an exemplar of which also formed a part of Taphouse’s library.42 The final part of the manuscript is headed (in pencil) “For Lute or Harpsichord (trans. E.D.),” and at the bottom, “M.S. in Taphouse’s collection, Oxford” (ff. 57–131).

4.2 In his transcription of the Taphouse manuscript, Dannreuther copied sixty-six pieces, numbered inaccurately into two sets, 1–33 and 1–31 (in roman numerals). It seems reasonable to assume that the two numberings were intended to represent opposite ends of the same manuscript and not two separate manuscripts, both of which would now be lost. Both sets of numberings include pieces by Ayleward and the titles in the first set are mentioned in the descriptions of the original manuscript, notably the “Passionate Ayre.” However, the tuning instructions are not present. Dannreuther was later to use his transcriptions from Taphouse’s music collection when working on his well-known primer, Musical Ornamentation (1893–5), in which he acknowledges his use of the Taphouse manuscript.43 The transcriptions were also clearly used for two lectures Dannreuther gave in May 1892 on “Bach’s Chamber Music,” which included performances of pieces from the Dieupart collection.44

4.3 The lecture notes for “Bach’s Chamber Music” show why Dannreuther thought the manuscript was intended “for lute or harpsichord,” a theory that probably influenced Taphouse in his 1890 catalogue. Considering the question of why J.S. Bach and his contemporaries had written suites of movements for keyboard all in the same key, he wrote: “can there have been any extra musical; any mechanical reason for it?  I found … the practice derives from the Lute, like so many other peculiarities in early instrumental music,” and that “at and before Lully’s time (Louis XIV) French lute music was sometimes transcribed from tablature to staff notation and published as apt for both [lute and harpsichord] … From thence I turned to m.s. Lute books of still earlier date.”  He goes on to suggest that suites of pieces were written in the same key because lutenists did not wish to re-tune the open bass courses for successive pieces and that the practice had filtered into lute-derived keyboard music. In addition, it is clear from this that Dannreuther was unaware that lute music was normally notated in tablature in the seventeenth century. The music of the Taphouse manuscript transcription suggests strongly that Dannreuther did not transcribe the pieces from lute tablature. It is true that some element of lute style is apparent in the music, such as the often sparse textures and extensive employment of style brisé. However, these are features of much keyboard music of northern Europe from the mid century, and the wide compass of the music, in addition to the occasional errors due to difficulties transcribing from six-line staff notation, make it highly unlikely that Dannreuther was transcribing a collection intended for a lute.

4.4 At the top of f. 60r, Dannreuther wrote “Rich Ayleward in c. 1640.” In addition, Taphouse dated the manuscript “C.1640” his 1890 catalogue. However, it seems likely that this date was Dannreuther’s estimate and was not taken from the manuscript. Ayleward would only have been fourteen in that year (assuming he was born around 1626), and the suite groupings that the transcription contains strongly suggest the original had a Commonwealth or early Restoration date. Dannreuther’s account of “lute” books, “at and before Lully’s time,” in his “Bach’s Chamber Music” lecture notes clearly played a part in dating the manuscript too early.

4.5 Dannreuther evidently encountered difficulties transcribing from the Taphouse manuscript, given several crossings-out and queries about the notation throughout, and it seems inevitable that it contains errors of detail. For example, he writes “but wrong!” over a puzzling time signature (f. 131r), and “(sic)” on several occasions. Nevertheless, this betrays a concern to obtain an accurate transcription of the manuscript. Several features of the transcription also suggest the original makeup of the manuscript. Noteworthy is that most of the pieces are organized into suites consisting of allemande, courante, and sarabande; or allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue, which may be an indication that the original was the work of one or two copyists at most. The first four pieces are a mixture of A minor and E major on two paper types (the second half of the A minor Courante, and the E major Sarabande, are on a leaf of different paper) (Table 2). However, the E major piece on f. 60r in fact belongs to the E major prelude-like piece on f. 62r, next to which is written “for No V see back of p. [60].” Moreover, the music can be divided into two groups, judging from its style and textures (which may reflect two scribal layers). The first may be described as the “Ayleward” group, consisting of the pieces on ff. 57–79 and 97–131, which are either anonymous or attributed to Ayleward, and are apparently unique to the manuscript; all these pieces may be by Ayleward. The second group, on ff. 80–96, consists of at least one piece by Jonas Tresure and the two pieces by “J.B.V.,” which is referred to here as the “Continental” group. It would have been copied after the “Ayleward” group at the “front” end.

5. The “Continental” Group

5.1 While it is possible that some of the music on ff. 80–96 in MS 1154 at the Royal College of Music is by Ayleward, closer examination reveals it is quite different in style and texture from the music in the rest of the manuscript and the pieces by Ayleward in MS 1040.45 Several of the pieces in this part of the manuscript are found in sources not of English provenance, and one that may have been compiled by a Dutch or German musician active in England. Noteworthy is a setting of Courante “La Vignonne” with double (ff. 90–2), another source of which is in an English manuscript that was sold at Sotheby’s in 2009.46 Settings of this piece were extremely popular in north Germany and the Netherlands throughout the seventeenth century.47  The double strains of the MS 1154 setting retain the outline of the melody, a technique that was often used by Dutch and north German composers, but rarely by English composers, suggesting it may not be a setting by an English composer. “J.B.V.” could also be the initials of a French, Dutch or German musician, and one of his pieces has the foreign title “Allemande Nouvelle.” Several possibilities are apparent as to his identity, although none is particularly convincing: one is that he was a member of the Verdier family, the main members being Robert, a French court violinist, and Pierre, who was active in Sweden.48 A chaconne attributed to “Verdier” in two late-seventeenth-century French keyboard sources found its way into The Second Part of Musick’s Hand-maid (1689) and English manuscripts of the same period and later.49 Another is that Dannreuther somehow transcribed the initials wrongly and that he was Jean de La Volée, a French keyboard player who probably emigrated to England ca.1660–1, and became a member of Charles II’s private household in 1663 as “Joueur de Clavessin de la musique.”50

5.2 A number of the pieces in the “Continental” portion of the manuscript may be by Jonas Tresure (fl. 1650–60). Tresure is a noteworthy figure in that his music (all for harpsichord) survives in English, Dutch, German and Swedish sources, yet nothing is known about his life.51 Bruce Gustafson points out his name and the sources of his music suggest he may have been of Dutch origin and immigrated to England (and not a Frenchman as is sometimes assumed).52 This hypothesis is strengthened by the contents of MS 1154, notably another copy of “Allemand Tresoor,” other sources of which are the Van Eijl manuscript (NL-At 208 A 4) and GB-Ob Mus. Sch. f. 576, a manuscript that may have been copied by a Dutch musician active in England around 1690 judging from its contents.53 All sources of this piece are textually concordant (some minor variants notwithstanding), suggesting it was transmitted in manuscripts, presumably deriving from autographs, in both England and the Netherlands. Mus. Sch. f. 576 also contains a copy of the Sarabande in A minor on f. 82r of MS 1154, where it appears amongst a suite that may well be entirely by Tresure (ff. 82r–76v). The prelude of the Mus. Sch. f. 576 suite is also found in another Dutch source, the Gresse manuscript (NL-Uu MS q-1), further highlighting its Dutch connections (and Tresure’s).54 The possibility remains, however, that both Mus. Sch. f. 576 and the source of MS 1154 reflect limited circulation of the piece in England, and that it was largely known to Dutch rather than English musicians.

6. Ayleward’s Harpsichord Music

6.1 Ayleward’s harpsichord music in GB-Llp MS 1040 and GB-Lcm Ms 1154 shares features with English music of the 1650s and 1660s, such as organization into allemande-courante-sarabande suites. Similar suites were written by Bryne, and the anonymous composer of the three little suites in the early portion of GB-Och Mus. 1179 (1660s), while later composers in England (such as Purcell) tended not to use this “classical” suite design as rigidly.55 Ayleward often favored the employment of “broken” textures (style brisé) in his pieces, a style common in English music of the 1650s onwards. Indeed, some pieces, notably several sarabandes in MS 1154, and the fine “Symphonie” in MS 1040 (ff. 18v–19r), are built almost entirely on chains of broken chords and “broken” stepwise melodies staggered in front of the accompaniment.56 In some pieces, however, the staggering of notes also occurs in the lower parts to highly unusual syncopated effect, notably in two of the Allemande/Gigue-like pieces in MS 1154 (nos. 8 and 17). These features suggest an indebtedness to lute style common to English harpsichord music of the Commonwealth period, which was stimulated by transcriptions of pieces that were probably originally written for the lute, notably those of John Mercure.57 Pieces by Mercure occur among the copying of the “Bryne scribe” in MS 1040, while there are parallels between Mercure’s Sarabande in A minor (preserved in MS 1040, f. 10v), and a Sarabande in C major by Ayleward (no. 23) in their opening repeated-note syncopated figure. The low tessitura Ayleward’s piece is also noteworthy, suggestive of a link with lute style.

6.2 Several of Ayleward’s courantes and sarabandes feature double or variation strains, occasionally encountered in courantes by Bryne, and often in those of another contemporary, John Roberts (fl. ca.1650–70). The most common type of variation are scalic in character, resembling divisions for other instruments.58 A courante and double indirectly attributed to Roberts, using the scalic technique, appears in GB-Och Mus. 1177.59 Another Courante and double by Roberts, however, employs style brisé as the principal “mode” of the variation,60 and all of Ayleward’s variations are in this style. Ayleward is also unusual for occasionally writing dances in three strains; by the middle of the century, two strains are the norm. In the third strain of a G major Sarabande, no. 24, from MS 1154, a contrasting style brisé texture is employed at a higher tessitura. Likewise, contrasting tessituras for each strain in another three-strain piece resembling a gigue or sarabande, evoke changes of registration (no. 27). The sign in measure 12 presumably indicates the repetition of the final four dotted whole note measures, which prompted Dannreuther to write “Dal segno” at the end. A similar repeat sign occurs in the pieces by Ayleward entitled “Promise” (resembling a courante) and “Performance” (resembling a sarabande) in MS 1040. A third unusual feature of Ayleward’s music in MS 1154 is the use of E major and even B major (ff. 127–31). There is a hint that a number of composers experimented with “extreme” keys around the middle years of the seventeenth century in England. E major is occasionally used in other keyboard sources; notably there are a few pieces in the hand of the “Bryne scribe” in MS 1040, while the lutenist John Wilson wrote a set of preludes in all keys.61 Indeed, the range of keys used by Ayleward suggest he may have been attempting something similar to Wilson’s series for the harpsichord.

6.3 One unusual feature of the “Ayleward” pieces in MS 1154 concerns their apparently fragmentary textures. This “incompleteness” falls into two categories. The first is a type common to much harpsichord music of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries whereby the texture has been reduced to a treble and bass, often inviting the performer to supply an inner part, or parts, where appropriate in order to fill-out the harmony. The varied density of texture in Ayleward’s pieces is particularly striking, ranging from “muddy” four-voice chords assigned to the left-hand part in some pieces to very sparse writing in others. Sparse-textured pieces are noticeably prominent among the second “Ayleward” group in MS 1154 (ed. nos. 29–60). We also find several pieces appearing at first sight to be in sketch form, a highly unusual occurrence in seventeenth-century keyboard sources. However, it seems likely that this sketchiness stems from difficulties that Dannreuther faced in transcription, and could also be the result of confusions stemming from an unfamiliarity with the notation. This is plausibly the case for the Allemande in D minor (no. 39). In this case, it seems probable that Dannreuther sought to “correct” several measures of only two quarter notes in length by lengthening the durations of the notes in these measures accordingly to make four quarter-note measures (mm. 4–6 and 13). The result equalized the measure lengths but distorted the harmonic rhythm by periodically doubling it.

6.4 While the source situation for Ayleward’s harpsichord music is problematic, the sheer quantity of music by him that survives (if one assumes the authenticity of the pieces in MS 1154), and its occasionally striking originality, makes him deserving of attention. Indeed, his music adds significantly to the corpus of English harpsichord music from the middle years of the seventeenth century, prompting us to rank him alongside Bryne and Locke. Ayleward’s harpsichord music also shows the cosmopolitan outlook of English instrumental music of this period. He was evidently receptive to lute style, which was also cultivated by Bryne especially, but in a way that appears to be unique to him: the “breaking” of the bass line, in particular, may be regarded as a trait especially distinctive to Ayleward. One can only hope for the recovery of the Taphouse manuscript in the future, which would surely allow us to evaluate his contribution more fully.


* Andrew Woolley ( studied at the University of Leeds with Peter Holman and is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Reid School of Music at the University of Edinburgh (2011–13). His research covers topics relating to music in Britain 1650–1780. He has published “Henry Purcell” in Oxford Bibliographies, and an article on “Purcell and the Reception of Lully’s ‘Scocca pur’ (LWV 76/2) in England” is forthcoming for the Journal of the Royal Musical Association.

1 Roy Llewellyn Rickard, ed., “The Progress Notes of Warden Woodward 1659–1675 and Other 17th-Century Documents Relating to the Norfolk Property of New College, Oxford” in A Miscellany (Norwich: Norfolk Record Society Publications 22, 1951), 97.

2 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, s.v. “Ayleward, Richard.”  See also Ian Spink, Restoration Cathedral Music, 1660–1714 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 305–8.

3 See Watkins Shaw, The Succession of Organists of the Chapel Royal and the Cathedrals of England and Wales from c.1538 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 202. The researches of Arthur Henry Mann in the late nineteenth century also brought to light several documents relating to Ayleward’s life. See Mann, Old Norwich Cathedral Musicians, Text of a Lecture given by Dr. A.H. Mann 5 March 1903, ed. Tom Roast (Norwich: [editor], 2001), 27–37.

4  GB-Ckc Rowe MS 9.

5 Mann, Old Norwich Cathedral Musicians, 27.

6 FamilySearch, an internet geneology service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Unfortunately the Catherington register does not record the name of the parents; I am grateful to staff at Portsmouth City Record Office for investigating the register on my behalf. No likely record of Ayleward’s birth or of records relating to his father appear in Hampshire Parish Registers. Marriages [with birth and death registers for the parishes of Winchester Cathedral and St. Swithun-upon-Kingsgate], ed. William Phillimore Watts Phillimore and Herbert Chitty, 16 vols. (London: Phillimore and Co., 1899–1914).

7 Shaw, The Succession, 202.

8 A correspondence between Ayleward and a representative of the Company concerning the dispute, which makes amusing reading, was printed in the Norwich Gazette on June 13, 1727. See Mann, Old Norwich Cathedral Musicians, 30–3.

9 FamilySearch. From the late sixteenth century, the parish of Saint Mary in the Marsh did not have its own church, and instead used one of the chapels of the cathedral (see

10 John E. West, “Old English Organ Music,” Proceedings of the Musical Association, 37th Session (1910–11): 1–16 (4); this article was reprinted in Sammelbände der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft 12, Jahrg. H. 2 (January–March, 1911): 213–21 (215).

11 Organ Music in Restoration England: A Study of Sources, Styles and Influences (New York: Garland, 1989), 521–2. See Catalogue of the Famous Musical Library of Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Musical Scores, etc., the property of the late W. H. Cummings (London: Sotheby’s, 17–24 May, 1917).

12 Catalogue of the Very Extensive, Rare, and Valuable Musical Library of a Distinguished Professor (London: Puttick and Simpson, December 17, 1847). It indicates the English volume was sold to Joseph Warren. For Gauntlett, see Nicholas Temperley, Grove Music Online, s.v. “Gauntlett, Henry John” (accessed March 13, 2009).

13 See Jean Ferrard and Lewis Reece Baratz, Grove Music Online, s.v. “A Kempis” (accessed March 13, 2009).

14 Catalogue of the W. H. Cummings Collection in the Nanki Music Library (Tokyo: Nanki Music Library, 1925), 11.

15 See Hugh McLean, “Blow and Purcell in Japan,” The Musical Times 104, no. 1448 (October, 1963): 702–5.

16 Catalogue of Rare Books and Notes: The Ohki Collection, Nanki Music Library (Tokyo: Nanki Music Library, 1970).

17 See Nathan Bergenfield, “‘The William Raylton Virginal Book,’ Tokyo, Nanki Music Library MS N. 3. 35: Transcription and Commentary,” (Ph. D. diss., New York University, 1983), 28–9.

18 John Cunningham, private communication.

19 Albi Rosenthal, Grove Music Online, s.v. “Taphouse, Thomas William” (accessed March 13, 2009).

20 Catalogue of the Valuable and Interesting Music Library of the late T. W. Taphouse (London: Sotheby’s, July 3–4, 1905).

21 “Catalogue of Instruments, Literature, and Compositions Illustrating the History of the Pianoforte in the Possession of T. W. Taphouse, Oxford 1890” (GB-LEc R MS 781.9732).

22 “Dotted Crotchet,” “Norwich Cathedral” The Musical Times 45, no. 741 (November, 1904): 700–12, esp, 710. The identity of “Dotted Crotchet” as Fredrick George Edwards (1853–1909), who was editor of The Musical Times from 1897 until his death, is indicated in an article by “A. S. C.,” “Calcutta Cathedral and Its New Organ,” The Musical Times 56, no. 872 (October, 1915): 600–3: “Our beautiful English Cathedrals and their musical associations have been described in a series of articles in the pages of the Musical Times from the pen of the late Mr. F. G. Edwards, better known perhaps under the pseudonym ‘Dotted Crotchet’.” (600).

23 Old Norwich Cathedral Musicians, 27–37.

24 December 14: “MS letters to A. H. Mann,” vol. 5 (GB-NW MS 4240).

25 Alec Hyatt King, Some British Collectors of Music (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963): 83–4; and Jill Vlasto, “The Rowe Music Library, King’s College, Cambridge,” The Music Review 12, no. 1 (February, 1951): 72–7. Searches by the library staff at King’s College have brought nothing to light (December, 2006).

26 Catalogue of Printed Books with a Few Autograph Letters & Manuscripts (London: Sotheby’s, June 25, 1945).

27 John Harley, “An Early Source of the English Keyboard Suite,” Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 28 (1995): 51–8 (53). The source is GB-Llp MS 1040.

28 See Peter Williams (ed.), Twelve Voluntaries for the Organ or Harpsichord by William Boyce or Maurice Greene (New York: Galaxy Music Corporation, 1969), ii. I am grateful to Harry Johnstone for information on Thompson. He recalls that Finney’s microfilm did not include any music by Ayleward. Searches by library staff at King’s College, London, where Dart bequeathed his research papers, staff at the Finney Library, University of Pittsburgh, and at the William Andrew’s Clarke Memorial Library, Los Angeles, where Finney bequeathed much of his library, have unfortunately brought nothing to light.

29 See English Court Songs from Manuscripts in the Bodleian (Broxbourne 84.9) and Lambeth Palace Library (1041), ed. Gordon J. Callon, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era 105 (Madison: A-R Editions, 2000).

30 See Andrew Ashbee, Robert Thompson, and Jonathan Wainwright, compilers, The Viola da Gamba Society Index of Manuscripts Containing Consort Music, vol. 1 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 263–5.

31 Numerous keyboard settings of “Polewheel’s Ground” survive in English sources from the period ca.1650–90.

32 “An Early Source,” 51–2.

33 For further discussion of the “Bryne scribe” and GB-Llp MS 1040, see Andrew L. Woolley, “English Keyboard Sources and their Contexts, c. 1660–1720,” Ph. D. diss. (University of Leeds, 2008), 164–9.

34 Albertus Bryne: Keyboard Music for Harpsichord and Organ, ed. Terence Charlston with Heather Windram (Oslo: Norsk Musikforlag, 2008).

35 For this identification and biographical details on two musicians named “Thomas Heardson” in the seventeenth century, see Candace Bailey, “New York Public Library Drexel MS 5611,” Fontes Artis Musicae, 47, no. 1 (January–March, 2000): 51–67.

36 For a discussion of the hands in Drexel MS 5611, see Bruce Gustafson, French Harpsichord Music of the 17th Century: A Thematic Catalogue of the Sources with Commentary (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1979), 1:63–5, and 2:140. The corrections to Bryne’s pieces in Heardsons’s hand are discussed in Robert Klakowich, “Keyboard Sources in Mid-17th Century England and the French Aspect of English Keyboard Music,” Ph. D. diss. (State University of New York, Buffalo, 1985), 30–2. Gustafson suggests the “Bryne scribe” may also have signed the Heardson copy of the A minor Allemande on pp. 149–50 (styled “Mr Bryne”), although the attribution could also be in Heardson’s hand.

37 The manuscript appears to have been copied as a bound book, and was not assembled after copying, since its collation is regular.

38 GB-Ckc Rowe MS 9; see Harley, 52.

39 GB-Lcm MS 1154; see Harley, 53.

40 See Jeremy Dibble, Grove Music Online, s.v. “Dannreuther, Edward” (accessed March 13, 2009), and Anon., “Edward Dannreuther,” The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, 39, no. 668 (October, 1898): 645–54.

41 In notes for a lecture on “Bach’s Chamber Music,” Dannreuther remarked, “To my delight a complete set of Dieupart’s ‘suittes’ was found in the rich collection Mr. T.W. Taphouse at Oxford.” (GB-Lcm Dannreuther box 134).

42 Taphouse, “Catalogue of Instruments, Literature and Compositions.”

43 Edward Dannreuther, Musical Ornamentation (London: Novello, and New York: H.W. Gray, 1893–5), p. 18n: “Lute and Virginal book, signed Rich. Ayleward (circa 1640), kindly lent to the writer for transcription into modern notation by Mr. T. W. Taphouse, Oxford.”

44 GB-Lcm Dannreuther box 134.

45 For a fuller account of the “Continental” portion of the manuscript, see Woolley, “English Keyboard Sources.” 171–3.

46 For descriptions of this manuscript, which is bound with a copy of the 1646 edition of Parthenia, see notes by Davitt Moroney available from the Sotheby’s website (; and also Andrew Woolley, “Parthenia at Sotheby’s,” Early Music Performer 25 (November, 2009): 30–1. The book has been purchased for the William Scheide Library, a private collection housed in the department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University. I am grateful to Alan Brown for communicating this information.

47 See Gustafson, French Harpsichord Music, 1:6–7; and Alis Dickinson, “The Courante ‘La Vignonne’: In the Steps of a Popular Dance,” Early Music 10, no. 1 (January, 1982): 56–82.

48 See Erik Kjellberg, Grove Music Online, s.v. “Verdier [Werdier], Pierre” (accessed March 13, 2009).

49 For sources, see John Blow. Complete Harpsichord Music, ed. Robert Klakowich, Musica Britannica 73 (London: Stainer and Bell, 1998).

50 See Peter Leech, Grove Music Online, s.v. “La Volée, Jean de” (accessed March 13, 2009); “La Volée, Jean de,” in Andrew Ashbee and David Lasocki with Peter Holman and Fiona Kisby, A Biographical Dictionary of English Court Musicians 14851714 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), 2:1118; and Peter Holman, Four and Twenty Fiddlers, 290 and 319–20.

51 For an overview of Tresure sources, see work lists in Gustafson, French Harpsichord Music, 1:311; and Virginia Brookes, British Keyboard Music to c.1660: Sources and Thematic Index (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 385–6. For Swedish sources, see also Jan Olof Rudén, Music in Tablature: A Thematic Index with Source Descriptions of Music in Tablature Notation in Sweden (Stockholm: Svenskt Musikhistoriskt Arkiv, 1981), nos. 3505, 4269, and 4199. For pieces in Dutch and German sources, see also Matthias Weckmann. Sämtliche freie Orgel- und Clavierwerke, ed. Siegbert Rampe (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1991, rev. 2003) (transcriptions from the Hintze manuscript); and Nederlandse Klaviermuzeik uit de 16e en 17e eeuw, ed. Alan Curtis, Monumenta Musica Neerlandica 3 (Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muzeikgeschiedenis: Amsterdam, 1961).

52 Gustafson, French Harpsichord Music, 1:64–5,

53 The version in Van Eijl is edited in Klavierboek Anna Maria Van Eijl, ed. Fritz Noske, Monumenta Musica Neerlandica 2 (Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muzeikgeschiedenis: Amsterdam, 1959), no. 4. For further discussion of Mus. Sch. f. 576, see Woolley, “English Keyboard Sources,” 259–60; and Gustafson, French Harpsichord Music, 1:66.

54 Nederlandse Klaviermuzeik, ed. Curtis, no. 72.

55 For Bryne’s pieces, see Albertus Bryne. Keyboard Music. For a discussion of Mus. 1179 and transcriptions of two of the suites, see Woolley, “English Keyboard Sources,” 111–8 and 291–6.

56 Richard Ayleward: Harpsichord Music, ed. Andrew Woolley, no. 1 (forthcoming). Identifying numbers henceforth refer to this edition.

57 For an exploration of the relationship to lute style in French harpsichord music of this period, see David Ledbetter, Harpsichord and Lute Music in 17th-Century France (London: Macmillan, 1987).

58 English division technique is described in Christopher Simpson, The Division-Violist (1659/65).

59 See John Roberts: The Complete Works, ed. Candace Bailey, Art of the Keyboard 8 (New York: Broude Brothers, 2003), no. 17.

60 Printed in Melothesia (1673). See John Roberts: The Complete Works, no. 21.

61 See John Wilson. Thirty Preludes in all (24) Keys for Lute, ed. Matthew Spring (Houten: The Diapason Press, 1997).


Figure 1a and 1b: Handwriting of Richard Ayleward Compared with That of the Ayleward Pieces in GB-Llp MS 1040


Table 1: Inventory of GB-Llp MS 1040

Table 2: GB-Lcm MS 1154: Inventory of ff. 57–131


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