From Liturgy and the Education of Choirboys to Protestant Domestic Music-Making: The History of the ‘Hamond’ Partbooks (GB-Lbl: Add MSS 30480-4)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Downloads (Pure)


The so-called ‘Hamond’ partbooks (British Library, Add. MSS 30480-4) were copied over a period of c.40 years by multiple groups of collaborating scribes, resulting in a miscellaneous combination of service music, sacred songs, Latin motets, chansons, madrigals, an In nomine, and even mass extracts. These partbooks are the only complete manuscript source of Protestant service music from the first decades of Elizabeth’s reign.

This first holistic study of this set of partbooks re-evaluates the stages of compilation and the copying practices of the scribes to offer new interpretations of the manuscripts’ history and contexts. The article argues that the partbooks began life as a liturgical and educational collection for the training of choirboys. These partbooks therefore offer a unique insight into the repertory and practices of one Protestant institution, highlighting the continued reliance on Edwardian repertories over a decade into Elizabeth’s reign, as well as the growing availability of continental printed music.

The transmission of these partbooks is then traced to a more domestic and recreational setting, exploring their relationship to the Hamond family. While Thomas Hamond of Hawkedon in Suffolk inscribed his ownership inside the covers in 1615, the re-evaluation of the compilation and history of these partbooks reveals the books were in the possession of the Hamond family from at least the late 1580s/early 1590s. This family added new pieces, made repairs, and engaged with the music copied by previous owners. Ultimately their preservation was assured by the younger Thomas Hamond’s interest in older music, and they continued to be a source of historical interest for eighteenth and nineteenth-century music antiquarians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-93
JournalRMA Research Chronicle
Issue number1
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this