RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
LevelFile
Order NoMS 1
Extent95 leaves (foliated 0, 1-94)
TitleTHE ARUNDEL CHOIRBOOK
DateEarly 16th century
DescriptionThe 'Arundel' or 'Lambeth ' Choirbook, together with a similar, closely related, volume, the 'Caius' Choirbook (Gonville and Caius College Cambridge MS. 667) dates from around 1525. They are the only manuscripts of their type to survive from the reign of Henry VIII and are the chief repositories of the music of Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521) and Nicholas Ludford (c.1490-1557).

Both the Arundel and the Caius Choirbooks appear to have originated at Arundel College (the Collegiate Chapel of the Holy Trinity, Arundel, Sussex), during the Mastership of Edward Higgons (Master from 1520 until his death in 1538). They are written in the same hand, as is the base part of an antiphon by Nicholas Ludford found in the archives of Arundel Castle (MS. A 340; colour illustration in Richard Marks and others, 'Gothic Art for England 1400-1547' (V& A Museum, 2003), p. 125). The Caius Choirbook was a presention manuscript from Edward Higgons to St. Stephen's, Westminster. The Arundel Choirbook is thought to have been retained at Arundel as a working manuscript used by the choir in the College Chapel. The latter is now the Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle.

As in the normal 'choirbook' layout for polyphonic music, the voice-parts are copied separately on each opening of the book. The singers of all the parts read from different areas of each opening, but could all see their music at the same time. Eg. ff. 56v-57r, part of an antiphon by Fayrfax, is laid out so that for all five parts the singers could turn the page at the same time (Richard Marks and others, 'Gothic Art for England 1400-1547' (V&A Museum, 2003), p.123).

The music is accompanied by initials (usually two or three to a page), introducing each part. The initials are usually in gold, set on square grounds of more than one colour. Some initials include more elaborate illumination (see Physical Description Field).

Paul Fugler argued that MS. 1 was written in four distinct layers (ff. 0-32r; 32v-56r; 56v-69r; 70v-94r), which are not necessarily bound in their original order. (For analysis, see David Skinner's introduction to the facsimile edition, pp. 16-17, 22-23). Skinner notes that the second layer (ff. 32v-56r), mainly containing works of unknown authorship, may have been reserved for composers in some way associated with Arundel College.

f. 0 recto. blank.

ff. 0 verso-8r. Robert Fayrfax. Mass 'Tecum principium'
cantus firmus: Tecum principium (Vespers antiphon, Christmas)
For editions, see:
Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).
'Robert Fayrfax. II: Masses Tecum principium and O quam glorifica', ed. Roger Bray (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music 45, 2004). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

ff. 8v-16r. Robert Fayrfax. Mass 'O quam glorifica'
cantus firmus: O quam glorifica (Vespers hymn, Assumption).
At the top of f. 8v. are the words 'Op. gloriosa. Doctor ffayrfax for his forme in proceadinge to bee doctor'
For editions, see:
Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).
'Robert Fayrfax. II: Masses Tecum principium and O quam glorifica', ed. Roger Bray (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music 45, 2004). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

ff. 16v-24r. Robert Fayrfax. Mass 'Albanus'
cantus firmus: Alloquio dulcis (Office antiphon, St. Alban)
For an edition, see Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).

ff. 24v-32r. Nicholas Ludford. Mass 'Benedicta et venerabilis'
cantus firmus: Benedicta et venerabilis (verse of Matins respond, Assumption)
For editions, see:
Nicholas Ludford, 'Collected works' ed. J. Bergsagel (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 27/2, 1977).
'Nicholas Ludford. II: Five- and six-part Masses and Magnificat', (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music, 46, 2005). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

ff. 32v-35r. Anonymous. 'Salve regina'
Unpublished.

ff. 35v-38r. Anonymous. 'Ave Dei patris filius'
Unpublished.

ff. 38v-41r. Anonymous. 'Magnificat'
For an edition, see 'Early Tudor Magnificats', ed. P. Doe (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music, 4, 1964). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

ff. 41v-44r. Anonymous. 'Magnificat'
For an edition, see 'Early Tudor Magnificats', ed. P. Doe (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music, 4, 1964). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

ff. 44v-45r. Anonymous. '[Vidi aquam] egredientem de templo' (Aspersions antiphon, Easter to Whitsun).
Unpublished.

ff. 45v-49r. Anonymous. 'Ave mundi spes Maria'
Unpublished.

ff. 49v-52r. Anonymous. 'Gaude flore virginali'
Unpublished.

ff. 52v-56r. Walter Lambe. 'O Maria plena gratia'
cantus firmus: O sacrum convivium (Magnificat antiphon, Corpus Christi).
Walter Lambe (fl. 1451-1504) was a singing-man at Arundel College intermittently from 1476 to 1491.
For an edition, see 'The Eton Choirbook', vol 1 , ed. F. Ll. Harrison (London: Stainer & Bell, Musica Britannica 10, 1956; 2nd edition, 1967).

ff. 56v-59r. Robert Fayrfax. 'Eterne laudis lilium'. The name 'ffeyrfax' is found at the top of f. 56v.
The work was commissioned by Elizabeth of York, Queen to Henry VII, in 1502 (see Richard Marks and others, 'Gothic Art for England 1400-1547' (V&A Museum, 2003), p. 419.
For editions, see:
Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).
Margaret Lyon ed, 'Robert Fayrfax. Sacred Music from the Lambeth Choirbook' (Madison: A.R. Editions, 1985) xxii, 83pp., 2 plates. [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154.F2]

ff. 59v-63r. Edmund Stourton, also known as Edmund Sturton, 'Ave Maria ancilla trinitatis'. The name 'Stourton' is found at the top of f. 59v.
cantus firmus: Gloria tibi trinitas (Vespers antiphon, Trinity Sunday)
Unpublished.

ff. 63v-66r. Robert Fayrfax. Magnificat 'O bone Jesu'. The name 'fferfax' occurs at the top of f. 63v.
For editions, see:
Roger Bray, ed. 'Robert Fayrfax I: O bone Jesu' (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music, 43, 2002). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]
Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).

ff. 66v-69r. Robert Fayrfax. Magnificat 'Regali'
For editions, see:
Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).
Margaret Lyon ed, 'Robert Fayrfax. Sacred Music from the Lambeth Choirbook' (Madison: A.R. Editions, 1985) xxii, 83pp., 2 plates. [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154.F2]

ff. 69v-70r. blank.

ff. 70v-78r. Robert Fayrfax. Mass 'O bone Jesu'
For editions, see:
Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).
Roger Bray, ed. 'Robert Fayrfax. I: O bone Jesu' (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music, 43, 2002). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

ff. 78v-86r. Robert Fayrfax. Mass 'Regali ex progenie'
cantus firmus: Regalis ex progenie (Lauda antiphon, Nativity BVM).
For editions, see:
Robert Fayrfax, 'Collected works', ed. E. B. Warren (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 17, 1959-66).
Margaret Lyon ed, 'Robert Fayrfax. Sacred Music from the Lambeth Choirbook' (Madison: A.R. Editions, 1985) xxii, 83pp., 2 plates. [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154.F2]

ff. 86v-94r. Nicholas Ludford. Mass 'Lapidaverunt Stephanum'
cantus firmus: Lapidaverunt Stephanum (Lauds antiphon, St. Stephen).
For editions, see:
Nicholas Ludford, 'Collected works' ed. J. Bergsagel (American Institute of Musicology, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 27/2, 1977).
'Nicholas Ludford. II: Five- and six-part Masses and Magnificat', (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music, 46, 2005). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

f. 94v. mainly blank, apart from a tiny, but finely drawn monogram, combining the letters 'A' and 'L' with a smaller letter 'I' or 'J' (see Custodial History Field), a scribbled name, an unexplained riddle etc.
AccessConditionsFor preservation reasons, this manuscript should normally be consulted in facsimile unless special permission to view the original is obtained in advance.
LanguageLatin
FindingAidsNew description by Richard Palmer, 2010, based on David Skinner's introduction to the facsimile edition 'The Arundel Choirbook, London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 1: a facsimile and introduction' (Roxburghe Club, 2003), pp. 17-21. [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154. F2]
PhysicalDescriptionBinding of light brown leather over wooden boards: five metal bosses plus corner pieces on each cover. Rebound with new leather in the 1960s, retaining the bosses and (probably) the original wooden boards. 688 x 482 mm.
95 vellum leaves (foliated 0, 1-94). Collation: 1(8)-9(8) (wants 7, 8, blank) 10(8)-12(8) (+1).
The relatively unsophisticated nature of the script and illumination has suggested an origin for the manuscript local to Arundel.
A full page has 13 staves of music, 5 lines to a stave.
The staves are accompanied by initials (usually three to a page). The initials are usually in gold, set on square ground, often mock-heraldic backgrounds of more than one colour. Some initials include more elaborate illumination:
f. 6v The Garter (various Earls of Arundel were members of the Order).
f. 12v. A crumpled scroll: others are on ff. 17r, 31r, 32v, 38v.
f. 26v. A hooded fox on his hind legs plays the bagpipes; a white bird rides on his brush.
f. 28v. A mermaid with comb and mirror.
f. 41v. An angel praying, drawn horizontal to the page; on a blue ribbon at the foot is 'AVE MARIA ...'
f. 70v. A partial border, with an initial incorporating a human figure, painted white.
f. 81r. A man carrying a barrel.
f. 86v. AVE MARIA in white and blue, and a partial border representing a gold chain.
f. 88v. A man in blue trudging to the right with a pack on his back.
David Skinner (introduction to the facsimile edition, pp. 25-26) interprets some elaborations of the initial E as representing the monogram EH (for Edward Higgons).
On some pages the upper left-hand margins are decorated with flowers, leaves, feathers and stars (eg. ff. 2v,4v, 6v, 8v, 10v); at f. 35v the marginal decoration includes a musician.
CustodialHistoryThe Arundel Choirbook is believed to have been used in the Chapel of Arundel College, originally founded by Richard Fitzalan, 3rd Earl of Arundel. Two weeks after its suppression in 1544, the Chapel was returned to the ownership of Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel (1511?-1580), together with all its possessions. The Choirbook may have been subsequently in the library of the 12th Earl of Arundel, and afterwards that of his son-in-law, John Lumley, 1st Baron Lumley (1534?-1609), at Nonesuch Palace. A tiny, but finely drawn monogram, combining the letters 'A' and 'L' with a smaller letter 'I' or 'J' is found in the manuscript at f. 94v, although there is no trace of the names 'Arundel' and 'Lumley' normally found as marks of ownership in books from this collection. Many books from the Arundel/Lumley collection came subsequently into the possession of Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury. The Choirbook may have been amongst them, and, if so, would have been acquired by Bancroft between Arundel's death in 1580 and the compilation of a catalogue of the Lumley collection in 1596. The Choirbook is not recorded however in the catalogue of Bancroft's collection, nor in that of his successor, George Abbot. MS. 1 (the Choirbook), along with MS. 2, are both absent from these catalogues; they are the largest books in Lambeth Palace Library and may have been shelved elsewhere because of their extravagant size when Bancroft's catalogue were compiled. The Choirbook was certainly in Lambeth Palace Library by 1647, when it was recorded as 'Anonymi Anthemae, Cantus. etc, vol. magno' (Bodleian Library, MS. Arch Selden B5, f.65v). At Cambridge during the interregnum it had the shelfmarks T.alpha. 1 (Tanner MS. 268, f.17r, 'Anonimi Anthem, Cantus etc, vol magno' ), and subsequently folio vol 1 (Tanner MS. 274, f. 1r).
The provenance of the Choirbook is described more fully in 'The Arundel Choirbook, London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 1: a facsimile and introduction', with introduction by David Skinner (Roxburghe Club, 2003), pp. 17-21. [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154. F2]
CopiesPositive microfilm: Lambeth Palace Library MS Film 1301

Available from World Microfilms Publications:
"Lambeth Palace Library: The Mediaeval Manuscripts" Section V. Theology. Reel 1 (with MS. 32)

Negatives of illuminations and rubricated initials on selected folios are held by the Courtauld Institute. Prints for private research purposes may be purchased from the Conway Librarian, Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London, WC2R 0RN. Permission to purchase copies must first be given by Lambeth Palace Library. Colour prints from the Courtauld negatives are available to browse in Lambeth Palace Library reading room. See also the online image management system:
http://images.lambethpalacelibrary.org.uk

Facsimile edition: 'The Arundel Choirbook, London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 1: a facsimile and introduction', with introduction by David Skinner ( Roxburghe Club, 2003). [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154. F2 - shelved with the original manuscript]

See also digital images and information available online on the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music: www.diamm.ac.uk
RelatedMaterialSee Description Field.
PublnNoteFacsimile edition: The Arundel Choirbook, London, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 1: a facsimile and introduction', with introduction by David Skinner ( Roxburghe Club, 2003). [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154. F2].

G. Chew, 'The provenance and date of the Caius and Lambeth Choirbooks', in 'Music and Letters', 51, 1970, pp. 107-117.

Hugh Benham, 'Latin Church Music in England c. 1460-1575' (London: Barrie & Jenkins,1977) [Lambeth Palace Library QL3031. B3]

P. Fugler, 'The Lambeth and Caius Choirbooks', in 'Journal of the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society', 6, 1983, pp. 15-25.

Margaret Lyon ed, 'Robert Fayrfax. Sacred Music from the Lambeth Choirbook' (Madison: A.R. Editions, 1985) xxii, 83pp., 2 plates. [Lambeth Palace Library Q2154.F2]

David Skinner, 'At the mynde of Nicholas Ludford' in "Early Music" Aug. 1994. [Lambeth Palace Library Z664.L2 6.14]

David Skinner, 'Discovering the provenance and history of the Caius and Lambeth choirbooks' in "Early Music" May 1997. [Lambeth Palace Library Z664.L2 6.33]

Richard Marks, Paul Williamson and Eleanor Townsend (eds.) 'Gothic Art for England 1400-1547' ( London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 2003), pp. 123-124, 419 (with colour plate).[Lambeth Palace Library R6763.V5]

'Nicholas Ludford. I: Mass Inclina cor meum Deus and antiphons', ed. David Skinner (London: Stainer & Bell, Early English Church Music, 44, 2003). [Lambeth Palace Library Q1490.(E2)]

David Skinner, 'The Arundel Choirbook and Tudor Polyphony', in Richard Palmer and Michelle P. Brown eds, 'Lambeth Palace Library: Treasures from the Collections of the Archbishops of Canterbury' (London, 2010), pp. 90-91.

James Willoughby (ed.), 'The libraries of collegiate churches' (London: British Library, 2013) [Lambeth Palace Library Z675.C5]

Performances of Fayrfax and Ludford works by the Cardinall's Musick are available commercially: http://www.cardinallsmusick.com

Show related Persons records.

Show related Places records.

Related name records
CodeNameDates
GB/109/22176Fayrfax; Robert (1464-1521); Composer1464-1521
GB/109/22177Ludford; Nicholas (c.1490-1557); composerc.1490-1557
GB/109/22178Higgons; Edward (d.1538); Master of Arundel Colleged.1538
GB/109/22180Arundel College; -1544-1544
GB/109/15204Fitzalan; Henry (1512-1580); 12th Earl of Arundel; magnate1512-1580
37Bancroft; Richard (1544-1610); Archbishop of Canterbury1544-1610
Related place records
CodeSet
PL207/Arundel/Sussex
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