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Mus. 1279

Manuscript. Four fragments from a dismembered treble partbook, originally part of a set of probably six or seven partbooks; copyist unidentified; English, probably second decade of the 17th century. Other fragments from the same set are now in the library of the Royal College of Music, London (Spencer Collection); photocopies of the latter are kept with Mus. 1279 itself.

The Christ Church fragments were removed from the binding of an unspecified book (or books) in the Allestree Library at Christ Church at the beginning of the 20th century. They were then kept with other manuscript fragments in MS 378 ('The Book of Orts') until being allocated their present call-number in the mid-1980s. The Spencer fragments were removed from a copy of Christoph Helwig, Theatrum historicum et chronologicum (Oxford, 1662); the copy in question was probably bound in Oxford in the year of publication.

The leaves of the Christ Church fragments were numbered in the 1980s (in pencil, the numbers ringed), and in that state they were described and catalogued by Spencer and Charteris (see Bibliography below). An alternative foliation system was introduced in February 2002, in order more accurately to reflect the structure of the original partbook. The four fragments are now additionally labelled as 'A-D', and each fragment has been foliated.

Fragments A and B

Two fragmentary bifolia, formerly quired together, and containing items 1-5 in the inventory below. Upright format. Fragment A: both leaves have been cropped at the foot and right-hand margin; f. A1: c. 230 x 183 mm.; f. A2: c. 230 x 110 mm. Fragment B: f. B1: cropped at foot and right-hand margin, 245 x 105 mm.; f. B2: cropped at foot, 245 x 190 mm. Unused ruled staves on f. A2v.

Fragment C

Fragmentary bifolium, containing items 6-9 in the inventory below. Upright format; f. C1: stub only, 290 x 35 mm.; f. C2: cropped at head and right-hand margin, 290 x 183 mm.

Fragment D

Fragmentary bifolium, containing items 10-13 in the inventory below. Upright format; f. D1: stub only, 290 x 37 mm.; f. D2: cropped at right-hand margin, 290 x 183 mm.

Table of titles and composers in modern form. Display form found in manuscript.

1 Alfonso Ferrabosco (i) Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae [III] A1r - B1r
2 John Sheppard Sacris solemniis juncta B1v
3 Orlande de Lassus Estote ergo misericordes B2r
4 Alfonso Ferrabosco (i) Jerusalem, plantabis vineam B2v
5 Orlande de Lassus In monte Oliveti A2r
6   (unidentified work begining 'S') C1r
7 Alfonso Ferrabosco (i) O vos omnes C1v
8 Alfonso Ferrabosco (i) Exaudi, Deus C2r
9 Alfonso Ferrabosco (i) Inclina, Domine C2v
10 Thomas Bateson Thirsis, on his fair Phyllis's breast D1r
11 John Wilbye Thou art but young thou say'st D1v
12 John Wilbye Draw on, sweet night D2r
13 John Wilbye O wretched man D2v

Not included in the standard microfilm series.


  • Robert Spencer and Richard Charteris, 'Newly Discovered Manuscript Fragments of an English Vocal Part-book, c. 1610', The Consort, 41 (1985), pp. 52-4. A photocopy of this article is kept with Mus. 1279 itself. Find in a Library
  • May Hofman and John Morehen, Latin Music in British Sources c1485-c1610, Early English Church Music, Supplementary Volume 2 (London, 1987), p. 8 (item 945, incorrectly listed as 'The "Spencer" MS ... formerly part of Christ Church, Oxford, MS 1279'). Find in a Library


  • Sig. B2v (formerly '13') is reproduced in Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder (1543-1588): Opera Omnia, ed. Richard Charteris, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae, 96/II (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1984), p. xx.