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Robert Fayrfax


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Robert Fayrfax (April 23, 1464–October 24, 1521) was an English Renaissance composer, considered the most prominent and influencial of the reigns of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII of England.

He was born in Deeping Gate, Lincolnshire.[1] He had the patronage of the leading cultural figure of Henry VII’s court, the king’s mother Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509).[2] He became a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal by December 6, 1497.[3] He was granted a chaplaincy of the Free Chapel at Snodhill Castle, a post which was given away a year later to Robert Cowper, another Gentleman. He is reported as being organist of St Albans Abbey from 1498 to 1502.[3] Fayrfax gained a Mus.B. from Cambridge in 1501, and a Mus.D. in 1504; he later acquired a D.Mus. from Oxford (by incorporation) in 1511.[3] He became a member of the Fraternity of St Nicholas in 1502. At the beginning of Henry VIII’s reign in 1509 he granted Fayrfax the annuity of a farm in Hampshire and later made him a ‘Poor Knight of Windsor’ (with a life-time award of twelve pennies a day) on September 10, 1514.[4] He also possessed, and surrendered, two ecclesiastical livings.[4] He received payments for clothes for state occasions and for tutoring choirboys.[4] From 1516, for four consecutive years, he presented the king with collections of his compositions and received financial rewards.[4] In 1520 he led the Chapel Royal in the state visit to France of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. He died in 1521, possibly at St. Albans where he was buried.[1]

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