Bishop, John (1665-1737) (DNB00)

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BISHOP, JOHN (1665–1737), musical composer, was born in 1665, and (according to Hawkins) educated under Daniel Roseingrave, but, as the latter was organist of Winchester Cathedral from June 1682 to June 1692, and Bishop only came to Winchester in 1695, this is probably an error. Between Michaelmas and Christmas 1687 he became a lay clerk of King's College, Cambridge, where in the following year he was appointed to teach the choristers. In 1695 he was appointed organist of Winchester College, on the resignation of Jeremiah Clarke, but he continued to receive his stipend at Cambridge until the Easter term of 1696. In November 1696 he was elected a lay-vicar of Winchester Cathedral in the place of Thomas Corfe, and on 30 June 1729 he succeeded Vaughan Richardson as organist and master of the choristers of the same cathedral. Bishop's rival for this post was James Kent, who was esteemed a better player, but the 'age and amiable disposition' of the former, coupled with the sympathy felt for some family misfortune he had suffered, induced the dean and chapter to give him the appointment, Bishop remained at Winchester until his death, which took place 19 Dec. 1737. He was buried on the Avest side of the college cloister, where his epitaph styles him 'Vir singulari probitate, integerrima vita, moribus innocuis, musicæque scientiæ bene peritus.' Bishop published some collections of psalm tunes and anthems, copies of which are now but rarely met with. Manuscript compositions by him are preserved in the British Museum (Add. MS. 17841 , and Harl. MS. 7341), and in the libraries of the Royal College of Music (1649), and of Christ Church, Oxford. In the latter collection is a complete copy of his 'Morning and Evening Service' in D, the Te Deum from which is to be found in other collections. Dr. Philip Hayes's 'Harmonia Wiccamica' (1780) also contains some Latin compositions by Bishop for the use of Winchester College. All his extant works are interesting as showing the manner in which the disregard of proper emphasis and the introduction of meaningless embellishments gradually corrupted the style of the school of which Purcell was the greatest ornament, and led to the inanities of writers like Kent. Hawkins, who has been followed by other biographers, says that Bishop was at one time organist of Salisbury, but this is inaccurate. The organists of Salisbury (and the dates of their appointments) during Bishop's life were as follows: Michael Wise (1668), Peter Isaacke (1687), Daniel Roseingrave (1692), Anthony Walkley (1700), and Edward Thompson (1718).

[Hawkins's Hist, of Music (ed. 1853), p. 767; Hayes's Harmonia Wiccamica (1780); Records of King's Coll. Cambridge (communicated by the Rev. A. Austen Leigh); Chapter Registers of Salisbury (communicated by the Rev. S. M. Lakin); Chapter Registers of Winchester; information from the Rev. J. H. Mee; Catalogues of the British Museum and Royal College of Music.]

W. B. S.