[Burke's Extinct Peerage; Cal. of State Papers, Irel. Eliz.; Cal. of Carew MSS.; Cal. of Fiants, Eliz.; Harl. MS. 1425, f. 51; Annals of the Four Masters, ed. O'Donovan; MacCarthy's Life and Letters of Florence MacCarthy Reagh; Trevelyan's Papers and Chamberlain's Letters in Camden Society; Smith's Antient and Present State of County Cork; O'Sullivan's Historiæ Catholicæ Hiberniæ Compendium, ed. M. Kelly, 1850; Moryson's Itinerary (Rebellion in Ireland); Gibson's Hist. of Cork; Peter Lombard, De Regno Hiberniæ Commentarius; Wiffen's House of Russell; Brady's Records of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross; Liber Hiberniæ; Cox's Hibernia Anglicana; Bryskett's Discourse of Civill Life; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors; Devereux's Lives of the Earls of Essex.]
kett [q. v.] as one of the company to whom Spenser on a well-known occasion unfolded his project of the 'Faerie Queen.' According to Edmund Yorke—and he seems to have expressed the general opinion—Norris was 'a gentleman of very great worth, modesty, and discretion.' He married Bridget, daughter of Sir William Kingsmill of Sydmonton, Hampshire, by whom he had one daughter, Elizabeth, his sole heiress, who married Sir John Jephson of Froyle in Hampshire. Their son, William Jephson, is separately noticed.
NORRIS, THOMAS (1741–1790), singer, son of John Norris of Mere, Wiltshire, was baptised there on 15 Aug. 1741 (church register). He became a chorister in Salisbury Cathedral under Dr. Stephens, and attracted the notice of James Harris [q. v.], the author of ‘Hermes,’ who wrote a pastoral operetta for the purpose of introducing him to the public. He sang as a soprano at the Worcester and Hereford festivals of 1761–2, and at Drury Lane in a pasticcio, ‘The Spring.’ In 1765 he was appointed organist of Christ Church and of St. John's College, Oxford, where, in the same year, he graduated Mus. Bac.; and in 1771 was admitted a lay clerk of Magdalen College. He appeared as a tenor at the Gloucester festival in 1766, and sang at the festivals of the Three Choirs until 1788. He was one of the principal singers at the first Handel commemoration festival in 1784, and his success then led to frequent engagements for oratorio in London. His last appearance was at the Birmingham festival of 1790, the strain of which caused his death, at Himley Hall, near Stourbridge, on 5 Sept. An early disappointment had driven him to convivial excesses, which greatly injured his voice and impaired his health. He was an excellent musician, a skilful performer on several instruments, and while at Oxford a favourite teacher with the students. His compositions include several anthems, one only of which has been printed; glees and other pieces, some of which are included in Warren's ‘Collections;’ and six symphonies for strings, oboes, and horns. A portrait was engraved ad vivum by J. Taylor in the year of his death.
[Dict. of Musicians, 1824, where he is erroneously called ‘Charles’ Norris; Parr's Church of England Psalmody; Love's Scottish Church Music; Grove's Dict. of Musicians; Abdy Williams's Degrees in Music, p. 89; information from the Vicar of Mere.]
NORRIS, WILLIAM (1670?–1700?), composer, was born about 1670. In 1685 he was the last in procession, and therefore the oldest, of the children of the Chapel Royal, present at the coronation of James II (Sandford). In September 1686 he was one of the junior or lay vicars of the choir of Lincoln Cathedral, on 28 Oct. he became poor clerk, and in 1690 was appointed master of the choristers on probation, his appointment, ‘magister choristarum in arte cantandi,’ being confirmed in 1691, while John Cutts taught the boys instrumental music, and Hecht was organist. In 1693 the responsible post of steward of the choristers was given to Norris. His name does not occur in the chapter rolls after 1700 (Maddison). He is said, however, to have been the composer of a St. Cecilia's Festival Ode performed in 1702. A correspondent of ‘The Harmonicon’ had seen the autograph manuscript, which was afterwards sold with the other contents of Benjamin Jacobs's library. No trace of it remains (Grove).
Some of Norris's compositions extant in manuscript are: 1. ‘Morning Service in G flat, for verses and chanting.’ 2. Anthem for solo and chorus, ‘Blessed are those that are undefiled,’ with ‘I will thank Thee,’ in Tudway's collection (Brit. Mus. Harl. MS. 7340). 3. Anthems ‘Sing, O Daughter of Sion,’ solo and chorus (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 30932). 4. ‘My Heart rejoiceth in the Lord,’ in four parts (ib. 31444). 5. ‘I will give thanks,’ and ‘Hallelujah,’ soli and chorus, four voices on a ground. 6. ‘God sheweth me His goodness,’ in three parts (ib. 31445). 7. ‘In Jewry is God known,’ solo and chorus. 8. ‘Behold how good and joyful,’ in three parts (ib. 17840). Manuscript parts of several anthems and a setting of the ‘Cantate Domino’ by Norris are in Lincoln Cathedral library.
[Sandford's Hist. of the Coronation of James II and Queen Mary, p. 69; Grove's Dict. of Music, ii. 465; Husk's Musical Celebrations on St. Cecilia's Day, p. 51; Harmonicon, 1831, p. 290; the Rev. A. R. Maddison's Papers on Lincoln Cathedral Choir in Lincoln Arch. Soc.'s Reports, vols. xviii. and xx.]