Tudway, Thomas (DNB00)
|←Tudor, Owen||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 57
TUDWAY, THOMAS (d. 1726), musician, was born probably before 1650, as he became a choirboy in the Chapel Royal very soon after the Restoration, and on 22 April 1664 obtained a tenor's place in the choir of St. George's, Windsor. In 1670 he succeeded Henry Loosemore [q. v.] as organist of King's College, Cambridge, and acted as instructor of the choristers from Christmas 1679 to midsummer 1680. He also became organist at Pembroke College and the university church, Great St. Mary's. In 1681 he graduated Mus. Bac., composing as his exercises the twentieth Psalm in English and the second Psalm in Latin, both with orchestral accompaniment. After the death in 1700 of Nicholas Staggins [q. v.] the first professor of music at Cambridge, Tudway was chosen as his successor on 30 Jan. 1704–5. He then proceeded to the degree of Mus. Doc.; his exercise and anthem, ‘Thou, O God, hast heard our desire,’ was performed in King's College Chapel on 16 April, on the occasion of Queen Anne's visit to the university. The autograph is at the Royal College of Music. Tudway's anthem, ‘Is it true that God will dwell with men?’ had been performed in St. George's, Windsor, at the queen's first attendance there; and he had composed a thanksgiving anthem, ‘I will sing of Thy great mercies,’ for the victory of Blenheim. He was nominated composer and organist extraordinary to the queen. This honorary office did not prevent him from exercising, at the queen's expense, his usual practice of punning. On 28 July 1706 for an offence of this nature he was sentenced to be ‘degraded from all degrees, taken and to be taken,’ and was deprived of his professorship and his three organists' posts. On 10 March 1706–7 he publicly made submission and a retractation in the Regent House. He was then formally absolved and reinstated in all his appointments (Bennet's ‘Register of Emmanuel College,’ p. 250, in Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 419 b). This episode has been wrongly attributed to the irritation produced by a pun of Tudway's upon the Duke of Somerset's restricted bestowal of patronage upon the members of the university: ‘The Chancellor rides us all, without a bit in our mouths;’ but this must have been at a later date. Tudway was one of the subscribers to Walker's ‘Sufferings of the Clergy,’ and writes bitterly of Dr. Bentley. His strong tory opinions may have brought him into connection with the Earl of Oxford, at whose desire he engaged in the work which has brought him lasting fame. As an addition to the Harleian Library, Tudway undertook in 1714 to copy a representative set of compositions for the Anglican church, then quite unattainable in score. He had planned three quarto volumes, to contain respectively works composed before the civil war, works of the Restoration period, and works by composers then living; but his materials accumulated until he completed six volumes, more than three thousand pages. He formed a close friendship with the earl's librarian, Humphrey Wanley [q. v.] and was in active correspondence with him during the next four years, giving full details of his labours. On 27 July 1718 he wrote that the last volume was begun. Thirty guineas a volume was paid him. The six volumes form Harleian MSS. 7337–42. They contain 70 services and 244 anthems by 85 composers; 19 anthems and a service were by himself. He obtained materials from the manuscripts at Durham, Eton, Exeter, Oxford, Wells, Westminster, Windsor, York, and the Chapel Royal; but the collection was principally founded on the old choir-books at Ely. He began with Tallis's Dorian service and concluded with Handel's Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate. The selection is all that could be desired as regards the works of the Restoration school; there are fewer examples of the Elizabethan and Jacobean polyphonists, but all the finest works are inserted. He recommended that a copy of Tallis's motet for forty voices, belonging to James Hawkins of Ely, should also be purchased. Each of the six volumes is prefaced by an essay, the last being an attempt at a history of music; it is of little value, except for Tudway's personal recollections, which are unfortunately often inaccurate. The collection is a splendid monument of Tudway's taste and industry; and from the time of Hawkins and Burney it has been continually consulted, though very many pieces have since been printed. A detailed list of the contents, arranged alphabetically, is in the catalogue of the manuscript music in the British Museum (1842); and another, in accordance with Tudway's own arrangement, in Grove's ‘Dictionary of Music and Musicians,’ iv. 198.
In 1720 Tudway composed anthems and a Te Deum with orchestral accompaniment for the consecration of Lord Oxford's private chapel at Wimpole, adding a Jubilate in 1721. He wrote to Wanley on 11 July 1718 that as there was no one to present two young men who were to take their degrees in music, ‘the vice-chancellor and heads came to a resolution that I should be created that I might do it in form, which I was on Thursday in the commencement week, and the next week I presented them in the Professor of Physick's Robes, pro hac vice, as Professor of Music.’ What he was ‘created’ on this occasion is not clear; it is possible that the appointment in 1705 had been informal, the post being then purely honorary. He died on 23 Nov. 1726, and was succeeded as professor by Maurice Greene [q. v.] in July 1730. His personality and his puns were long remembered at Cambridge, as both Hawkins and Burney found nearly half a century later. Hawkins stated that after resigning his posts he lived in London, and wrote his collection; the latter assertion is obviously a mistake, and probably the former also. Hawkins also gave an account of Tudway's being introduced to a club of which Prior, Sir James Thornhill [q. v.] and others were members. Thornhill drew in pencil the portrait of each member, among them Tudway playing the harpsichord, and Prior wrote verses beneath. The drawings were in the collection of West, president of the Royal Society. A portrait of Tudway in his doctor's robes, and holding his exercise for the degree, is at the music school, Oxford.
Some songs and catches of his were published in various collections. A birthday ode for Queen Anne (in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 17835) and the Te Deum and Jubilate for Wimpole were the most important of his compositions; but none had lasting value. The anthem, ‘Thou, O Lord, hast heard our desire,’ was printed by Arnold. An interesting letter from Tudway to his son, describing the musical resources employed during his early life, and afterwards totally forgotten, was quoted by Hawkins.[Tudway's letters to Wanley, formerly in Harleian MS. 3779, now in 3782; Wanley's diary in Lansdowne MSS. 771–2; Boyer's Political State of Great Britain, xxxii. 514; Historical Register, 1726, Chronological Diary, p. 43; Luard's Grad. Cantabr. p. 479, and App. p. 26; Hawkins's History of Music, ch. 144 n. and 167; Burney's History of Music, iii. 457–9; Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ii. 437, iv. 185; Ouseley in Naumann's Illustriate Geschichte der Musik, English edit. p. 750; Catalogue of the Sacred Harmonic Society's Library; Davey's History of English Music, pp. 343–5, 369.]