A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Cornyshe, William

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CORNYSHE, or CORNISH, William, was master of the children of the Chapel Royal, in which office he succeeded Gilbert Banestre about the year 1490 [App. p.599 "William Newark in 1509"]. In the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VII under date Nov. 12, 1493, a payment is entered 'to one Cornyshe for a prophecy in rewarde, 13s. 4d.,' and in the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry's Queen, Elizabeth of York, under date Dec. 1502, a similar amount for 'setting of a carralle upon Christmas day.' When the chSdren of the chapel under Cornyshe took part in the performance of a play at court they were rewarded with the sum of '6l. 13s. 4d.' Cornyshe was a great favourite with Henry VIII. We find a payment, '8 Henry VIII. Nov. To Master Cornishe, gentylman of the King's Chapell, upon a warraunt, in rewarde, 200l.' But this large sum, no doubt, included gratuities to his brethren in the Chapel. In 1504 Cornyshe, being confined in the Fleet prison, upon, as he informs us, some false information given by an enemy, wrote a poem entitled, 'A Treatise between Trouth and Informacion,' some extracts from which are given in Hawkins's History of Music. The real cause of his incarceration is unknown, but it has been conjectured that he had allowed his pen greater freedom than was agreeable to some persons. However in 1508 we again find him taking part in a court play, as appears by a payment 'To Mr. Kite, Cornishe, and other of the Chapell that played affore the King at Richmonte, 6l. 13s. 4d.' The date of Cornyshe's death is uncertain, but it was before 1526, in which year the name of William Crane occurs as master of the children. [App. p.599 "he went with the king to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, where he devised the pageants at the banquet. He died before November, 1524. For further information the reader is referred to the Dict. of Nat. Biog."]

[ W. H. H. ]