Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bateson, Thomas

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BATESON, THOMAS (1580?–1620?), musical composer, was one of the greatest of the Elizabethan madrigal composers. The first fact that can be ascertained with certainty concerning him is that in 1599 he was appointed organist of Chester Cathedral. To the collection of madrigals in praise of Queen Elizabeth, known as the 'Triumphs of Oriana,' he was to have contributed 'When Oriana walkt to take the ayre,' but his composition was sent in too late, and was therefore included in the collection of his own works, published in 1604, and entitled 'First Set of Madrigals.' In the dedication to Sir William Norres he alludes to his composition in terms which imply that he was quite young at this time. He calls himself 'practitioner in music.' On 24 March 1608-9 he was appointed vicar-choral of the cathedral of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Dublin, and on 5 April of the same year he is described as 'vicar and organist of this church.' Thus the date 1611, commonly given as that in which he left Chester, must be too late. At this time he was much patronised by Lord Chichester. In 1618 he published a 'Second Set of Madrigals,' and on the title-page he is described as 'bachelor of musick, organist, and master of the children of the cathedral church of the Blessed Trinity, Dublin.' He must thus have taken a musical degree by this time, and it is supposed that he was the first person to receive such a degree in the university of Dublin. Besides the published madrigals, manuscript compositions by Bateson are contained in the British Museum (Eg. MSS. 995, Add. MSS. 31398), and a number of madrigals in the handwriting of John Immyns are in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.

[Hawkins's History of Music; Barrett's Glee and Madrigal Writers; manuscript music in the British Museum and Fitzwilliam Museum; Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.]

J. A. F. M.