Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cuttinge, Francis

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CUTTINGE, FRANCIS (16th cent.), lutenist and musical composer, was one of the most distinguished composers of lute music towards the close of the reign of Elizabeth and the beginning of that of James. Nothing is known of his parentage, but families of the same name were living about this period in Cornwall and Devonshire, and one William Cuttinge, a native of East Dereham, Norfolk, was living in London, where he died 4 March 1599. In 1596 Cuttinge contributed several pieces to William Barley's ‘New Booke of Tabliture;’ other manuscript compositions by him are preserved in the British Museum (Eg. 2046, Add. MS. 31392) and the Oxford Music School Collection. On 9 March 1607 Anne of Denmark wrote to Arabella Stuart that ‘the king off denmarks gentleman haith insisted with us, for the licensing your seruant Thomas Cottings to depart from you but not without your permission to our brothers seruice,’ and the request was repeated in a letter from Prince Henry: ‘The queenes ma. hath commaunded me to signifie to your la. that shee would haue Cutting your la. seruant to send to the king of Denmark because he desyred the queen that shee would send him one that could play vpon the lute.’ It seems possible that this Thomas Cuttinge was the same as Francis, and that the queen mistook his christian as well as his surname. Arabella Stuart yielded, and it is to be presumed that Cuttinge went to Denmark, though if he did he must, like Dowland [q. v.], have returned before long, as the list of Prince Henry's household in 1610 contains the name of ‘Mr. Cuttynge’ as one of the musicians. After this there is no further trace of him.

[Harl. MSS. 252, 642, 6986; Add. MS. 32490, T. T. 49; Blomefield's Hist. of Norfolk, x. 219; Somerset House Gazette, ii. 27; Preface to Dowland's First Book of Airs (Mus. Ant. Society); Visitations of Cornwall and Devon (Harl. Soc.); information from Mr. W. R. Sims.]

W. B. S.