Farmer, Thomas (DNB00)

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FARMER, THOMAS (fl. 1685), composer, was originally one ‘of a company of musitians in London and played in the waytes’ (Wood, MS. Notes, Bodleian). He took the degree of Mus. B. at Cambridge in 1684, before which time he had contributed songs to Playford's ‘Choice Ayres, Songs, and Dialogues’ (2nd edit. 1675). One of these is described as ‘in the Citizen turn'd Gentleman.’ This was the sub-title of Ravenscroft's ‘Mammouchi,’ produced 1675. ‘Apollo's Banquet’ contains ‘Mr. Farmer's Magot,’ for violin. His instrumental compositions are entirely for strings, in three or four parts. He wrote the ‘tunes’ in ‘The Princess of Cleve,’ which appear in a set of manuscript parts dated December (16)82, owned by Thomas Fuller (Add. MS. 29283–5). Fuller possessed three other compositions in three parts by him (ib. 31429), and various overtures are contained in Add. MS. 24889. He contributed songs to ‘The Theater of Musick,’ 1685–7, and to D'Urfey's third collection, 1685. In 1686 appeared his own collection of airs in four parts, under the title of ‘A Consort of Musick,’ containing thirty-three lessons. A ‘Second Consort,’ containing eleven lessons, appeared in 1690. The date of his death is fixed only by the fact that Purcell wrote an elegy upon him to words by Nahum Tate, published in ‘Orpheus Britannicus,’ ii. 35, and beginning ‘Young Thyrsis' fate ye hills and groves deplore.’ This establishes the fact that Farmer died before November 1695, and it may be inferred that he died young. Hawkins says that his house was in Martlet Court, Bow Street, Covent Garden.

[Grove's Dict. i. 507; Imp. Dict. of Univ. Biog., art. ‘Farmer;’ authorities and compositions as above; Hawkins's Hist. (1853), p. 768.]

J. A. F. M.