Immyns, John (DNB00)

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IMMYNS, JOHN (d. 1764), musician, became an attorney in youth, but a love of gaiety ruined his professional chances. Reuced to poverty, he was for a time clerk to a city attorney, but his predilection for music led to his appointment as amanuensis to Dr. Pepusch, the musician, and as copyist to the Academy of Ancient Music. He became an active member of the academy. When forty years of age he taught himself the lute, solely by the aid of Mace's 'Musick's Monument;' attained a certain degree of proficiency, and procured the post of lutenist to the Chapel Royal, in succession to John Shore. He was also an indifferent performer on the flute, violin, viol da gamba, and harpsichord.

Immyns's voice, a strong but not very flexible alto, was excellently suited for the performance of madrigals. In 1741 he founded the Madrigal Society. Its original members were mostly mechanics, Spitalfields weavers, and the like. At their meetings, which were held in an alehouse in Bride Lane, Fleet Street, to vary the entertainment of singing catches, madrigals, rounds, &c., Immyns would sometimes read by way of lecture a chapter of Zarlino translated by himself. In various years he filled the annual office of president of the society. In September 1763 a letter was written to him by the society exempting him from all offices, and asking him to allow his name to remain on the roll of members. He is stated to have been an enthusiastic collector of the music of the earlier composers, especially madrigal writers, but to have had no taste for the music of his time. He died of asthma in Coldbath Fields, 15 April 1764. His son John was for some time organist of Surrey Chapel.

[Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 766; Hawkins's Hist. of Music, p. 886; Madrigal Soc. Records.]

R. F. S.