Parsons, John (d.1623) (DNB00)

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PARSONS, JOHN (d. 1623), organist and composer, is said to be the son of Robert Parsons (d. 1570) [q. v.], musician. In 1616, upon the recommendation of the dean of Westminster, he was elected one of the parish clerks and organist of St. Margaret's, Westminster. On 7 Dec. 1621 he was appointed organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey, receiving 16l. yearly, besides 36l. 13s. 4d. for the charge of the children. Parsons died in 1623, and was buried on 3 Aug. in the Abbey cloisters. He was survived by his wife Jane, and his children—William, Dorothy, and Thomasine. The following lines by Camden refer to John Parsons:

    Death, passing by and hearing Parsons play,
    Stood much amazed at his depth of skill,
    And said, ‘This artist must with me away’
    (For death bereaves us of the better still),
    But let the quire, while he keeps time, sing on,
    For Parsons rests, his service being done.

A burial service by Parsons is preserved among the Barnard MSS. in the Royal College of Music.

[Authorities cited for article Parsons, Robert; Camden's Remains, 1674, p. 549; Chester's Westminster Registers; will registered in the court of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, proved 21 Nov. 1623.]

L. M. M.