John Tilbury

Boy of the King's Chapel

From "The English Historical Review"
by Justin Winsor, Samuel Rawson Gardiner, Reginald Lane Poole, John Goronwy Edwards, Mandell Creighton
Published 1918 (Longman)
Google Books Online - Snippet
page 83

Chapel Boy

"The English Chapel Royal as a musical institution may be said to date from 1348, When Edward III organized it ..."

"Its history, however, from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century has yet to be written. It has been said that a trained musical staff was not added 'till 1420', as 'there has not been found, up to the present, any mention of the children of the chapel before Henry V's reign'; but the Patent Rolls record a grant

of the Wardenship of the Hospital of Ilford, in the diocese of London, to John TILBURY, 'one of the boys of the King's Chapel', on 12 November 1405.

It is well known that Henry V had his chapel singers on the campaign of Agincourt (October 1415) ..."

Effigies of King Henry IV & his Queen, Joan of Navarre
House of Lancaster: 1399-1413 Henry IV; 1413-1422 Henry V

While it seems there is no certain record of 'chapel children' as early as the beginning of the 15th century, by the reign of Edward IV the practice was well established.

In Robert Southey's "Common-place Book" 1849, a quotation from:
Sir John Hawkin's "History of Music" 1776, vol. 2, p. 293
From an Account of the Household Establishment of Edward IV (1461-1483)
Google Books Online - Harvard College Library
page 284

Children of the Chapel-Royal

"Children of the Chappelle VIII, founden by the king's privie cofferes for all that longethe to their apperelle by the hands and ovesyghte of the deane, or by the Master of Songe assigned to teache them, which mastere is appointed by the deane, chosen one of the nomber of the felowshipe of chappelle after rehearsed, and to drawe them to other schooles after the forme of Sacotte, as well as in Songe in Orgaines and other.

Thes childrene eate in the hall dayly at the chappel boarde, nexte the yeomane of vestery; taking amongeste them for livenge daylye for brekefaste and all nighte, two loves, one messe of great meate, II. galones of ale; and for wintere seasone III. candles piche, III. talsheids, and lyttere for their pallets of the serjante, usher, and carryadge of the king's coste for the competente beddynge by the oversyght of the comptrollere. And amongeste them all to have one servante into the court to trusse and bear their narnesse and lyverey in court.

And that day the king's chapelle removeth every of thes children then present receaveth IIII.d. at the green clothe of the comptyng-house for horshire dayly, as long as they be jurneinge.

And when any of these children comene to XVIII. yeares of age, and their voyces change, he cannot be preferred in this chapelle, the nombere being full, then yf they will assente 'the king assynethe them to a colledge or Oxford or Cambridge of his foundatione, there to be at fynding and studye bothe suffytyently, tylle the kinge may otherwise advaunse them'".

If John was a 'boy' in 1405, perhaps a choir boy, then he may have been too old by 1415 to have accompanied the King to France, supposing he survived the 1407 plague in London (the death roll is considered to have been above 30,000).

Which was the Chapel referred to? An electronic search of Stow's work gives only one reference to "king's chapel" (below); his section on Westminster refers to St. Stephen's Chapel. Where, physically, was Henry IV's habitual chapel? Was John TILBURY's family in the London area, or was he a chorister brought from a church elsewhere?

The "Chapel Royal", which included choir-boys, and therefore in some form might have included John TILBURY, is described thus:

From "Choral Service of the United Church of England & Ireland:
being an enquiry into
The Liturgical System of the Cathedral & Collegiate Foundations
of the
Anglican Communion"
by the Rev. John Jebb, A.M., 1843
Google Books Online - Harvard College Library
section XVIII, pages 147-149

Of The Royal Chapels

"The Chapel Establishment of the English Sovereign is not a corporate body. It has subsisted, however, according to its present constitution for a long time antecedent to the Reformation. Over the Chapel presides a Dean (this office was of ancient standing in the Court, but was discontinued in 1572, till King James's accession, when it was revived in the person of Dr. - afterwards Bishop - Montague [Heylin's Laud, part i, book 3]); next to him a Sub-Dean, then forty-eight Chaplains, with ten Priests in ordinary, and a numerous lay Choir, styled Gentlemen of the Chapel. The Chaplains' duty is confined to preaching on Sundays; they take no part in the performance of Divine Service. The Liturgical offices are performed by the Dean, Sub-Dean, and Priests in ordinary. They have been often, but not uniformly, appointed from the Minor Canons of Westminster and St. Paul's; and it would appear as if they were originally considered as forming part of the Choir (in the old records they are constantly mentioned together)."

"In strictness, this establishment belongs to no fixed place, but is bound to attend the Sovereign wherever he may be resident. Of this ambulatory service there are proofs in records of King Henry's reign*: and in later times, King George IV. used to command the attendance of his Choir at Brighton."

"In former times, the Chapel Royal was considered as the exemplar of divine service to the whole kingdom, and to Choirs in particular."

* "The author cannot recollect where the passage occurs, but it strikes him as being one so commonly known, that any tolerable church antiquarian may easily verify it. It contains injunctions to the members of the King's Chapel during royal progresses. Among other things an "anthempne" is directed to be sung in the afternoon."

House of Tudor: 1509-1547 Henry VIII
House of Hanover: 1820-1830 George IV

Westminster Hall

page 250

"The old hall was built by William Rufus, as a banquetting house to the palace, which stood in the place now called Old Palace Yard; but Richard II. ordered the whole to be pulled down, and the present edifice was erected in its stead in the year 1397."

House of Normandy: 1087-1100 William II (William Rufus)
House of Plantagenet: 1377-1399 Richard II
pages 256-257

"Adjoining to the south-east angle of Westminster Hall, are the remains of ST. STEPHEN'S CHAPEL.

This chapel was first erected by king Stephen, in honour of the protomartyr, in the antient palace; but was rebuilt by king Edward III. in 1347, and dedicated "to the honour of Almighty God, and especially of the Blessed Virgin, his mother, and of the martyr, St. Stephen."

He ordained it to be collegiate, under the government of a dean, twelve canons-secular, vicars, choristers, and subordinate officers; and by his letters patent, endowed the establishment with his inn situate in Lombard Street; his tower in Bucklesbury, called Swetes-tower; his inn called Le Reole, since called the Tower Royal, and other possessions in London, Yorkshire, and Berks.

Edward also built, for the use of the chapel, in the Little Sanctuary, westward, a strong Clochier, or Bell Tower, covered with lead, in which were three large bells, which were usually rung at coronations, funerals, &c. and their sound was vulgarly supposed to have the effect of souring all the beer in the vicinity."

House of Normandy: 1135-1154 Stephen
House of Plantagenet: 1327-1377 Edward III

From "London: Being an Accurate History and Description of the British Metropolis and Its Neighbourhood"
by David Hughson, Vol. IV, 1807
Google Books Online

St. James's Palace

pages 319

"This was originally an hospital, founded by some devout citizens of London, before the Conquest, for fourteen leprous females, and there were several manors in Hampstead, Hendon, &c. for its support; the foundation was afterwards augmented by the addition of eight brethren, and the hospital was rebuilt in the reign of Henry III. and its custody given to Eton College by Henry VI. the living of Chattisham, in Suffolk, having been exchanged for it; this consideration being renewed to the college by Hen. VIII. the college more readily resigned its right, and the hospital was surrendered among others in that rapacius reign. Its revenues amounted to 100l. per annum.

Henry demolished most part of the old fabric, and on the site founded the present palace, called by Stow, "a goodly manor." It does not appear, however, that it was the immediate mansion of royalty till after the fire which destroyed the palace of Whitehall."

House of Plantagenet: 1216-1272 Henry III
House of Lancaster: 1422-1461 Henry VI
pages 323

"On the west side of the court yard, is the CHAPEL ROYAL, a plain contracted room; it is supposed to have been the same used, when belonging to the hospital."


pages 236

"This was originally built by Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent, "the great, the persecuted justiciary of England, in the reign of Henry III." At his death he bequeathed it to the Black Friars of London, and they disposed of it to Walter de Grey, archbishop of York, in 1248. It consequently became the town residence of the archbishops of that see, and was called York House.

The last archbishop was the munificent and haughty Thomas Wolsey, cardinal of the Holy See, who here laid down all his greatness."

page 239

"No sooner had Henry obtained possessin of this envied mansion by the disgrace of Wolsey, than he inclosed the park, for the accommodation of it and St. James's hospital, lately converted to a palace ..."

House of Tudor: 1509-1547 Henry VIII

Whitehall, as it appeared before the great fire of 1691, which destroyed all but the Banqueting House.
From a view in the margin of Morden & Lea's map of London, published at that period.

From the above, it seems that there was no clear designation of any particular "King's Chapel".

From Stow's "Survay of London" 1598/1603
Google Books Online
pages 49-50

The King's Chapel

"... Tower street stretching from the Tower hill, west to St. Margaret Patten's church parsonage.

Now therefore, to begin at the east end of the street, on the north side thereof, is the fair parish church called Allhallows Barking, which standeth in a large, but sometime far larger, cemetery or churchyard; on the north side whereof was sometime built a fair chapel, founded by King Richard I.: some have written that his heart was buried there under the high altar. This chapel was confirmed and augmented by King Edward I. Edward IV. gave license to his cousin John, Earl of Worcester, to found there a brotherhood for a master and brethren; and he gave to the custos of that fraternity, which was Sir John Scot, knight, Thomas Colte, John Tate, and John Croke, the priory of Totingbeeke, and advowson of the parish church of Streatham, in the county of Surrey, with all the members and appurtenances, and a part of the priory of Okeborn in Wiltshire, both priors aliens, and appointed it to be called the king's chapel or chantry. In capella Beata Mariae de Barking.

King Richard III. new built and founded therein a college of priests, &c. Hamond de Legs was buried in that chapel. Robert Tate, mayor of London 1488, and other, were there buried.

This chapel and college were suppressed and pulled down in the year 1548, the 2nd of King Edward VI.

The ground was employed as a garden-plot during the reigns of King Edward, Queen Mary, and part of Queen Elizabeth, till at length a large strong frame of timber and brick was set thereon, and employed as a store-house of merchants' goods brought from the sea by Sir William Winter, &c."

House of Plantagenet: 1189-1199 Richard I; 1272-1307 Edward I
House of York: 1461-1483 Edward IV; 1483-1485 Richard III
House of Tudor: 1547-1553 Edward VI; 1553-1558 Mary I; 1558-1603 Elizabeth I

From "A Practical Treatise on Architectural Jurisprudence"
by James Elmes, 1827
Google Books Online
page 159


"Definition: Chantry or Chauntry, Cantaria, Latin, is a little church, chapel or particular altar, in some cathedral church &c. endowed with lands, or other revenues, for the maintenance of one or more priests, daily to sing mass and officiate divine service for the souls of the donors, and such others as they appointed.

By the statute of the 1st Edw. 6. c. 14, which gave certain colleges, chapels &c. to the crown; these chantries were put an end to, by declaring it to be illegal for any person to enter for non-performance of the conditions on which they were founded."

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