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Thirty-nine sacred motetts for five voices

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MSS. Mus. e. 1-5

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Thirty-nine sacred motetts for five voices (' Songes of fyue partes '), with Latin words, followed by a Mass (wanting the Kyrie) by J. Taverner, entitled 'The Western Wynde,' for four voices, and two English and one Latin song: each volume containing the parts for one voice. The chief composers (out of seventeen) are:
  1. William Byrd (five);
  2. T. Tallis (eight);
  3. J. Taverner (five);
  4. R. Whyte (six).
One English song, 'Good fellows must go learne to daunce,' is by William Parson, the other ('Cony skins, maydes') is anonymous: the Latin song ('Musica leta suum') is by 'Alfonso.' A full list will be found in MS. Mus. e. 1.

The whole collection was made for, and probably by, John Sadler, whose name and devices frequently occur, with the date 1585 in MS. Mus. e. 1.

  1. (MS. Mus. e. 1): 78 leaves;
  2. (MS. Mus. e. 2): 78 leaves;
  3. (MS. Mus. e. 3): 78 leaves;
  4. (MS. Mus. e. 4): 69 leaves;
  5. (MS. Mus. e. 5): 72 leaves.


  • written in A. D. 1585 by J. Sadler(?)


1 box

Conditions Governing Access

Closed on conservation grounds.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Mus. e. 1, fols. 1-2]
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MSS. Mus. e. 1-5

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 19989


Thirty-nine sacred motetts for five voices, written in A. D. 1585 by J. Sadler(?).

Biographical / Historical

John Sadler (1512/13-c.1591) was a translator and music copyist.

William Byrd (1539x43–1623) was a composer.

Thomas Tallis (c.1505–1585) was a musician and composer.

John Taverner (c.1490–1545) was a composer.

Robert White (? 1538-1574) was a composer.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. V, nos. 29582-29586.

Custodial History

'This collection cost Stace [?] £21, as I was informed by Caulfield who sold it to him. 1808,' note in MS. Mus. e. 4. Marked 'Bibliotheca Heberiana,' but apparently not sold with the Heber MSS. in the sale of 1836.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought from J. E. Cornish, bookseller, on April 27. 1885, for £25.

Physical Facet

On paper, with coloured devices, capitals, etc.; binding, brown russia leather with parchment leaves of partly erased late 15th ccnt. sacred music let into the sides, 18th century.
Thirty-nine sacred motetts for five voices
EAD version 2020 by Pauline Soum-Paris
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom