Skip to main content

Thirty-nine sacred motetts for five voices

 Single Item
MSS. Mus. e. 1-5
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

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.


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


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Latin

Conditions Governing Access

This material is fragile. To ensure its availability to future readers, access to this material is restricted. Readers are asked to work from reproductions and published descriptions as far as possible. To apply to see the original, please send a message to, outlining the subject of your research, the importance of this material to that research, and the resources you have already consulted. Please also tell us about the timeframe for your project, if any, and when you hope to visit.

Preferred Citation

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

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


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
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom