Skip to main content

Consort music in three and four parts


  • How to

Three and four-part consort music copied at different times in the third quarter of the 17th cent. by an anonymous scribe, by Matthew Hutton, and by Edward Lowe. The first, anonymous scribe copied works by Benjamin Rogers and John Jenkins beginning a fresh quire for works by each in each different key. His plan was continued by Hutton, who added suites by Rogers and W. Lawes; and by Lowe, who added suites by Jenkins. Lowe's labels describe the set at this stage. At a later date he filled remaining space with music by Rogers, Baltzar and Henry Bowman. Indexes of part of the contents are in Lowe's hand at the beginning of each book.

No. 26 (label of iii) on the 1682 list of the Music School collection.

The part-books are: (i) First Treble, (ii) Second Treble, (iii) Tenor [and Second Bass] and (iv) Bass.

Four part-books of 150, 148, 150 and 150 pages, numbered by Lowe. Each part-book has 11 gatherings of 6 with one, variously placed towards the end, of 8, plus end papers. The last leaf of ii was removed. Watermark, Bend and Lily, no initials, not recorded in Heawood. 10 staves to a page, marginal ruling at both edges. Vellum binding. Paper labels on front covers in Edward Lowe's handwriting.


  • Creation: late 17th cent.


0.12 Linear metres (4 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Mus. Sch. d. 241, pp. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Mus. Sch. d. 241-244

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 17529


Four part-books containing consort music in three and four parts, given to Edward Lowe by Theodore Colby and copied by an anonymous scribe, Matthew Hutton and Lowe himself, late 17th cent.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Lowe (c 1610-1682) was a composer, copyist, organist and writer on music. See Grove Dictionary of Music for further details.

Matthew Hutton (1638-1711) was a music copyist and violist. For information relating to Matthew Hutton as a copyist see P.J. Willetts (1961), p. 73.

Other Finding Aids

Robert Hake, [Catalogue of the Music School Collection], c 1850-1855. No. CVII.

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. 26523-26526.

Viola da Gamba Society Thematic index of music for viols [online] (VdGS)

RISM 800272284

Custodial History

This item is part of the Music School collection of printed and manuscript music, which was originally bequeathed to the University of Oxford by William Heather (c 1563-1627), and gradually added to until the end of the 18th century. The present manuscript was given to Edward Lowe by Theodore Colbius or Colby [Organist of Magdalen College, 1661-1664], according to notes in MS. Mus. Sch. d. 261, fol. 61, and c. 44, fol. 180v.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was transferred to the Bodleian in 1885.

Related Materials

Another copy of the bass of the Rogers suites was made by Lowe in MS. Mus. Sch. e. 451, pp. 263-268. The organ part of the Jenkins suites is in MS. Mus. Sch. d. 261, fols. 39-76, copied from a different source by a hand which also wrote headings in MS. Mus. Sch. d. 241, and corrections in MS. Mus. Sch. d. 242 (pp. 60 and 76); this hand wrote 'Mr. Lowe' in MS. Mus. Sch. d. 244, p. 73. Bass parts for the additional Jenkins suites are in MS. Mus. Sch. e. 451, pp. 165-182. Bass parts for the pieces by Rogers, Baltzar and Bowman are in MS. Mus. Sch. e. 451, pp. 140-161.


  • Ashbee, Thompson and Wainwright, The Viola da Gamba Society index of manuscripts containing consort music (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001-2008) [and online (VdGS)], vol. 2, pp. 161-174.
  • Peter Holman, 'Thomas Baltzar (?1631-1663), the "Incomperable Lubicer on the violin"', Chelys 13 (1984), pp. 3-38.
  • Peter Holman, Four and twenty fiddlers: the violin at the English court, 1540-1690 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), pp. 277-279.
  • John Jenkins, Consort music of four parts, transcribed and edited by Andrew Ashbee. Musica Britannica, XXVI (London: Stainer & Bell, 1969, rev. 1975) [MB 26].
  • John Jenkins, Fantasia-suites II, transcribed and edited by Andrew Ashbee. Musica Britannica, XC (London: Stainer & Bell, 2010) [MB 90].
  • John Jenkins, Three-Part fancy and ayre divisions for two trebles and a bass to the organ, ed. R.A. Warner. Wellesley Edition, No. 10 (Wellesley, Mass: Wellesley College, 1966) [Warner].
  • Restoration music for three violins, bass viol and continuo, transcribed and edited by Peter Holman and John Cunningham. Musica Britannica, CIII (London: Stainer & Bell, 2018) [MB 103].
  • P.J. Willetts: 'Music from the circle of Anthony Wood at Oxford', British Museum Quarterly, xxiv (1961), pp. 71–5.
Consort music in three and four parts
EAD version 2019
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom