Coleman, Charles (DNB00)

COLEMAN, CHARLES (d. 1664), Mus. Doc., was a member of Charles I's private band. On 4 May 1617, a Charles Coleman played the part of Hymen in a masque, by Robert White, which was performed at the Ladies' Hall, Deptford ; it is probable that this individual was the musician. When the rebellion broke out Coleman settled in London as a teacher of music, and seems to have been in favour with the parliamentary party, for on 26 June 1651 the committee for the reformation of the university of Cambridge specially recommended him for the degree of Mus. Doc., though he had not taken the preliminary degree of Mus. Bac. He was accordingly admitted Mus. Doc. on 2 July. Wood says that he was 'an approver of the viol lyra way and an improver of it by his excellent inventions.' In 1656 Coleman, with Captain Cooke, Henry Lawes, and George Hudson, contributed music to Davenant's 'First Dayes Entertainment at Rutland House, by declamations and musick, after the manner of the ancients.' This was merely an argument in dialogue form as to the fitness of dramatic representations. It was performed on 21 May 1656, the audience being admitted at five shillings a head. According to a contemporary account (State Papers, Dom. 1655-6, cxxviii. No. 108), the ' music was in a covered place and concerted,' the entertainment lasted an hour and a half, and though four hundred people were expected only one hundred and fifty came. It was followed by the same author's 'Siege of Rhodes made a Representation by the Art of Prospective in Scenes, and the Story sung in Recitative Musick.' In the preface to this work which was really the first English opera Davenant states that 'the musick was compos'd, and both the vocal and instrumental is exercis'd, by the most transcendent of England in that art, and perhaps not unequal to the best masters abroad; but being recitative, and therefore unpractis'd here; though of great reputation amongst other nations, the very attempt of it is an obligation to our own.' The work was in five entries or acts, the 1st and 5th set by Henry Lawes, the 2nd and 3rd by Captain Cooke, and the 4th by Matthew Locke, while the instrumental music between the acts was the work of Charles Coleman and George Hudson. At the Restoration, Coleman and his younger son Charles were granted the office of 'viol in ordinary, amongst the lutes and voices in the king's private music,' with a fee of 40l. a year and 20l. for strings. He also seems to have been in receipt of the usual yearly allowance of 16l. 2s. 6d. for livery. In November 1662, on the death of Henry Lawes, he was appointed composer to the king, with a salary of 40l. per annum, and on 28 Oct. of the same year he became an assistant of the newly revived company of musicians.

On 31 Jan. 1663 it was ordered by the same company that Locke, Christopher Gibbons, and W. Gregory should each of them pay 10l. to the company or show cause to the contrary; this payment was probably for licenses to practise as musicians, the whole aim of the corporation being to create a professional monopoly. Coleman died at his house in Churchyard Alley, Fetter Lane, in July 1664. His will, dated in the same month, was proved on 16 July by his wife Grace; in it he mentions his three younger children, Charles, Reginah, and Grace, the first of whom was one of the musicians in ordinary in 1694, though his name is absent in the lists for 1700. Songs and instrumental pieces by Charles Coleman are to be found in many of the contemporary collections, notably in the various editions of 'Select Musicall Ayres and Dialogues,' and 'Courtly Masquing Ayres.' Manuscript compositions by him are preserved in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the British Museum, Lambeth Palace, Christ Church, Oxford and especially the Music School collection, where there are many fancies and other instrumental pieces by him. Coleman contributed the definitions of musical terms to E. Phillips's 'New World of Words' (1658).

[Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 377; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, iii. 808; Hawkins's History of Music, iv. 63; Davenant's Siege of Rhodes; Prefatory Memoir to Davenant's Works, The Dramatists of the Restoration (1872); Add. MS. 18941; Harl. MS. 1911; Notes and Queries for 1 Aug. 1857 and 5 June 1858; State Papers Chas. II. Domestic Series, xi. Docquet Book, lxv. Domestic Correspondence; Docquet 1661 (no date); Coleman's Will, Probate Registry, 88 Bruce; Wood's MSS. Bodleian Library, 19 D (4), No. 106; Chamberlayne's Notitise for 1694, &c.; Grace Book of the University of Cambridge, communicated by the Rev. H. R. Luard.]

W. B. S.