Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dering, Richard

DERING or DEERING, RICHARD (d. 1630), musician, was the illegitimate son of Henry Dering of Liss, near Petworth, by Lady Elizabeth Grey, sister of Henry Grey, earl of Kent. His grandfather was Thomas Dering, who married Winifred, daughter of Sir George Cotton; her sister, Winifred, was the wife of Henry Grey, earl of Kent. This statement is given by Hasted (Add. MS. 5534), but there is no mention of Lady Elizabeth Grey in any pedigree of her family. He is said to have been sent at an early age to study music in Italy, where he gained great reputation. His first published work appeared at the press of Phalèse, at Antwerp, in 1597. It was entitled ‘Cantiones Sacræ sex vocum cum basso continuo ad organum,’ and was probably the earliest work printed with a figured bass. Dering is said on his return from Italy to have settled in London. On 26 April 1610 he supplicated as a member of Christ Church, Oxford, for the degree of Mus. Bac. There is no record of his having obtained the degree, nor of his matriculation. He was a catholic, which may have caused a difficulty. He styles himself Mus. Bac. on the title-page of a work published in 1618, though not in that of one which appeared in 1617. In the latter year, at the urgent request of the English nuns at Brussels, whose abbess was then Lady Mary Percy, Dering accepted the post of organist. The convent church was not finished until 1618, when the organ was so placed that it could be played from both sides of the grille: this arrangement was probably adopted to allow of Dering's being employed. In 1617 he published his second work, ‘Cantiones Sacræ quinque vocum cum basso continuo ad organum;’ on the title-page he styles himself ‘Venerabilium Monialum Anglicarum Bruxellæ in Monasterio Beatissimi Virginis Mariæ Organista.’ In 1618 appeared ‘Cantica sacra ad melodiam madrigalium elaborata senis vocibus. Cum basso continuo ad organum.’ In 1619 he published ‘Cantiones Sacræ quinque vocum cum basso continuo;’ in this work he is no longer styled organist of the English convent, though the dedications and prefaces of his next two published compositions are dated from Brussels. These works are: ‘Di Richardo Diringo Inglese Canzonette a tre voci. Con il basso continuo,’ and ‘Canzonette a quattro voci, con il basso continuo … nuovamente composte et date in luce.’ Both these appeared in 1620, and, like the rest of his works published in his lifetime, were printed by Phalèse at Antwerp. On the marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, Dering was appointed organist to the latter; from a warrant dated 11 July 1626 he seems also to have been one of the king's musicians, and as such in receipt of 40l. per annum. He died in the early part of 1630 (not after 1657, as his biographers unanimously state); his will, which bears no date, was proved by Edward Bold, his first cousin. It bears no date and is unsigned; the testator, who is described as of the parish of St. Mary, Savoy, among many other bequests, leaves Nicholas Lanier [q. v.] ‘a peece of plate of 15 ounces,’ a piece of plate to his aunt, Barbara Bold, his virginals to a Mrs. Drue, and ‘all my musicke books and the truncke’ to Mr. Drue, and pecuniary legacies to the king and queen. He was succeeded as musician in ordinary on 30 June by Giles Tompkins. After the Restoration, Playford published a selection of Dering's ‘Cantica Sacra,’ for two and three voices, with a figured bass for the organ, which he dedicated to Queen Henrietta Maria, and in 1674 the same publisher brought out another collection of ‘Cantica Sacra,’ which contains several supposed to be Dering's, though Playford himself was doubtful of their authenticity. His compositions are said to have been great favourites with Oliver Cromwell, who used to have them performed before him at the Cockpit, under Hingeston's [q. v.] direction.

Besides the printed works enumerated above, many of Dering's compositions are extant in manuscript. The Christ Church Library contains eighteen motets, two madrigals, a canzonet, and many fantasias by him; the Royal College of Music, the Oxford Music School, the Peterhouse (Cambridge), and the British Museum collections also contain many of his works, both vocal and instrumental. Two remarkable madrigals, ‘The London Cries’ and the ‘Country Cries,’ are sometimes found in manuscript, attributed both to Dering and Orlando Gibbons [q. v.]

[Information from the lady abbess, St. Mary's Abbey, East Bergholt, the Revs. C. W. Boase, T. Vere Bayne, and F. Haslewood, M. Alphonse Goovaerts and Mr. J. Chaloner Smith; Hawkins's Hist. of Music, iv. 44; Cal. of State Papers, Charles I, Dom. Series, vols. xxxi. and clxix.; Wood MS. 19 D. (4), No. 106 (Bodleian Lib.); Wood's Fasti, i. 337, ii. 278; Goovaert's Typographie Musicale dans les Pays Bas, pp. 283, 321, 323, 325, 326; Arch. Cantiana, x. 347; will at Somerset House, Scroope, 34; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Catalogues of music collections mentioned above.]

W. B. S.