Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Causton, Thomas

CAUSTON, THOMAS (d. 1569), musical composer, was a gentleman of the chapel royal under Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth. Nothing is known of his parentage, but it is possible that he is identical with a Thomas Causton who was living about the same date at Oxted in Surrey. This individual was the son of William Causton of Orpington, by Katherine Banister, and was married to Agnes Polley of Shoreham. Their son William (d. 1638) had a numerous family, who lived at Oxted until late in the seventeenth century. On 29 Oct. 1558 Mary wrote to the mayor and aldermen of London in favour of Thomas Causton, ‘one of the gentlemen of the chappell,’ requesting that he should be admitted into the freedom of the city. In 1560 he contributed some music to John Day's rare ‘Certain Notes, set forth in four and three parts, to be sung at the Morning, Communion, and Evening Prayer.’ The same publisher's ‘Whole Psalmes in Foure Partes’ (1563) also contains no less than twenty-seven compositions by Causton. A Venite and service by him have been reprinted in the ‘Ecclesiologist,’ and a fine Te Deum and Benedictus in score are preserved in the British Museum (Add. MS. 31226). As far as can be judged from these compositions, Causton was a composer in every respect worthy of the school of which Redford and Tallis are the great lights. He died on 28 Oct. 1569, and was succeeded at the Chapel Royal by Richard Farrant.

[Cheque Book of the Chapel Royal, ed. Rimbault, p. 2; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 326; State Papers, Domestic Ser. Mary, 1558, Docq.; Add. MS. 16279, fol. 435; Registers of Oxted, communicated by the Rev. F. Parnell.]

W. B. S.