Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hooper, Edmund

HOOPER, EDMUND (1553?–1621), organist and composer, was born about 1553 at Halberton near Tiverton, Devon, and was brought up at Bradninch in the same county, until he was sent by Sir James Dyer to school at Greenwich. Hooper joined the choir of Westminster Abbey probably in 1581; was appointed master of the children on 3 Dec. 1588; became shortly afterwards organist, in succession to Neeve, and was in 1606 the first regularly appointed organist of the abbey (Rimbault). His duties included repair of the organs and transcription of choir music. He was admitted a gentleman of the Chapel Royal on 1 March 1603. He died on 14 July 1621, and was buried on the 16th in the abbey cloisters, near his first wife. He was survived by his second wife, Margaret, and twelve sons and daughters. His eldest son, James (d. 1651), was a ‘singing man’ at Westminster; his grandson, William (1611–1663), petticannon, was probably the Hooper who took Pepys into the choir, where he ‘sang with them their service’ (29 Dec. 1661).

Hooper composed much church music of merit. There are printed in Barnard's ‘First Book of Selected Church Music,’ London, 1641, his full anthems, ‘Teach me Thy way’ (a 4), ‘O Thou God Almighty’ (a 5), and ‘Behold it is Christ’ (a 5). In Leighton's ‘Teares or Lamentacions,’ London, 1614, are published Hooper's ‘Alas! that I offended ever’ (a 4), and ‘Wellspring of Bounty’ (a 5). Hooper contributed several harmonised psalm-tunes to Este's ‘Whole Booke of Psalms,’ 1592. Manuscript copies of Hooper's ‘Evening Services’ (long, in D, and short, in C or A minor) are in the libraries of Ely Cathedral and Peterhouse, Cambridge. A collection of manuscript music (thought by Husk to have belonged to Barnard, and now in the library of the Royal College of Music) contains Hooper's preces, psalms, and responses, and six unpublished verse anthems: ‘Hearken, ye nations,’ ‘O God of Gods,’ ‘O how glorious!’ ‘O Lord, in Thee is all,’ ‘O Lord, turn not away,’ ‘Sing unto the Lord.’

[Rimbault's Old Cheque Book of the Chapel Royal, passim; Chester's Westminster Abbey Registers, pp. 118, 145, 158; Pepys's Diary, i. 307; P.C.C. Registers, Dale, fol. 67; Husk's Cat. of the Sacred Harmonic Society, pp. 188–190; Grove's Dict. of Music, i. 746; authorities cited.]

L. M. M.