Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mundy, William

MUNDY, WILLIAM (fl. 1563), musical composer, at one time a member of St. Paul's Cathedral choir, was sworn gentleman of the Chapel Royal on 21 Feb. 1563-4. Richard Mundaye (cf. Revels at Court) and John Mundaye (died about 1590), both of Queen Elizabeth's household, were probably relatives. According to the ‘Old Chequebook of the Chapel Royal,’ Anthony Anderson was ‘sworn, 12 Oct. 1591, in Mr. Mundaie's room.’ Rimbault assumed here a reference to William's death; but John Mundy the elder, who described himself in his will as yeoman and servant to the queen, is doubtless intended. (One of the overseers of and witnesses to John's will was William Hunnis [q. v.] the musician, Registers P. C. C., Sainberbe, 9.)

A pedigree compiled by his grandson, Stephen Mundy, in the seventeenth century (Harl. MS. 5800) states that William married Mary Alcock and had two sons, John [q. v.], and Stephen, gentleman of the household to James I and Charles I. The family bore the arms and crest of Mundy of London. The descent of John from William Munday, questioned by Hawkins, is here confirmed, thus bearing out the general interpretation of the lines by Baldwin, lay-clerk of Windsor, and contemporary with John Mundy—

Mundye th'oulde one of the Quene's pallis;
Mundie yonge, th'oulde man's son

(cf. Hawkins, Hist. of Music, p. 469).

On the other hand, the statement of the pedigree, that Willlam was sub-dean of the chapel, is unsupported. Some complimentary office or title may have been conferred upon him by the dean and chapter; for in 1573 or 1574 they received from a William Mundy a fee in acknowledgment for ‘litt. testimonialibus’ (Treasurer's Rolls).

Mundy was esteemed by Morley and other English musicians as inferior to none of their contemporaries abroad, and so correct as to deem it ‘no greater sacrilege to spurn against the image of a saint than to make two perfect cords of one kind together.’ There are printed in Barnard's ‘Selected Church Music,’ 1641, a service by Mundy for four, five, and six voices in D minor, and anthems. Barnard, like Clifford and an early seventeenth-century manuscript (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 29289, fol. 83), also assigns to him ‘O Lord, the Maker of all things,’ a 4; but Dr. Philip Armes has discovered among the Durham Cathedral manuscripts many seventeenth-century voice-parts of this anthem under the name of John Shepherd, while the old tradition ascribing the music to Henry VIII has the support of no less an authority than Dean Aldrich. ‘O Lord, the world's Saviour,’ a 4; ‘O Lord, I bow the knees of my heart,’ a 5; and ‘Ah! helpless wretch,’ for counter-tenor with chorus, are also printed as Mundy's by Barnard.

In manuscript there are, besides many transcriptions of the above:

  1. A second Service.
  2. Anthem, ‘O give thanks;’
  3. Eleven Latin motets in a set of parts, all at the Royal College of Music.
  4. Seven Latin motets, &c.; and
  5. , 6, two Masses ‘upon the square,’ at the British Museum (Addit. MSS. 17802-5).
  6. Four part-songs, &c. (ib. 31390).
  7. Three pieces in lute notation, by W. or J. Mundy (ib. 29246).
  8. Song, ‘Prepare you, time wereth away’ (Harl. MS. 7578).
  9. Seventeen motets at Christ Church, Oxford.

Other music in manuscript by Mundy is in the libraries of York and Lambeth.

[Grove's Dict. of Music, ii. 409, 422; Chappell's Popular Music, i. 53; Rimbault's Old Cheque-book, pp. 1, 5, 181; Cunningham's Revels at Court, p. 12; Morley's Introduction to Practicall Musicke, p. 151; information kindly given by Alfred James Monday, esq., Taunton; authorities cited.]

L. M. M.