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Ravenscroft
Ravenser
318

vol. iv.; Owen's Epigrams; Baker's Biographia Dramatica, ed. 1812; Scott's Dryden, revised by Saintsbury, vols. i. and iv. 1882 and 1883.]

A. W. W.

RAVENSCROFT, THOMAS (1592?–1635?), musician, was born about 1592. He was a chorister of St. Paul's Cathedral under Edward Piers, and he afterwards attended the music lectures at Gresham College. He graduated Mus. Bac. of Cambridge in 1607.

In 1609, in his infancy, as he subsequently apologised (Pref. to Discourse), Ravenscroft published ‘Pammelia, Musick's Miscellany.’ It is said to be the earliest collection of rounds, catches, and canons printed in England. A few numbers were Ravenscroft's own composition, and others were ancient; all were excellent in their musical science. Several examples from this miscellany were reprinted by Burney (History, iii. 347). A second impression of ‘Pammelia’ appeared in 1618. In the meantime a supplementary collection was published by Ravenscroft, ‘Deuteromelia, or the Second Part of Musick's Miscellany, or Melodious Musicke of Pleasant Roundelaies; K. H. mirth or Freemen's songs, and such Delightful Catches.’ It bore the motto ‘Qui canere potest canat,’ and contained catches generally for three voices, a version of ‘Three Blind Mice’ among them. In 1611 followed ‘Melismata, Musicall Phansies fitting the Court, Cittie, and Country Humours, to three, four, and five voyces. To all delightful except to the Spiteful; to none offensive except to the Pensive.’ The book was dedicated by Ravenscroft to his kinsmen Thomas and William Ravenscroft, esquires.

In 1613 Ravenscroft issued ‘Musalia,’ a collection of glees (cf. Musical World, 1840, ii. 139), and in the following year he brought out ‘A Briefe Discourse of the true (but neglected) use of charact'rising the Degrees by their Perfection, Imperfection, and Diminution in Measurable Musicke, against the common Practise and Custom of these Times.’ Much of the material of the ‘Discourse’ is found in a ‘Treatise of Musicke’ by Ravenscroft, probably autograph, in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 19758. His advocacy of a system which had only recently been discarded, and other strong opinions on matters of musical controversy, placed the author in opposition to Thomas Morley [q. v.], whose ‘Introduction’ was an accepted authority.

In 1621 appeared Ravenscroft's most famous publication, ‘The Whole Book of Psalms, with the Hymnes Evangellical and Songs Spirituall, composed into four parts by sundry Authors, to such several Tunes as have been and are usually sung in England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands, never as yet in one volume published.’ About one hundred and fifty psalm-tunes were thus supplied with treble, alto, and bass parts by the greater composers of the past and current periods, Ravenscroft contributing forty-eight settings. Certain melodies were for the first time named after cities said by local tradition to have given them birth. The collection by its great merit superseded all others, went through many editions, and, at last becoming scarce, was succeeded in popular favour by Playford's compilation under the same title. So recently as 1844 a reprint of Ravenscroft's ‘Psalms’ was published by Canon Havergal. Ravenscroft is said to have died in 1635.

In 1822 ‘Selections from the Works of Thomas Ravenscroft’ was issued to members of the Roxburghe Club. The words only are given in many cases. The musical notation, where supplied, was modernised by Bartleman, who died before completing the work.

[Hawkins's History, pp. 557, 567; Burney's History, iii. 57, 260, 347; Grove's Dictionary, iii. 78, iv. 762; Ravenscroft's Works; authorities cited.]

L. M. M.

RAVENSER, RICHARD de (d. 1386), clerk in chancery and archdeacon of Lincoln, was the elder son of William Bakester of Ravenser-Odd, Yorkshire; he was born at Ravenser, whence he took his name. He probably owed preferment to Sir William de la Pole (d. 1366) [q. v.], a native of the neighbouring Kingston-on-Hull. In 1357 Ravenser was made keeper of the hanaper, and in 1358 was appointed to administer the goods of the deceased Queen Isabella. In the same year he received the prebend of Welton Brinkhall in Lincoln Cathedral, and on 20 June 1359 was made archdeacon of Norfolk. In 1361 the king presented him to the prebends of Wellington in Hereford Cathedral and Hoxton in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, and in the following year he was made one of the twelve superior clerks in chancery. On 29 Oct. 1363 he received the prebend of Empingham, Lincoln Cathedral, and in 1365 was made master of St. Leonard's Hospital, York. Before 1367 he became provost of Beverley (Chron. de Melsa, iii. 142). In 1368 he was made archdeacon of Lincoln, and in 1369 he was rich enough to lend the king 200l., which was repaid in the following year. On 25 Sept. 1371 he was presented to the prebend of Knaresborough in York Cathedral; in the same year he was one of the receivers of petitions in parliament, an office he held in successive parliaments until his death. Ravenser had temporary charge of the great seal in May–June 1377, and again in February–March 1386,