Middleton's Household Chapel: Church Music on the Welsh Border in the Seventeenth Century WILLIAM REYNOLDS A consequence of the social structure existing in Britain in the early part of the seventeenth century, as had long been the case, was that musicians were often dependent on the patronage either of the church or of the upper classes. This article considers the establish- ment of a choral foundation at the private chapel of Chirk Castle in north-east Wales, the home of the Member of Parliament for Denbighshire, Sir Thomas Myddleton (1586-1666; Plate 1, p. 124), and the repertoire found in the recently-discovered partbooks and organbook associated with him. In addition to the patronage exer- cised by the Myddletons, close links also existed between the choral foundation within the private chapel of Chirk Castle and the Parish Church of St Giles, Wrexham. The five music manuscripts associated with Chirk comprise a set of four partbooks (New York Public Library, MS Mus. Res.*MNZ (Chirk)), and a supporting organbook (Och MS Mus. 6, hereafter referred to as MS 6). The manuscripts are important on a number of counts: they illustrate the repertory of a provincial choral establish- ment during the seventeenth century; they bring to light several items unique to Chirk; they serve to provide alternative readings or fill lacunae for pieces also found in other sources; and they raise issues of performance practice, particularly with regard to pitch and the phenomenon of the transposing organ. 1 Chirk Castle and its private chapel Chirk Castle is located close to the English border, within the old county boundary of Denbighshire. Built in 1282, it was one of a series of castles constructed along the border to uphold the conquests of Edward I. It later passed through the hands of several influential
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