Good M[aste]r Henry Loosmore!

For more than Batchelor [3] belongs unto you, so excellent have you shewed your self in what you favored me, to leave with me such good, such sweetness.  Art and Air come seldom from under a Gown, yet are you not ignorant, how I have appeared taken with what hath proceeded from Mr. Cranford, [4] whom I knew, a sober, plain-looking Man: his pieces mixed with Majesty, Gravity, Honey-dew Spirit and Variety.  I find less strange from Mr. Jenkins, [5] whose infinite flowing vein, in all kinds, I have as much admired, as been delighted in: but his Fashion promises no less; Spirit, Garb, and Air, shine in his first appearance.

At his being with me lately, we had some speech of Fantasies, which he expressed capable enough to carry Air in their current.  I am not against the short Airs that possess the present times; but before we can pass time enough in them, their very sweetness gluts, and grows fulsome: As to be fed with sweet meats, and dieted with Confectionary stuff, would quickly satiate; so these [satiate] a due and judicious attention.  The constant use of them is fit for common Consorts of pleasure, to tickle the ear, eat, drink, dance, or discourse, whilest they fill the Room and Ear, not the Soul, which is more apt to be wrought upon by Musical streins, than by what [it] should rather be, from the Pulpit.

The lighter sort of Preachers find too much of this, in the lightness of their affected Elegance and Conceits.  Let not then the deepest in Art and Science, submit themselves to comply rather with the lighter than more solid humoured spirits.  Our Frenchified Age requires rather a recollection and setling towards sobriety and gravity, than to be bubbled up to an over-Airy humour and lightness.  But I confess, Variety is the praise and perfection of Musick; and invention therein is infinite, which I will not be at, this time, further than to excuse my over-wearying you at your late being with me: To complement with your brother George, and take in the pleasure of his Fancies, gave the occasion. [6]   If you will oblige me another time, we will not tire you; but give you, I hope, some content, in hearing your last things performed by our hands.  Things used to appear easie in hearing, that prove hard to an ordinary hand: I despaired of these at the hearing, but came off with no ill-satisfaction, even at the first tryal.  This is hastily written, but gives you the hearty salute of your

                                                       Most affectionate Friend

                                                                   To serve you.

Catlidge, Aug 28, 1658 [7]


I Profes my self to be as much naturally affected with lively and airy Musick, as any Man; but time and attention to the Art, and well-working of it, hath with acquaintance bred in me a more solid affection: Not but that I am still delighted in the first; but the shortness, and too long dwelling in the continual food of our Modern Airs, entertains me not long enough without some lusciousness of glutting.  I am I confess no Cameleon, to be fed onely with Air: Many of the long solemn cromatick pieces, in continuance would also grow too heavy with me.  There is a kind of brisk, lusty, yet mellifluent vein, that flows as in In nomine; and I have found it in a double C, fa, ut, piece of Mr Wards 4 Parts, [8] and in other Authors, that stirs our bloud, and raises our spirits, with liveliness and activity, to satisfie both quickness of heart and hand.  Pardon my ignorance and presumption laid open towards

                                                       Your great Judgement and Knowledge


[1] See main text, Chapter 7, section headed ‘Henry Loosemore, Life and Family’.

[2] Quoted in J Wilson, ed., Roger North on Music, 1959, 4-5.

[3] Henry Loosemore proceeded Mus. B Cantab. in 1640.

[4] William Cranford, a 17th century singing man at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  He wrote many rounds and catches, as well as church music.

[5] John Jenkins (1592-1678), a leading English composer of ‘fancies’ for viols, who lived with Lord North’s family from 1660-c1666 and taught music to his children.

[6] This letter is our authority for accepting that Henry and George Loosemore were brothers.

[7] “Catlidge” was the name by which Kirtling Towers, seat of Lord North, was known in the North family.

[8] John Ward’s piece referred to in the Postscript was his four-part Fantasia in C.