The Tudor Society

August 9 – Composer Nicholas Ludford

A photo of St Margaret's, Westminster, by Reinhold Möller.On this day in Tudor history, 9th August 1557, composer Nicholas Ludford was buried in St Margaret's Church, Westminster, in a vault with his first wife, Anne..

Ludford is known for his festal masses, which can be found in the Caius and Lambeth choirbooks (1521-27) and the Peterhouse partbooks (1539-40).

His biographer David Skinner described Ludford as "one of the last unsung geniuses of Tudor polyphony".

Here are some more facts about Nicholas Ludford:

  • He was born in c.1490, but little is known of is beginnings and background. He was renting lodgings from Westminster Abbey in 1517.
  • Ludford had joined the fraternity of St Nicholas, the London Guild of Parish Clerks, by 1521.
  • By the early 1520s, he was working at the royal collegiate chapel of St Mary and St Stephen in the Palace of Westminster.

  • In 1527, Ludford was appointed verger at the chapel.
  • In 1548, when the chapel was dissolved, Ludford received an annual pension.
  • In the early 1550s, he was a churchwarden of St Margaret's, Westminster.
  • In 1552, his first wife, Anne, was buried at St Margaret's, and he went on to marry Helen Thomas.
  • David Skinner notes that "His musical style owes much to his earlier contemporary Robert Fayrfax (1464–1521), who was instrumental in refining cyclic mass composition in England."
  • Ludford does not seem to have continued composing church music following the Reformation.

Here is a playlist of Nicholas Ludford's compositions:

Also on this day in Tudor history...

Image: A photo of St Margaret's, Westminster, by Reinhold Möller, Wikimedia Commons.

Notes and Sources

Leave a Reply

August 9 – Composer Nicholas Ludford