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Richard Henman

Richard Henman was baptized at St Nicholas, Rochester, on 7 March 1669, the son of Richard Henman and his wife Sibelle.
He served as a chorister at Rochester Cathedral from the first term of 1680-81 until the third of 1681-2, and was thus a student of the Organist and Master of the Choristers, Daniel Henstridge (e1650-1736) Henman's disappearance from the Rochester scene at the age oh 11 is explained by a notice in the Chapter Acts: 'Agreed that the mother of one Henman now belonging to the Kings Chappel shall have a quarteridge due to her Sunn as a Chorister of this place [ye] att Michaelmas last'.
Clearly, John Blow, Master of the Choristers at the Chapel Royal, had descended on Daniel Henstridge and snatched his most promising chorister.
Records of the choirboys at the Chapel Royal are scarce, and all we know of Henman during his time there is that he was present at the coronation of James II on 23 April 1685 and that on 15 June 1692 a warrant went out 'for the allowance of, livery to Richard Henman, late child of the Chappell Royal], whose voice is changed. Well we might ask how 'late' a child of the chapel, since in 1692 Henman was 23! Clearly, as was often the case, the royal treasury was a bit behind - or, perhaps, Henmann was among the boys kept on at court by John Blow or Henry Gregory (who were paid quarterly 'for clothing, and educating two boys in the art of music') after their voices had changed.
By 22 September 1694 Richard Henman had begun a long and turbulent career as Organist and Master of the Choristers of Exeter Cathedral. He is at first found not up to snuff musically and exhorted to improve himself, and then for almost half century - until 27 June 2741, when he was removed from office 'for his long absence and disorderly life' - he was at loggerheads with his superiors.
Henman seems to have owned the MS that is now British Library Add. 24293, a collection of contemporary Latin motets and Italian secular works for solo voices and ensembles, with and without instrumental symphonies, by Henri Du Mont, G.B. Bassani, Pietro Reggio, Giovanni Rovetca and others. His signature is on the fronT flyleaf, and the volume is predominantly in his hand. A second scribe worked quite closely with Henman, finishing works he had begun and so forth. As such pieces were very popular at court, and not least during the reign of James II and Mary of Modena, it is quite probable that Henman and a chorister colleague compiled the book during the late 1680s for use there.

Extract:- The Musical Times August 1986

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