Jenkins, John


English lutenist, in the service of Charles I. and Charles II.; believed to be the first instrumental composer in England. He was born in Maidstone, Kent, and died at Kimberley, Norfolk. He is best known for his numberless fancies for viols and for the organ. In 1660 Jenkins boldly published twelve sonatas for two violins and bass with a thorough-bass for organ or theorbo, at a time when the violin was considered by Englishmen a vulgar instrument. This work was reprinted in Amsterdam in 1664. In Playford's Musick's Handmaid, 1678, appeared Jenkin's Mitter Rant. The Fleece Tavern Rant and the Peterborough Rant were printed in Playford's Apollo's Banquet, 1690. Two years later his popular, The Lady Katherine Audley's Bells, or the Five Bell Concert, came out in Playford's Courtly Masquing Ayres. He wrote also anthems; ronds; and songs, many of which were printed by Smith in his Musica Antiqua, 1812. Many of his fancies are preserved in manuscript at Christ Church, Oxford.