Lawes, William


An elder brother of Henry, and, like him, a pupil of Coperario. The expense of his instruction was borne by the Earl of Hertford. A member of the choir of Chichester Cathedral, he was appointed gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1602, and later became chamber-musician to Charles I. With Simon Ives he composed, in 1633, the music for Shirley's Triumph of Peace. At the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the Royalist Army, and though made a commissary to keep him out of danger, he was killed by a stray bullet at the siege of Chester. He was beloved by the King, who mourned his death, calling him the Father of Musick. William Lawes held a distinguished position among the musicians of his day, but scarcely any of his works were published during his lifetime. In his brother Henry's edition of choice Psalmes, in 1648, a large portion belongs to him. The preface states that this portion is but a small part of what he had composed.