Henry Abyngdon

Henry Abyngdon was an English ecclesiastic and musician. He succeeded John Bernard as succentor of Wells on Nove 24, 1447, and held that post till his death on Sept 1, 1497, when he was succeeded by Robert Wydewe.

He was admitted a bachelor of music at Cambridge on Feb 22, 1463, this being the first musical degree recorded at any university. In addition to the succentorship at Wells, Abyngdon held the offic of ‘Master of the Song’ of the Chapel Royal in London, to which he was appointed in May 1465 at an annual salary of forty marks, confirmed to him by a subsequent Act of Parliament in 1473-74. He was also made Master of St. Catherine’s Hospital, Bristol, in 1478.

Two Latin epitaphs on Abyngdon by Sir Thomas More have been preserved, of which the English epitaph quoted by Rimbault from Stanyhurst is an adaptation. In these he himself is styled ‘nobilis’, and his office in London ‘cantor’, and he is said to have been pre-eminent both as a singer and organist;–

Millibus in mille cantor fuit optimus ille,
Praeter et haec ista fuit optimus orgaquenista.

More’s friendship is evidence of Abyngdon’s ability and goodness, but the acquaintance can only have been slight, as More was but seventeen when Abyngdon died. None of his works are known.