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Licence Granted by Elizabeth I to Tallis and Byrd in 1575

July 16, 2012
Thomas Tallis


Elizabeth by the grace of God, Quene of Englande Fraunce and Ireland

To all printers bokesellers and other officers ministers and subjects greeting.  Knowe ye, that we for the especiall affection and good wil that we have and beare to the science of Musicke and for the advancement thereof, by our letters patent dated the xxii of January, in the xvii yere of our raigne have graunted ful priveledge and licence vnto our wel-beloved servaunts Thomas Tallis and William Birde two of the Gentlemen of our Chappell, and to the overlyver of them, and to the assignees of them and over the surviver of them for xxi yeares next ensuing, to imprint any and so many as they will of set songe or songes in partes, either in English, Latine, Frenche, Italian or other tongues that may serve for musicke either in Churche or chamber, or otherwise to be either plaid or soonge, And that they may rule and cause to be ruled by impression any paper to serve for printing or pricking of any songe or songes, and may sell and utter any printed bokes or papers of any song or songes, or any bookes or quieres of such ruled paper imprinted.  Also we straightly by the same forbid all printers booksellers subjects and strangers, other then is aforesaid to doe any the premisses, or to bring or cause to be brought out of any forren Realmes into any our dominions any songe or songes made and printed in any forren countrie, to sell or put to sale, uppon paine of our high displeasure, And the offender in any of the premisses for every time to forfet to us our heires and successors fortie shillinges, and to the said Thomas Tallis and William Birde or to their assignes and to the assignes of the survivor of them, all and evrie the said bokes papers song or songes,  We have also by the same willed and commanded our printers maisters and wardens of the misterie of Stacioners, to assist the said Thomas Tallis and William Birde and their assignes for the dewe executing of the premisses.


Fellowes, Edmund H., William Byrd A Short Account of his Life and Work, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1923, Appendix A, pp.118-119. 

After the capitalised title there is the following reference:

Rot. Pat. 17 Elizabeth, pars 7, m.2.

Image of Thomas Tallis courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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