A New Set of Psalm Tunes and Anthems (William Bennett)
Description of contents and details of publication
William Bennett's book A New Set of Psalm Tunes and Anthems, In Four Parts, For the Use of Country Choirs consists of seventeen metrical psalm tunes (with texts from the New Version), two set-pieces, eleven anthems and four through-composed settings of liturgical prose texts (the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis, and two sections of the BCP communion service). The seventeen psalm tunes are at the front of the book, in numerical order, and the Hymn Tune Index does not cite any of them as having been published in known pre-1820 sources other than this collection.
The imprint on the title page reads 'EXETER: Printed for the Author, and sold by Edward Score, Bookseller, and James Wallis, in Plymouth'. Below this is a line 'EXETER: Printed by R. TREWMAN, behind the Guildhall'. A note on page iv at the end of the typeset preface, before the start of the engraved music, reads 'Newton-Abbot, Printed by J. Weatherdon'. The positioning of these two imprints suggests that the typeset material was printed by Weatherdon at Newton Abbot and the engraved material by Trewman at Exeter. No location is given in the book for Bennett himself, but other evidence links him to Combeinteignhead, and the dedication of the book indicates his background composing music for choirs in the areas of southern Devon in which many of his subscribers resided:
'To the worthy and respectable
The SUBSCRIBERS, the following PIECES of MUSIC, Some of which were at first composed For the Use of the Parochial Choirs In their neighbourhood, And now at their Request made Public, are, With all Gratitude, INSCRIBED, By their devoted and most obedient Servant,
This dedication is followed by a list of 2 pages of subscribers, largely from Teignbridge, the South Hams, and Torbay. The subscribing choirs are from Ashburton (four copies), Berry Pomeroy, Ilsington, and West Chinnock (in Somerset).
A New Set of Psalm Tunes and Anthems is not dated, but a publication date of around 1770 appears likely. The Hymn Tune Index gives a latest possible date of publication of 1782, on the basis of the ownership inscription of Nicholas Still Bulley, dated 'April 1st 1782' on the back of the title page of the copy in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Some evidence of dating is provided by the list of subscribers, which includes ‘The Rev. Samuel Cholwich, D.D., Preb. of Exeter’. Samuel Cholwich was a prebendary of Exeter from 8 August 1758 until his death in 1775. This suggests that the publication of the book was during, or at least not long after, this period. A manuscript book from Ashburton (Devon Heritage Centre, reference 2141A/PZ3) includes three of the anthems from A New Set of Psalm Tunes and Anthems, one of which, The Lord is in his holy temple, is dated 1771.
Publication date and place: c. 1770 by R. Trewman in Exeter
List of works
- Hymn Tune Index details for source BennWNS