Richard Farrant


Richard Farrant (ca. 1530 – 30 November 1580) was a composer of English church music, also a choirmaster, playwright and theatrical producer noted for creating the Blackfriars Theatre that hosted children’s companies.

Very little is known about him. He became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal in the reign of Edward VI, but resigned his post in 1564 on being appointed master of the children of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. In this capacity he presented a play before the queen at Shrovetide 1567, and again at Christmas of the same year, receiving on each occasion the sum of £6: 13: 4d. His plays, on classical themes, are all lost. In November 1569 he became Master of the Chapel Royal, holding this post concurrently with that at Windsor.

Few of Farrant’s compositions survive. The best known are a service and the anthems Call to remembrance and Hide not thou thy face. The anthem Lord, for thy tender mercies sake, often attributed to him, does not appear in any source under his name before the late 18th century and is now thought to be by the elder John Hilton. Other compositions attributed simply to “Farrant” in early sources may be by him or by one of two or more John Farrants, active in Salisbury in the late 16th and early 17th century.


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