William Mundy

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Disambig colour.svg "Mundy" redirects here. You may be looking for John Mundy. See also the disambiguation page for Mundy.

Aliases: William Monday; William Mondaye; William Mondie; William Mondy; William Mondye; William Moonday; William Munday; William Mundaye; William Mundey; William Mundi; William Mundie; William Mundy; William Mundye; William Mundaie


Born: c. 1529, birth believed to have been in London

Died: 1591

Biography Highly regarded Renaissance composer, whose long career allowed his music to bridge the Reformation, the Edwardian, Marian and Elizabethan periods. His older contemporaries (e.g. Sheppard, Tallis, Taverner, Tye) were more firmly grounded in older styles, while younger contemporaries (Byrd, Morley, Gibbons, Tompkins) missed the pre-Reformation period. His nearest contemporaries (Parsons and White) died young and thus did not have opportunity to develop through the variety of periods that Mundy was able to span.


  • Father: Thomas Mundy, b. ~1505, sexton of London's St. Mary-at-Hill church, and a musician.
  • Wife: Mary Alcock
  • Children: Son John (b. ~1555), an organist and also a composer--there is some ambiguity when works are attributed to Mundy without specifying which one. Son Stephen (b. ~1556), a gentleman of the Royal Household under James I and Charles I.


  • 1543: First known record. Listed at top of list of Westminster Abbey choristers, believed to be head chorister.
  • 1547: appointed to St. Martin's, Ludgate Hill.
  • 1548-58: parish clerk at his father's church, which included musical responsibilities. The parish had ties to the Chapel Royal; sometimes Chapel Royal choristers supplemented the parish choir. Accounts indicate that William expanded that relationship.
  • 1559: take job as Vicar-choral and bass singer at St. Paul's Cathedral
  • 1563-4: sworn into Chapel Royal
  • 1591: October 12 entry states that Anthony Anderson was sworn in that day in "Mr. Mundaies" room, and this is believed to indicate that William had died recently.

Contemporary regard:

  • 1588: John Case bemoans recognition to current British composers, and lists William along with Blitheman, Bull, Byrd, Dowland, Johnson, Morley, Taverner, Tallis.
  • 1597: Thomas Morley lists him among eminent Tudor musicians, along with Byrd, Fayrfax, Parsons, Sheppard, Taverner and White.
  • Robert Dow wrote a poem that describes Byrd as the sun and William as the moon that follows right after, a pun on Mundy's name - moon day = lunae dies i.e. Monday:


‘Ut lucem solis sequitur lux proximae lunae
sic tu post Birdum Munde secunde venis';
As the light of the next moon follows the light of the sun,
thus you Mundy come second after Byrd'.


  • His earliest known works are in the Gyffard Partbooks: two 4-part masses ("on the square"), two Alleluias Post partem and Per te Dei, Kyrie Orbis factor, alternatim Magnificant 2nd tone. He also collaborated on In exitu Israel with Sheppard and Birde (now believed to be Thomas Birde from the Chapel Royal).

View the Wikipedia article on William Mundy.

List of choral works

Sacred works

in Latin

in English

Secular works

No works currently available

Works not on CPDL

Works in Latin

Works in English

  • Ah! helpless wretch
  • Bow down Thine ear
  • Evening Service in C Fa Ut (in English) (3vv)
  • Increase my joy
  • Let us now laud and magnify
  • My song shall be
  • O give thanks
  • O Lord, our Governor
  • O Lord, the world's savior
  • The secret sins
  • Sing joyfully

Other uncategorized pieces

(possibly synonyms, or language unknown, or instrumental, or questionably attributed to Mundy)


For editions of Mundy's instrumental works, see Musica Britannica 44: "Elizabethan Consort Music: I"

  • Fantasia a 5 for instruments
  • Two In Nomine settings a 5 ascribed ambiguously to "Mundy", but thought to be by William
  • In aeternum: textless and possibly instrumental, but reconstructed into a vocal piece in William Mundy: Latin Antiphons and Psalms, ed. Frank Ll. Harrison (Early English Church Music)
  • Tres partes in una (An arrangement for keyboard in the Mulliner Book of Mundy's motet "Exsurge Christe").
  • O admirabile (text missing or instrumental)
  • Sermone blando a 5 (instrumental. Ascribed to "Mundy" and considered to be by William.)
  • O mater mundi a 5 (instrumental. Ascribed to "Mundy" and considered to be by William.)


External links