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Richard Dering (c.1580–1630)

the illegitimate son of Henry Dering of Liss in Hampshire, was an English composer who, on 26th April 1610, successfully supplicated for the degree of Bachelor of Music at Oxford. It was most probably only a year or two later, whilst travelling in Italy, that he converted to Catholicism. By 1617 he was serving as organist to the English Benedictine nuns of the Convent of Our Lady of the Assumption in Brussels.

In 1625 Dering returned to England, quite possibly in the train of Henrietta Maria (who arrived in June of that year), and six months later, on 22nd December, he is listed among the ‘lutes, viols and voices’ at the English court.

When Giles Tomkins succeeded him in 1630, this post was described more specifically as being ‘for the virginals with the voices in ordinary’. He also acted as organist to Queen Henrietta Maria, and in a warrant dated 23rd October 1626, Dering is named as one of eleven musicians who had served the queen from the previous Lady Day (25th March). His salary for this position was £120 per annum (three times the normal pay of one of the King’s musicians), and this was presumably in addition to the £40 a year he had by virtue of his other royal appointment (already mentioned). Dering died in March 1630. He was buried in the church of St Mary-in-Savoy, and was immediately succeeded as queen’s organist by Richard Mico.

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