We with Merth Mowe Savely Synge: Henry V, Royal Musician
By Sonja Dass
MA Thesis, York University, Toronto, 2016
Abstract: King Henry V of England, his battle prowess aside, was a well-acclaimed musician and musical patron. Thus, this thesis first examines the role of music in defining the reign of Henry, through his patronage of the Chapel Royal and its various composers, and his founding of Syon Abbey in 1415.
Music was an essential component in defining the relationship between God and monarch, to which end, Henry both composed and promoted music. This royal creative, and political process is discernible in two extant Mass movements, which are preserved in the Old Hall Manuscript, and whose authorship is given as, “Roy Henry.” Earlier scholarly consensus identified “Roy Henry” as King Henry IV; current views suggest his son, Henry V.
This thesis aligns “Roy Henry” with Henry V, by way of comparative and stylistic analysis of the two Mass movements within the context of fifteenth-‐century English sacred music, Henry’s own reputation as an able musician, and through visual evidence in the manuscript. This analysis leads to only one conclusion – that Henry V is the ”Roy Henry” of the Old Hall Manuscript.