Monday, January 1, 8485

Hugh Aston (c. 1485-1558) -Lady Carey's Dompe

[Mary Carey, nee Boleyn]

Hugh Aston (1485-1558) - My Lady Carey's Dompe (c. 1525)

Hugh Aston (c. 1485 – buried November 17, 1558) was an English composer of the early Tudor period. While little of his music survives, he is notable for his innovative keyboard writing.

Few details of his life are certain. In 1510 he attempted to obtain the degree of BMus at Oxford University by submitting a mass and an antiphon; it is not certain if the degree was granted. Between 1510 and 1525 he may have lived in London, and may have had some association with the court of Henry VIII. Most likely he was chorus master at St. Mary Newarke Hospital and College in Leicester between 1525 and 1548. He was an applicant for the position of chorus master at Cardinal Wolsey's new Cardinal College, but Wolsey chose John Taverner instead. His exact date of death is not known, but he was buried on 17 November 1558 in Leicester, at St. Margaret's parish. Additional records show that a pension was paid to him up until that date.

Four sacred vocal compositions by Aston survive complete:

Missa Te Deum (five voices)
Missa Videte manus meas (six voices)
Gaude mater matris Christe (five voices)
Te Deum laudamus (five voices)

Other compositions survive in fragments.

In addition, he wrote keyboard music, most of which shows an unusually progressive use of idiomatic keyboard technique. Some famous pieces have been attributed to him on stylistic grounds, including the often-recorded and anthologized My Lady Careys Dompe. His Hornepype is also cited as an example of early idiomatic keyboard writing.


Mary Boleyn (c. 1499–July 19, 1543), was a member of the famous Boleyn family, who enjoyed considerable influence during the reign of Henry VIII. Mary was the sister of Queen Anne Boleyn; some historians claim that she was the younger sister, but her children believed Mary was the elder sister, as do most historians today.

Mary was one of the mistresses of King Henry VIII of England and also, allegedly, of his rival, King Francis I of France. She married twice.

Mary was born at Blickling Hall, Norfolk and grew up around their residence in Hever Castle, Kent. She was the daughter of a wealthy diplomat, Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard. There is no concrete evidence of her exact date of birth, but it was clearly sometime between 1499 and 1508. Most historians now favour an earlier date of about 1499.

There is firm documentary evidence to suggest that she was also the eldest of the three Boleyn children. The evidence suggests that the surviving Boleyns believed Mary to have been the eldest child; in 1597, her grandson -- Lord Hunsdon -- claimed the title of “earl of Ormonde” on the grounds that he was the Boleyns’ legitimate heir. According to the strict rules of aristocratic inheritance, if Anne had been the elder sister, the title would have belonged to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth -- since a title descended through the eldest female line in the absence of a surviving male line.

It was once believed that it was Mary who started her education abroad and spent time as a companion to Archduchess Margaret of Austria but it is now clear that it was her younger sister, Anne. Mary was kept in England for most of her childhood.

It was not until 1514, when she was between the ages of 12 and 15, that she was sent abroad. Her father secured her a place as maid-of-honour to the King’s sister, Princess Mary Tudor, who was going to Paris to marry King Louis XII of France. After a few weeks, many of the Queen's English maids were ordered to leave but Mary Boleyn was permitted to remain, probably because of her father's connections as the new English ambassador. Even when Mary Tudor left France after her husband’s death on January 1, 1515, Mary Boleyn stayed in the court of the new king and queen, Francis I of France and Claude of France.

Mary was joined in Paris by her father, Sir Thomas, and her sister, Anne, who had been studying in the Netherlands for the last year. Mary supposedly embarked on several affairs, perhaps including one with King Francis I himself. Some historians believe that the reports of her sexual escapades are greatly exaggerated.

She returned to England in 1519. She was given the position of maid-of-honor to the queen of England, Catherine of Aragon.

Soon after her return to England, Mary was married to Sir William Carey, a wealthy and well-connected courtier, on February 4, 1520. Henry VIII was a guest at the couple's wedding ceremony. At some point, Henry VIII and Mary began an affair, although the timing is unclear. The affair was never publicized, and Mary never enjoyed the kind of fame, wealth and power that acknowledged mistresses in France and other countries sometimes had.

The affair is believed to have ended prior to the birth of Mary's child, Henry Carey, in March 1526.

During the affair or sometime after it ended, it was rumoured that one or both of Mary's children were fathered by the King. One witness noted that Mary's son, Henry Carey, bore a resemblance to Henry VIII. John Hale, vicar of Isleworth, some ten years after the child was born, remarked that he had met a "young Master Carey"' who was the king's bastard. No other contemporary evidence exists to support the argument that Henry was the king’s biological son.

Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had previously been married to Henry's late brother Arthur. Henry later used that fact as the justification for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine, on the grounds that her marriage to Arthur (assuming it involved sexual relations) created an affinity between Henry and Catherine. When Mary Boleyn became Henry's mistress, a similar affinity existed between Henry and Anne. According to canon law, because Mary had been Henry's mistress, the subsequent marriage of Henry to Mary's sister was just as illegal as Henry's to Catherine of Aragon. If Henry was aware of this, he did not let it stand in the way of his marriage to Anne.

Mary's sister, Anne Boleyn, returned to England in 1522, achieving considerable popularity at court. The sisters were not particularly close and Anne moved in different social circles.

Although Mary was alleged to have been more attractive than her sister, Anne seems to have been more ambitious. When the King took an interest in her, she refused to become his mistress, being shrewd enough not to give in to his sexual advances for fear he would lose interest.

By the middle of 1527, Henry was determined to marry her. This gave him further incentive to seek to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

A year later, when Mary's husband died during an outbreak of sweating sickness, Henry VIII granted Anne Boleyn the wardship of her nephew, Henry Carey. Mary's husband had left her with considerable debts. Anne arranged for Henry Carey to be educated at a respectable Cistercian monastery. Anne interceded to secure Mary a small annual pension of £100.

When Anne went to Calais with Henry VIII on a state visit in 1532, Mary was one of her companions. Anne was crowned Queen on June 1, 1533 and gave birth to her first daughter (who would later become Queen Elizabeth I) that autumn. In 1534, Mary secretly married William Stafford. Because Stafford was a commoner with a small income, most historians believe their union to have been a love match. When the marriage was discovered, Mary's family disowned her for marrying beneath her station and the couple were banished from the Court.

Her financial circumstances became so desperate that Mary was reduced to begging the King’s adviser Thomas Cromwell to speak to Henry and Anne on her behalf. Henry, however, was indifferent to her plight. So, Mary asked Cromwell to speak to her father, her uncle, and her brother, but to no avail. It was Anne who relented first. She sent Mary a magnificent golden cup and some money, but she still refused to receive her back at court. This partial reconciliation was the closest the two sisters came, since they did not meet between 1534 and Anne's death in 1536.

Mary's life between 1534 and her sister's execution on May 19, 1536, is difficult to trace. There is no record of her visiting her parents, nor did she visit her sister Anne or her brother George Boleyn when the latter was imprisoned in the Tower of London. There is also no evidence that she wrote to them. Like their uncle, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, she may have thought it wise to avoid association with her now-disgraced relatives.

Mary and her husband remained outcasts living in retirement at Rochford in Essex. After Anne’s execution, their mother retired from the royal court, dying in seclusion just over a year after the executions. Sir Thomas died the following year. After her parents' death, Mary inherited some of the Boleyn properties in Essex. She seems to have lived out the rest of her days in anonymity and relative comfort with her second husband. She died in her early 40's, on July 19, 1543.

Her marriage to Sir William Carey (1495 – June 22, 1528) resulted in the birth of two children:

Catherine Carey (c. 1524 – 15 January 1568). Maid-of-Honour to Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard. She was married to the Puritan, Sir Francis Knollys, Knight of the Garter. She was later Chief Lady of the Bedchamber to her cousin, Elizabeth I. One of her daughters, Lettice Knollys, became the second wife of Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, the favourite of Elizabeth I.

Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon (March 4, 1526 – July 23, 1596). He was ennobled by Queen Elizabeth I just after her coronation and later made a Knight of the Garter. When he was dying, Elizabeth offered Henry the Boleyn family title of Earl of Ormonde, which he had long sought. He refused the honour.

Her marriage to William Stafford (d. May 5, 1556) resulted in the birth of a son, Edward, who is thought to have been born in 1535 and to have died in 1545. There may also have been a daughter, named Anne.

Mary Boleyn is a distant ancestor of many notables including Winston Churchill, P G Wodehouse, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Diana, Princess of Wales, Sarah, Duchess of York, and Charles Darwin.

Her titles:

Mistress Mary Boleyn (1499-1520)

Lady Carey (1520-1525)

Lady Carey; The Hon. Mary Carey (1525-1529)

Lady Carey; Lady Mary Carey (1529-1532)

Lady Mary Stafford (1532-1543)

Mary Boleyn became Lady Carey upon her marriage to Sir William Carey in 1520. She then became The Hon. Mary Carey when her father became Viscount Rochford in 1525; and Lady Mary Carey when her father was further promoted to the title of Earl of Wiltshire.


There are three extant keyboard dompes (sometimes spelled dump), the most famous being My Lady Carey's Dompe (c. 1525), roughly the time of Henry VIII (1491-1547). Its harmonies are chiefly alternating tonic-dominant.

The Oxford English Dictionary notes that dompe is an "obscure variant" of dump. A dump, also variously doompe, dumpe, and damp (this form appearing in English about 1480, probably of Norse origins), appears in written form in the early 16th century. Several English sources imply a "bemusement/musing" and others a melancholy state while doing same. A 1530 work references falling into "a dump, musying on thyngs."

In Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen from Verona (1592), there is mention of instruments playing "a deploring dump."

In Romeo and Juliet (1594-95), he mentions "doleful dumps" and "merry dumps": a contradiction, an indication of another meaning, or (as Percy Scholes states in his Oxford Companion to Music) "one of Shakespeare's 'little jokes.'"

A 1610 reference calls a dump a funeral song and associates certain instruments to it.

Bolstering the idea of melancholy/sadness/grieving is the semi-cognate duma, a Ukrainian word, which, not surprisingly, given the sorrowful character of much Slavic music, means a "meditation" or a "brooding." (Its diminutive form is dumka and plural dumky)

"In south-western England, many early (Neolithic to Celtic Iron Age) chambered tombs are known as "[X's] Tump." Tump is pretty definitely a dialectal form of tomb. Dump may well originate from a conflation of this word with the dunroot found in dune and in many Celtic names denoting an ancient hilltop fort. Probably dump denoted tomb before coming to mean either: (a) a refuse or waste tip; or (b), as in the doleful dumps: a sad or depressed mood.

The French tombeau refers to the same genre, a short lament for the dead. Most French musical tombeaux -- e.g ., Marin Marais's Tombeau de M de Ste-Colombe, Robert de Visée's Tombeau de Mlles. de Visée, and Maurice Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin -- are later than the Tudor English dumps, but they may have had a long pre-history. Certainly English dumps continue into the 17th Century, overlapping in time with their French counterparts.


Oxford is a city, and the county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. It has a population of 134,248 (2001 census). The River Thames runs through Oxford, where for a distance of some 10 miles (16 km) it is known as The Isis.

Oxford is home to the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Buildings in Oxford reflect every English architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the mid-18th century Radcliffe Camera, the hub of the city. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings.


Alberti bass is a particular kind of accompaniment named after Domenico Alberti (1710-1740), who used it extensively, although he was hardly the first to use it.

Alberti bass is a kind of broken chord or arpeggiated accompaniment, where the notes of the chord are presented in the order lowest, highest, middle, highest. This pattern is then repeated.
Alberti bass is usually found in the left hand of pieces for keyboard instruments, especially for Mozart's piano pieces, including the first movement of the Piano Sonata, K 545. Béla Bartók uses such figures strikingly towards the end of his String Quartet No. 5.

[8490 Festa / 8485 Aston / 8483 Luther]