John Sheppard

Birth / Death Dates
c. 1515 - 1558

An English composer of the Renaissance. Sheppard's birth date can be placed in the second decade of the 16th century, based on his claims of composing in 1534. Otherwise, little is known about Sheppard in the years preceding his presence in Magdalen College, Oxford. It is here that he attended Michaelmas in 1543 as Informator choristarum. Sheppard is in the list of the Chapel Royal Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1552; he may have entered this position directly after his departure from Magdalen, but because of the gap in Chapel Royal records from 1547, this is not certain. He presumably remained active at the chapel up to the year of his death; on New Year's Day 1556 he presented a roll of songs to Mary Tudor. In 1554 he supplicated, apparently unsuccessfully, for the degree of Doctor of Music at Oxford University, stating that he had studied music for 20 years and had "composed many songs". Sheppard's death in December 1558 is marked by the making of his will on 1 December and by his burial on 21 December.