Panmure Ensemble Part Books

Location: GB-En

Reference: MSS 9455-7

Date: 1670 - 1680 [circa]

Size: Oblong octavo

Extent: 3 vols: 46 folios; 39 folios; 43 folios.


A set of three part books for two trebles and bass, consisting of French and English consort music. Along with the two Panmure violin manuscripts, these were probably written in the last quarter of the 17th century as part of the education of Harie and James Maule of Panmure, the two younger sons of George Maule, 2nd Earl of Panmure. These volumes are linked to the other Panmure and Newbattle violin manuscripts by the appearance of the Panmure scribe (described in more detail in the notes to Panmure violin MS 1).

The three part books remain in good condition, in what appears to be their original leather binding, with the words “Treble” and “Bassus” roughly etched onto the covers of MSS 9455 and (9457). Nevertheless, all three books have missing folios, with several pieces only recorded in one or two parts.

Stell lists the part books collectively as “Panmure Viol MS 2” but in fact no specific instrumentation is given, and the three parts could have been played by instruments of the violin or viol family, or given the range of interests of the Maule family, possibly a combination of both.

The part books are made up of two sections, the second reversed. The forward section begins on f. 1v in all three partbooks, consisting of English consort music, made up of sixteen untitled and unattributed pieces, and another group of 23 consort pieces (wrongly numbered up to 25), with some items attributed to [John] Jenkins and [Christopher] Simpson. McCart has identified most of these pieces: the latter group consists of three consort dances from John Jenkins’ “Newberry Airs”, along with 20 of Christopher Simpson’s 22 three part-airs for two trebles and bass. The remaining two pieces from Simpson’s set are numbers 15-16 in the first group of pieces, and seven remaining pieces are three-part arrangements of Simpson’s duos for treble and bass from his Principles of Practical Musick (1665). Three other pieces are thematically related to pieces by Simpson. Most of this section is copied by the “Panmure scribe”, including the opening 16 pieces, and the first 15 of the second group. Many of the remaining pieces are copied in an amateur hand, probably that of Harie Maule, whose signature also appears on the Bassus partbook (f. 1), and whose script also appears in another treble part book in the collection (MS 9453), and portions of Panmure Violin MS 1. At the end of the forward section in the Bassus part book there is also one short piece for two trebles written in score format, the script matching that of the ensemble pieces in Panmure Violin MS 2.

It is possible that the latter script and the other variety of hands belong in the reversed sections of the part books belonged to other members of the Maule family, as suggested by Stell. The reversed section consists of French dance music, including several concordances with the other manuscripts copied by the Panmure scribe.


McCart, The Kers and the Maules.

McCart, “The Panmure Manuscripts".

Stell, Sources, 150-3.

Links: NLS Catalogue

View this manuscript's tunes in the full tune index