William Byrd (c.1540-1623)
William Byrd is arguably the finest English composer of the late 16th century. His first known employment was as Organist of Lincoln Cathedral and then, in 1572, he was made a Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal on the death of Robert Parsons. He was fined for Recusancy (refusal to attend Anglican services) on multiple occasions and some of his Latin-texted motets can be interpreted as coded messages to Recusant communities. Despite this, he also wrote a great deal of sacred music in English for the new Anglican Church as well as secular and instrumental music.