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Thomas Sternhold

c.1500-1549. Versifier of Psalms. Educated at Cardinal College (Christ Church), Oxford, he became groom of the robes to Henry VIII, who left him a bequest of one hundred marks, and to Edward VI. He was a member of Parliament for Plymouth from 1545 to 1547. He composed metrical versions of the Psalms “for his own godly solace”-the precursor of the English Psalter. The first edition of nineteen Psalms appeared in 1547, dedicated to Edward VI, and a second edition of thirty- seven posthumously in 1549. In 1557 a third edition with seven further Psalms by John Hopkins, a Suffolk clergyman (d.1570), became well known as the “Sternhold and Hopkins” collection. Sternhold used mainly the ballad meter of “Chevy Chace,” which helped to popularize psalm-singing in Elizabethan times.

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