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Grene growth the holy (Henry VIII, 1491–1547)

Grene growth the holy (Henry VIII, 1491–1547)

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Edition of the refrain to sing along:
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Facsimile of the refrain to sing along:
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«Grene growth the holy»

Henry VIII (1491–1547)

(Verses: Music taken from Henry VIII Ms, fol. 51v-52r)


From «Happy birthday, Henry!» 27.06.21

In the Barfüsserkirche, Basel Historical Museum

Grace Newcombe – Voice

Tessa Roos – Voice

Emma-Lisa Roux – Lute, Voice

Claire Piganiol – Recorder

Tabea Schwartz – Recorder

Elizabeth Rumsey – Recorder


Musical director: Tabea Schwartz

Live concert recording: Oren Kirschenbaum

Moderation: Grace Newcombe and Marc Lewon

The 3-voice refrain to the Carol «Grene growth the holy». London, British Library Add. MS 31922, fol. 37v 

Grene growth the holy,
So doth the ivye,
Thow wynters blastys blow never so hye,
Grene growth the holy.

As the holy grouth grene, and never chaungyth hew,
So I am ever hath bene, unto my lady trew.
Grene growth …

A the holy grouth grene, with ive all alone,
When flowerys cannot be sene, and grene wode                                                                levys be  gone.
Grene growth ...

Now unto my lady, promise to her I make,
Frome all other only to her, I me be take.
Grene growth ...

Adew myne owne lady, Adew my specyall,
Who hath my hart trewly be suere and ever shall.
Grene growth ...

« Happy Birthday, Henry! »
Royal music for his 530th birthday

London, 27th June 1521: It is the eve of the 30th birthday of the English King Henry VIII. 500 years later, ReRenaissance presents a snapshot of music from Henry's circle that has survived in the manuscript of the British Library Add. 31922, including pieces attributed to «Kynge H. VIII».


These are, in a sense, utopian sounds that emerged when Henry, as an educated humanist, took an interest in the arts, made music himself and placed his trust in diplomats such as Thomas More.

Reprinted in Basel in 1518, More's book about the imaginary island of «Utopia» engages in a dialogue about an ideal society, but does not yet foreshadow anything of Henry’s later rejection.


This concert thus provides an insight into the landscape of sound at the royal court before even his first marital crisis:
six musicians wish «Happy Birthday, Henry!»

We look forward to your comments, whether they be on Youtube or Facebook/Instagram,  or via .

The Video will be released each day at 17:15, with optional English subtitles.

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03 HMB _Wilde Leute auf der Hirschjagd, Wandbehang, Basel c1468_AK © Peter Portner.jpg

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