home page

the group

the people

the music

the instruments




resources for promoters

what happened in 1685

contact us



Sixteen Eighty Five ~ music from the baroque ... and before

All sorts of things were going on in 1685

Here are a few.

John Gay - writer of “The Beggars’ Opera”, was born.

Samuel Pepys, then aged 52, was elected MP for Hawich and helped carry the canopy at the coronation of James II. Pepys was an amateur musician who played, among other instruments, the recorder.

Sir Isaac Newton was aged 43, and was halfway through the writing of his ‘Principia’, one of the most influential treatise ever on mathematics and physics.

Ignazio Albertini (composer and violinist) was murdered on 22 September.

The fourth Folio Edition of Shakespeare’s work is printed, including six plays believed to be by others.

Stradivarius (1644 - 1737) was building his renowned violins.

Alice Molland was hanged for witchcraft (some reports say 1684). She was the last person in England to be executed for witchcraft.

Oh yes!, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Frideric Handel and Domenico Scarlatti were born.

Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to design and build an observatory and naval college in Greenwich.

Marin Marais, composer and viol player, joined the French Royal Orchestra.

The head of Oliver Cromwell was removed from its spike above Westminster Hall, where it had resided since 1661.

Recorder maker Peter Bressan was born in France. He worked mainly in London, where he made some of the most prized instruments. He is regarded by many as being the ‘father’ of English recorder making.

The Duke of Monmouth was executed by England’s worst executioner – Jack Ketch. Ketch needed at least eight strokes to remove the Duke’s head. (Inspiration for J K Rowlings’ nearly headless Nick?).