Roger North

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North, Roger

North, Roger, English lawyer and writer on music; b. probably in Tostock, Suffolk, c. 1651; d. Rougham, March 1, 1734. He was a member of Parliament, and served as Queen’s Attorney General under James II until the Revolution of 1688. His writings were not publ. during his lifetime and have only recently been recognized as significant contributions to music. See J. Wilson, ed., Roger North on Music: Being a Selection from His Essays Written during the Years c. 1695–1728 (London, 1959), M. Chan and J. Kassler, eds., Roger North’s Cursory Notes of Musicke (c. 1698-c. 1703): A Physical, Psychological and Critical Theory (Kensington, N.S.W., 1986), idem and J. Hine, Roger North’s Writings on Music to c. 1703: A Set of Analytical Indexes (Kensington, N.S.W., 1986), and idem, Roger North’s The Musical Grammarian and Theory of Sounds (Kensington, N.S.W., 1988).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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North, Roger (c.1653–1734). Aristocratic English amateur architect, he played an important role in negotiations with Barbon for the rebuilding of The Temple, London, after the fire of 1678/9. He designed the Great Gateway from Fleet Street to The Temple (1683–4), and was responsible for a number of other competent Classical designs, including alterations to Wroxton Abbey, Oxon. (1680–5), and to a house at Rougham, Norfolk (1690s—destroyed). An essay, entitled ‘Of Building’ by him survives in the British Library.


BL Add. MSS 23005, 32510, 32540;
Colvin (1995);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

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North, Roger (b ?Tostock, Suffolk, c. 1651; d Rougham, Norfolk, 1734). Eng. author, lawyer, and musician. M. P. and Attorney-Gen. under James II but in 1688 retired to country life at Rougham. Wrote many essays on mus. His reminiscences span from the time of consorts of viols heard in his boyhood to Purcell and the It. ‘invasion’ of early 18th cent. They are specially valuable for their detailed discussion of performing practice in his lifetime.

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Roger North, 1653–1734, English biographer. A lawyer, he wrote excellent biographies of his brothers: Francis North, Lord Guilford, Keeper of the Great Seal (1742); Dudley North, a merchant (1744); and John North, master of Trinity College, Cambridge (1744). He is also noted for his Autobiography (1887).

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