The Lawes brothers occupy an important position in English music between Byrd and Gibbons and the generation of Matthew Locke and Henry Purcell in the later part of the 17th century. William Lawes, a loyal follower of King Charles I, was killed at the battle of Chester in 1645. Henry Lawes survived the civil war and the subsequentCommonwealth of Oliver Cromwell to be reinstated as a member of the King's Musick and the Chapel Royal on the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
Both Henry and William Lawes wrote sacred vocal music, Henry providing psalm settings and anthems and William a series of sacred songs and canons.
Secular Vocal Music
The Lawes brothers both won distinction as song composers, Henry with a vast quantity of songs and William with settings of verses by many of the leading poets and dramatists of the time.
William Lawes enjoyed the greatest success as a composer of instrumental music, with compositions for the keyboard, and, more especially, with consort music for viols, with lute and organ, including a number of dance movements.