On 4th April 1668 Samuel Pepys ordered a spinet from Charles Haward of Aldgate Street London who was a leading harpsichord maker from 1660-1680’s and on 15thJune, Pepys visited Marlborough and after supper heard music which pleased him.  Could he have heard it in Mr Thomas Bayly’s house?
For 20 years we have promoted the Merchant’s House as a venue for the performance of early music and as a result International Performers and Local Professionals have presented many programmes which have been enjoyed by discerning audiences.  In recent years these have included performances by Rosa Mundi (Soprano, Lute and Theorbo), Sharon Lindo and Katherine May (Violins and Spinet), Ariadne Blyth, Vincent Lindsey-Clark and Stephen Taylor (Spinet, Guitar and Counter-Tenor).  A fascinating lecture/concert was given by Joe Skeaping on the Lira da Braccio, an extinct renaissance instrument which Joe had reconstructed from paintings and drawings.  All our performers remark on the excellence of the acoustics in the Panelled Room and on the warm welcome they receive.  One of our Patrons is Jeanne Dolmetsch who with her sister Marguerite supports the project by giving frequent recitals.

We also provide a platform for serious young singers and instrumentalists who have returned at a later date as professional performers.  In this we are supported regularly by the JPT Trust Concert Choir of Swindon.

Whilst refurbishing the MH we have welcomed thousands of visitors and our welcome has often included 17th century domestic music making.
Over the years the Trust’s music programme has not only provided much pleasure to our audiences but has also helped to raise the money required to purchase a Spinet for the House which is used regularly.  This was made by John Morley in 1958, being based on a 17th century design as made by Joseph Mahoon  (pronounced and sometimes written Moon) who  later became  harpsichord maker to George 1st  in  1729.  One of the foremost harpsichord players in the country, Dr Gerald Gifford, who has supported us for a number of years, gave an inaugural recital on the Spinet in 2008.
Concerts are announced via the Events page and tickets may be purchased from the Trust Office.

Singers and Musicians who would like to perform at the MH should contact:

the office on 01672 511491