The structure of wills and their consistent provision for only one chantry priest strongly suggests that testators were not excessively concerned with the benefaction of polyphony at St Mary's, or indeed anywhere else if one considers the formulaic similarity of pre-Reformation wills.
On the other hand it can be asked whether specific requests for a musical chantry priest were in fact conscious attempts to provide additional singers for a polyphonic choir.
Attention must also be drawn to the hitherto unnoticed musical contributions of Sir Richard Ede, a chantry priest hired by the church from 1509 to 1512 to sing for the soul of Henry Abingdon, another musician resident for part of his life in Westminster.
The building probably also accommodated secular chantry priests, and incorporates remnants of the original 13th century stone undercroft beneath an early 16th century jettled, timber-framed upper floor; ABOVE: Maison Dieu, 1941.
Since the limited number of benefices -- permanent positions as rector or vicar of a parish -- could not provide employment for so many clergy, most never received a benefice, serving instead as curates (assistant clergy who received a minimal stipend rather than the right to collect tithes), schoolmasters, or chantry priests.
Consequently she argues that the parish clergy from the unusually well educated rectors and vicars, the myriad chantry priests and the unbeneficed stipendiary priests formed a homogeneous body of secular clergy which lived harmoniously with the Augustinian canons of St Augustine's abbey, the Benedictines of St James's priory and the friars of the four town convents.