We were delighted to play our part in the Induction service for the new Vicar of Romsey, the Reverend Tim Sledge, on Tuesday 22 April. Joined by the Girls’ Choir we led a very large congregation in some rousing hymns and prefaced the vows he took with the stirring setting by Vaughan Williams of verses by George Herbert, Let all the world in every corner sing.
On the following Sunday we gave Tim an equally rousing welcome to his first 10am Sung Eucharist, with the Gloria from Harold Darke’s Communion Service in A minor. At Evensong it was his turn to induct; he admitted Ben Teschner and Peter Newman as Choristers, also promoting Finlay Martin, Nathaniel Cooper and James Taylor as senior Choristers, and Henry O’Brien as Head Chorister.
Since it was Rogationtide, Evensong concluded with the Procession to the Fields. Drizzle held off just long enough for the blessing – before which the vicar, fully robed, vaulted over a gate into the chosen field – and a hymn, before we strode back to the Abbey as dusk fell.
On Thursday 1 May we joined in celebrating the Feast of the Ascension, making the most at the Sung Eucharist of the superb choral writing in Herbert Howells’ Collegium Regale communion setting to the full. Incense was also spread liberally around the Abbey.
Tim Sledge has certainly enjoyed a busy first ten days, experiencing the Abbey at its most dignified and, some might say, also at its most eccentric!