At the end of August, we enjoyed a very successful visit to Gloucester Cathedral, singing Choral Evensong on Bank Holiday Monday and the two subsequent afternoons. Two of them were attended by the Bishop of Gloucester, whilst the Vicar joined us on the Tuesday.
Our musical offering included anthems by former organists of Romsey Abbey and of Gloucester Cathedral, respectively: Charles Tryhorn’s unaccompanied setting of a verse from Psalm 119, Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy commandments and Herbert Sumsion’s dramatic They that go down to the sea in ships, which draws on Psalm 107. We were told afterwards that the latter had not been sung at the cathedral for some years.
Our final anthem was John Joubert’s O Lorde, the maker of al thing, a setting of words by Henry VIII that builds gradually from nothing to a towering climax with full organ before fading right away. Singing quietly yet sensitively, both in this and the psalms each day, was something that we enjoyed in the cathedral’s glorious acoustic.
We stayed at the Wild Goose Lodge, near Slimbridge, to the south of Gloucester. The famous wildfowl sanctuary founded by Sir Peter Scott was an obvious destination for our first excursion; we thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the different breeds of duck, geese and flamingos that lived there. The next day, we visited Berkeley Castle, where in the Fourteenth Century, Edward II met a gruesome end. Its butterfly house, however, presented an enchanting diversion. We spent our final morning at the National Maritime Museum in Gloucester before taking a fascinating boat trip along the canal that showed how its docks are steadily being renovated and gentrified.
We were accompanied by over 20 friends and family members; we are grateful for their support. Next year, our destination will be Gloucester’s neighbouring cathedral, Worcester.
On Sunday, however, our new term begins with a Choral Evensong marking our patronal festival for Saint Mary. It will be attended by the new Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Makin, paying his first visit to the Abbey.
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