2018 marks the 10th Ethelflaeda Festival which combines art, music, words, and prayer into a reflective and inspiring few days. The Festival takes place from Wednesday 17th to Sunday 21st October 2018 in Romsey Abbey.  The programme is as follows. Put the dates in your diary and join us in October!

Sunday 7th October to Friday 2nd November 2018

An exhibition by Peter Eugene Ball  

Photo: Jane Ball

With a career spanning more than 50 years and over 70 major works in churches and cathedrals throughout the UK, including 2 works installed at Romsey Abbey*, we are delighted to host an exhibition of religious and secular works by the sculptor, Peter Eugene Ball. This exhibition will include previously unseen pieces created especially for this event, including ‘Romsey Madonna’ and ‘St Ethelflaeda’. Entry to the exhibition is free. Entry to Romsey Abbey is free – donations are welcome. Access to Romsey Abbey may be restricted during services and at other times.

* i) St Nicholas (2005) sited on a plinth in the South Transept and formed around a piece of driftwood
* ii) (2013) sited in St George’s Chapel behind the altar

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Some of the works on display in this exhibition are available to buy. On Saturday 6th October 2018 from 7pm, the Abbey will host a private viewing of ‘Madonnas and More’. Any enquiries for invitations to the private view should be directed to the Parish Office.

Wednesday 17th October

Romsey Abbey Primary School will take part in activities during the day and evening in the Abbey including a tour of the Bell Tower

Wednesday 17th October 3pm – 4pm


A General Tour of the Abbey suitable for visitors and locals as a first time tour of the Abbey. Cost £5 pp. No booking required (except groups via the Parish Office).

Thursday 18th October


Friday 19th October 10.30am (Church Rooms)


Written by Brian Lamb, Romsey Abbey Steward, and Tour Guide for some 35 years, this lavishly-illustrated new book takes you on a tour of the Abbey as it is today in 2018. Brian will introduce the book and then copies will be on sale, which Brian is happy to sign. Coffee will be available upon arrival. The special launch event price of £13.50 will also be offered to Abbey Stewards at their tour on Mondy 22nd October at 2.30pm. Usual selling price £15 from the Abbey bookstall.  All profits donated to Abbey funds. With 183 pages and over 440 illustrations, this book will answer many of the questions which are asked about the Abbey by its visitors. There is so much to see and to learn about, and Brian hopes people will return again and again, always finding new things to interest them.

Free event

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The Grand Tour

Friday 19th October – 7.30pm


Photo: Dr Janina Ramirez at Berkeley Castle Medieval Kings -R Oxford Film and TV

The title of this lecture is ‘Women in the Anglo-Saxon Church: Power, Passion and Politics’.

‘The Church has traditionally been seen as a difficult place for women to achieve power and authority. But there was one period in particular, the Anglo-Saxon conversion period of the seventh and eighth centuries, where women played a vital role. Saint Hilda was central to long-term developments of monasticism, Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, pushed back Viking assaults and established powerful churches, and Saint Brigid achieved equal responsibility to an archbishop. This talk will explore how and why these women were able to carve out such an important place within the Anglo-Saxon world’.

Dr. Janina Ramirez is a ‘cultural historian, broadcaster, and author based at the University of Oxford with a passion for communicating ideas about the past’.

Free Event with retiring collection. No tickets required.

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Saturday 20th October – 9.15am – 12.30pm approx


The Abbey Bellringers will be ringing a new method that has never been rung before to be named “St Ethelflaeda Delight Major”.

Saturday 20th October – 7.30pm 


Sansara poster

This specially curated programme features John Taverner’s rarely performed Missa O Michael alongside works Ailsa Dixon, Judith Weir and Kerensa Briggs. The programme is framed by two chants by Hildegard von Bingen who, like St Ethelflaeda of Romsey, was an abbess of a medieval monastery. Join us for an evening of meditative reflection in the stunning acoustics and architecture of Romsey Abbey.

Sansara is an award-winning vocal ensemble focused on the performance of a cappella choral music. Sansara were winners of the 2015 London International A Cappella Choir Competition, the choir’s performance highlights include the London A Cappella Festival, Temple Winter Festival, Winchester Festival, and a performance of Arvo Pärt’s music at St John’s Smith Square, with the composer present. In February 2017, they released their debut recording ‘Cloths of Heaven’ and received high praise for the group’s “perfect intonation and clean, pure sound” (The Observer) and “breathtaking interpretations” (Choir & Organ). The disc has since been featured on BBC Radio 3’s The Choir, Breakfast and Essential Classics.

Tickets are available online via www.ticketsource.co.uk/romseyabbey

For ticket purchases and enquiries please contact: Romsey Tourist Information Centre, 13 Church Street, Romsey, Tel: 01794 512987

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Sunday 21st October

10am FESTIVAL EUCHARIST: Guest Preacher – Meghann Hewett LLM

6.30pm CHORAL EVENSONG & PROCESSION including the DEDICATION of CHRIS GOLLON’S “ST ETHELFLAEDA DIPTYCH”: Guest Preacher – Revd Christine Smith

The 6.30pm service will include the “Legends of Ethelflaeda” culminating in a procession and prayers in the chapel dedicated to her.