Romsey Abbey is dedicated to both St Mary & St Ethelflaeda. Our annual Ethelflaeda Festival aims to combine art, music, words, and prayer into a reflective and inspiring few days. The 2019 festival takes place from Wednesday 16th to Sunday 20th October 2019.  Please put the dates in your diary and we hope that you will be able to join us.

If you are interested in either being involved or have suggestions for future festivals please get in touch with

Link to pdf of the 2019 Ethelflaeda Festival Brochure. Printed copies are available from Romsey Abbey.

The 2019 programme is as follows.

  • Wednesday 16th October 2019

8 pm – Compline

  • Thursday 17th October 2019

i) 6 pm – Choral Evensong 

ii) 7.30pm – Caroline Willshire in Concert (Abbey United Reformed Church)

Caroline and her band will perform a selection of songs from her latest album ‘Wings like Eagles’. Caroline’s Celtic style has been influenced by living on the Isle of Skye, as a local gospel singer-songwriter from Romsey she aims to ‘shine a light’, encourage and renew. This event will be held in the Abbey United Reformed Church. Free with a retiring collection for the Abbey URC.



  • Friday 18th October 2019

7.30pm – Ethelflaeda Lecture – Tina Beattie
Jesus’ Grandma – Saint Anne in Medieval Art and Devotion

Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton and Director of Catherine of Siena College, Tina Beattie has developed a keen interest in the visual representation of theological ideas. The apocryphal figure of Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin, is unfamiliar to many today but she was a saint of great significance in late medieval Catholicism. Tina shows how representations of Saint Anne provide the key to understanding much about the incarnational significance of female embodiment and maternal relationships for medieval devotion to the humanity of Christ.

In addition to her academic work, Tina is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day and she writes for numerous magazines and journals, including The Tablet and The Guardian. Her academic publications include Theology After Postmodernity (OUP, 2013) and New Catholic Feminism (Routledge, 2006) as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles. Her novel The Good Priest was published by Troubador in 2019.

Photo of Tina Beattie by Simon Lewis.

There is no charge for this lecture but booking is required. All unreserved seating. Retiring collection for Abbey funds. Book online at or contact Romsey Visitor Information Centre, 13 Church Street, Romsey. Tel: 01794 512987. With grateful thanks to The Friends of Romsey Abbey for their support of this event.


  • Saturday 19th October 2019

7 pm – Ethelflaeda Concert – The Bloomsbury Quartet
ReCentred – A performance experience inspired by the life and works of Elizabeth Maconchy

Formed in 2017, Eva de Vries, Rachel Maxey, Felicity Smith, and Janell Yeo are The Bloomsbury Quartet. Winners of the 2018 Stroud Green Festival Ensemble Scheme, they are on their first UK tour with ReCentred, which aims to bring women composers into the centre of their own narrative. This performance experience explores the life and music of the prolific string quartet composer Dame Elizabeth Maconchy DBE, putting the composer in a wider context. The programme will encompass the breadth of Maconchy’s repertoire which spans over 50 years, including Quartet no.1 and Quartet no.11. Alongside these are works by her teacher Ralph Vaughan Williams and her daughter Nicola LeFanu.

The evening will commence at 7 pm with a ‘first half’ multimedia installation during which audience members are encouraged to freely move around the space and interact with players from the quartet. This helps to familiarise the audience with the programme and the players and uses a mixture of film, photography, programme notes and live extracts displayed around the Abbey performance space. Refreshments will be available throughout this segment ahead of the ‘second half’ concert performance. Link to The Bloomsbury Quartet website.

String Quartet no. 1 – Elizabeth Maconchy
String Quartet no. 2 – Ralph Vaughan Williams
String Quartet no. 2 – Nicola Lefanu
String Quartet no. 11 – Elizabeth Maconchy

Some quotes following their ReCentred launch concert:
‘I was expecting something a little different. it surpassed my expectations. Very exciting, dramatic and full of feeling’.

‘Honestly I didn’t have familiarity with Maconchy’s music – I thought the performance was dynamic and the event was really thoughtfully curated’.

‘Loved it. Came open-minded, leave delighted!’

‘The playing was exquisite. Perfect nuance – players as one voice’.

Tickets £10. All unreserved seating. Book online at (booking fee applies) or contact Romsey Visitor Information Centre, 13 Church Street, Romsey. Tel: 01794 512987. 

  • Sunday 20th October 2019

    i) 10 am Festal Eucharist with Guest Preacher – Revd Canon Sue Wallace.

    ii) 6.30pm Festal Evensong with Guest Preacher – The Right Revered Debbie Sellin, Suffragan Bishop of Southampton.

  • 19 – 21 October 2019

We are also delighted to exhibit two works by Anna Mayhew-Smith including her icon of Ethelflaeda (pictured). Anna is an icon painter, born and brought up in Moscow and living in England for the past 15 years. She is very interested in bringing traditional iconography to bear on Britain’s many early saints. Orthodox Christians consider all saints from the first millennium to be full members of a universal church, since the churches of the East and West did not formally split until 1054AD. Anglican, Catholic or Orthodox, St Ethelflaeda is a witness to all Christians.


All events and services are at Romsey Abbey unless specified otherwise.