In a brand new initiative for this English ‘Lockdown 2’ period and beyond, we are delighted to bring you a series of free, fascinating weekly live Friday lunchtime lectures.

Focused on a variety of aspects of sacred music, these hour-long sessions will be delivered by experts in their respective fields and include short interactive Q&A sessions to enable direct audience engagement.

The lectures will be hosted on our YouTube channel.

Lunchtime Lectures


Lecture Title Description Date and time Lecturer Link
What do Tudor music books tell us about Tudor musicians? In this lecture, Professor Magnus Williamson will investigate the manuscripts used by our musical ancestors, disclose some of their secrets, and consider their relevance today. Many of these manuscripts are now online, courtesy of the AHRC-funded Tudor Partbooks project. You can view them here. Friday 13 November- 1pm GMT Professor Magnus Williamson Click here to watch the lecture
Hymns and the First World War To mark our commemoration of the Great War and the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, Anne has researched how hymns – sung, played or remembered – made an impact on the lives of combatants and of those left at home. This lecture will touch on collections of hymns in use at the time, with individual stories of how particular hymns brought consolation or a sense of corporate identity, functioned as patriotic symbols, raised morale and enabled prayer and mourning. Friday 20 November – 1pm GMT Anne Harrison Click here to watch the lecture
From Advent to Epiphany with J. S. Bach The content of this lecture will include both choral and organ music composed for that period, or which resonates with the themes of those seasons. Friday 27 November – 1pm GMT Canon Charles Stewart
‘A Touch of West Side Story’?: Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms The idea for Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms came from a commission from the Revd Walter Hussey, Dean of Chichester Cathedral, and from Bernstein’s own music-set Psalm texts. The genesis is fascinating: Hussey mentioned that he would ‘not mind if it had a touch of West Side Story’, and Bernstein responded with a piece that took up that idea in some surprising ways. With illustrations from the manuscript sources and correspondence between Bernstein and Hussey, this talk will explore the intriguing history of the Chichester Psalms. Friday 4 December – 1pm GMT Nigel Simeone
Victorian Church Music Composers: Is there a worthwhile legacy? During the Victorian era there were dramatic changes in both worship and musical education. The resulting explosion of composers who published music for the church choirs, organists and Sunday Schools is now largely forgotten. Is any of the music worthy of revival? Whatever our individual musical tastes, these were exciting and interesting times in the world of church music, and many of the personalities involved at make for interesting study. Friday 11 December – 1pm GMT John Henderson
A Day in the Life of Salisbury Cathedral, ca. 1500 This illustrated lecture will describe in outline what Friday December 18 would have been like some 500 years ago in Salisbury Cathedral, from the tolling of the bells for matins around 3 a.m. until the evening worship concludes with the antiphon to the Virgin in the Salve Chapel.  Samples of the music will be discussed, and particular attention will be paid to the system by which two ‘choirs’, chancel and chapel, coordinated their worship. Friday 18 December – 1pm GMT William Renwick


Professor Magnus Williamson

Professor Magnus Williamson is Professor of Early Music, Newcastle University General Editor of the British Academy series, Early English Church Music, and principal investigator of the Tudor Partbooks project.

Anne Harrison

Anne Harrison is an Oxford music graduate with an MA in Music and Liturgy from the University of Leeds; she was Music Co-ordinator at St John’s College with Cranmer Hall, Durham, in the 1990s, and then worked for the Royal School of Church Music. A committee member of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland and a trustee of the Song and Hymn Writers Foundation, she chaired the editorial team for the hymn book supplement Sing Praise (Canterbury Press/RSCM 2010) and also helped to produce the 2013 Ancient & Modern. Anne has written two Grove booklets on congregational song and is music editor for Praxis News of Worship.