Dauntsey's Choir sang in Edington Priory last night, at a carol service given by the "Friends of HMP Erlestoke." The prison is situated just a mile from this beautiful building, and during the service, the Governor and an inmate gave a talk about the prison population in GB, and the problems faced by many prisoners, when they are eventually released back into the community. The photo shows the Priory on a snowy day, as I could not take a photo last night in the dark! The Priory, built and completed in 1361 by William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester, is an example of the architectural transition from the medieval decorated to the perpendicular style. In 1539 it was dissolved by King Henry VIII, and although little remains of the monastery buildings, the church has survived over the centuries with minimal alterations.
We sang many traditional carols accompanied by the "Bratton Silver Band." The choir sat behind the band, and it was interesting to watch the tuba players preparing for a note with an enormous intake of breath. A young lady on the timpani was kept busy all evening with little taps on the triangle, assorted muffled drum rolls and clashes on the cymbals.
We sang without accompaniment and by candlelight three works, part of "Wachet Auf," from a cantata by JS Bach, "O Little one Sweet," an old German tune harmonised by JS Bach, and "Past Three O'Clock" a lively carol, with much accent on the final "K" of clock. The congregation must have been able to hear a clock ticking away! Many of the congregation gave readings from the scriptures, and a lively poem called "King John's Christmas" by A.A Milne, was read by HM Lord Lieutenant for Wiltshire. It was a wonderful occasion, and after the service we ate yet more mince pies and drank more mulled wine.
The above photo shows the wonderfully decorated ceiling in the nave, with the hammerbeam roof painted with dark red patterns upon a cream background.