St Peter's 500th

 

The 500th Anniversary of the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula

Please note that the programme of events has been unavoidably disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic. 
We hope to reschedule them as and when that becomes possible.

The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula is celebrating its 500th anniversary in 2020. There was a chapel on this site before the Norman conquest, repaired by Henry III from the year 1420 onwards.  In 1286 Henry's son Edward I had the old chapel demolished and built a new one which survived until it was largely destroyed by fire in 1512.  In 1519 work began under Henry VIII on the Tudor chapel which we see today, where the first service is believed to have taken place on 01 August 1520.  This is a special year for HM Tower of London but, particularly, for the community that supports the Chapel Royal - a  Chapel that represents the spiritual heart of the Tower and the community that live and work here.

A remarkable series of events has been put together to celebrate this important anniversary. They range from lectures on the Chapel’s history t0 special commemorative services and readings, musical concerts and even a flower festival. Unsurprisingly, the programme is dominated by music and a recurring theme of the year is a new hymn written especially by Lord Williams of Oystermouth and set to music by our own Master of Music, Colm Carey.

Follow the links at the right to see reports of these events as the year unfolds.  A summary list of them, followed by details and how to attend, appears below:

 

Summary:

 

The 500th Anniversary of the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula

In 2020 the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula celebrates the 500th year of its completion. There was a chapel on this site before the Norman conquest, repaired by Henry III from the year 1420 onwards.  In 1286 Henry's son Edward I had the old chapel demolished and built a new one which survived until it was largely destroyed by fire in 1512.  In 1519 work began under Henry VIII on the Tudor chapel which we see today, where the first service is believed to have taken place on 01 August 1520. 

A number of events are taking place during 2020 to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Chapel. Follow the links at the left to see reports of them as the year unfolds.  A summary list of the events, followed by details and how to attend them, appear below:

Summary:

8 January, 11am
Recording of Morning Worship for BBC Radio 4

4 February, 7pm
Richard Chartres Lecture - The Chapel Royal and the Reformation

11 February, 7pm
Tracy Borman Lecture - Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him

18 February, 7pm
Alison Weir Lecture - The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

29 March, 11am  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
Choir of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London - the St John Passion of Johann Sebastian Bach

10 April, 7pm
St Mark Gospel read by David Suchet postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

19 May, 7pm
Christian Wilson (Organ) and Tom Poulson (Trumpet) postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

2 June, 7pm
Choir of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London - Music and Pageantry  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

10-13 June, all day  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
Flower Festival

7 July, 7pm
Alfred Hawkins Lecture: The Evolution of the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

22 July, 6.30pm
Patronal Festival  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

8 September, 7pm
Zoë Brookshaw and Eligio Luis Quinteiro: Trials and Tribulations  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

30 September and 1 October, 7pm
Mary’s Hand  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

17 November, 7pm
Choir of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London – A Baroque Bonanza  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic

 

Details:

8 January,
Recording of Morning Worship for BBC Radio 4 (to be broadcast on Sunday 12 January 2020) and live broadcast of Choral Evensong

 

4 February, 7pm
The Rt Revd Richard Chartres KCVO - The Chapel Royal and the Reformation
Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
This lecture will last one hour without an interval.

 

11 February, 7pm
Tracy Borman - Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him
Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
This lecture will last one hour without an interval.

 

18 February, 7pm
Alison Weir - The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn
Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
This lecture will last one hour without an interval.

 

29 March, 11am  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) - St. John Passion (BWV245)
Entry free but please email the Chapel Administrator if you wish to attend.
Places are limited and you will be admitted only if you are on the visitor list for this event.
It will last two hours without an interval.

        Johann Sebastian Bach’s setting of St John’s account of the Passion presents a dramatic and heartfelt response to the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus. This extraordinary work, which has now become a central piece in the canon of Western Art Music, was a real shock to those who first heard it in 1724. They were not accustomed to the musically vivid portrayal of the story, which in Leipzig was usually transmitted in a more solemn and sober fashion. In the John Passion, Bach captures with intense fervour the last days of Jesus’ life, and brings the listener through an emotional and spiritual journey that is profoundly moving.

The Choir and Band of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London
William Searle, Evangelist
Caspar Barrie, Jesus
Colm Carey, director

 

Good Friday, 10 April, 7pm postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
The Gospel according to St. Mark , read by David Suchet CBE (SUBJECT TO HIS AVAILABILITY)
Tickets £30 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
This performance will last for 2 hours without an interval, and will be preceded by a short service of meditation for Good Friday at 6pm.

 

19 May, 7pm  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
Music for Trumpet and Organ
Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
This performance will last one hour without an interval.
Tom Poulson, trumpet
Christian Wilson, organ

 

         2 June, 7pm  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
         Music and Pageantry
         A journey through 500 years of royal music
         Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
         This performance will last 75 minutes, without an interval.

         This programme explores 500 years of music that was both performed at the Chapel Royal, as well as at specific occasions at which the Chapel Royal played an important role. The music is interwoven with poetry, commissioned especially for this concert, by Rachel Long. Rachel shines a contemporary light on four women who walked through, worshipped at, or who were laid to rest in the Chapel.

         Rachel Long, poet
         Choir of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London
         Christian Wilson, organ
         Colm Carey, director

 

         10-13 June, all day  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
          Flower Festival
         Entry to the Flower Festival throughout the day is included in the Tower of London admission price. There will be special, late afternoon, entries to view the Flower Festival only. Please email the Chapel Administrator  for details. 

         It has been a long established tradition to have flowers adorning the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula during for our worship. As part of the 500th anniversary celebrations there will be a four-day Flower Festival in the Chapel with many beautiful and dramatic arrangements, inspired by the Tudor history of the Chapel, and in particular three of the Tudor Queens of England – Catherine Howard, Anne Boleyn and lady Jane Grey – who lost their lives at the Tower and are buried in the Chapel.  

 

         7 July, 7pm  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
         Lecture by Alfred Hawkins: The Evolution of the Chapel of
         Saint Peter ad Vincula
         Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
         This lecture will last one hour without an interval.

         Established at the heart of England’s principal fortress, the Royal Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula held its first service 500 years ago, and belies a history of the site that has been over 1000 years in the making. Alfred Hawkins, Assistant Historic Buildings Curator at HM Tower of London, has researched extensively the architectural history of this extraordinary Royal Peculiar and overseen recent archaeological investigations that have contributed to the fascinating story of how this site has evolved. Through these investigations, new information has shed light on the forgotten history which shaped the construction of the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula as we know it. This history, alongside the 500 years of worship and architectural development within the current chapel, will be discussed during this talk.

 

         22 July, 6.30pm  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
         Patronal Festival
         A service of Festal Evensong to celebrate the Chapel’s Patronal Festival.

         Entry is free but please email the Chapel Administrator if you wish to attend. 
        The number of places is limited and you will be admitted only if you are on the visitor list for this event.

 

        8 September, 7pm  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
       Trials and Tribulations
       Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
       This performance will last one hour without an interval

       Zoë Brookshaw, soprano
       Eligio Luis Quinteiro, lute

 

       30 September and 1 October, 7pm  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
       Mary’s Hand
       Tickets £20 from https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
       Mary’s Hand runs for 75 mins without an interval.

       'I am the one you do not like.' So begins this new, interactive one-woman opera exploring the life of Mary Tudor. Eclipsed by her younger half-sister, Elizabeth, Mary lies ‘in the shadow hand of Time’ – confused with Mary Queen of Scots, vilified as ‘Bloody Mary’ or simply forgotten after her brief reign. Hailed at her funeral as ‘a King’s daughter’ (first child of Henry VIII) and ‘King also’ (first Queen of England to rule in her own right), the hand that Fortune dealt her was a tricky one. She lies now beneath Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey, awaiting resurrection in the afterlife and in the popular imagination.

       Words and direction – Di Sherlock
       Music – Martin Bussey
       Costume design – Andie Scott and Sophie Meyer
       Set design – Andie Scott
       Lighting design – Antony Hateley
       Mary I, Queen of England - Clare McCaldin, mezzo-soprano

 

       17 November, 7pm  postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic
       Closing Gala Concert - A Baroque Bonanza
       Tickets £30 from www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/whats-on
       This performance will last 75mins without an interval.

       The final concert in the Chapel’s 2020 celebrations features scintillating settings of important liturgical texts sung regularly in the Chapel to this day – Venite and Gloria. Handel’s 8th Chandos Anthem is a setting of the Venite, and in characteristic Handelian fashion combines elegant arias with exciting choruses. Vivaldi’s effervescent Gloria, by turn brimming with latent energy and singing lyricism, has maintained an immediate and universal appeal through its distinctive melodies and rhythms. The programme concludes with one of the anthems written by Handel for the Coronation of George in 1727 – a suitably exultant conclusion to the Chapel’s 500-years celebration.

       The Choir and Band of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London. Colm Carey, director.