Canterbury Cathedral February 2016
‘O Happy Band of Pilgrims’
The ‘happy band of Pilgrims’ happened to be the choir and supporters from St Mary’s Church, Finedon on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral to sing and take part in Evensong on Saturday 13th February . No one had heard of Finedon when we arrived and it rained most of the day but that did not dishearten the pilgrims. Most took part in the various tours of the Cathedral. The question on most people’s minds was where was the spot where Archbishop Thomas O ‘Becket was murdered? Not in front of the Altar as many thought but in the North West Transept in a what is now called ‘ The place of Martyrdom’. After his murder his remains where were laid to rest in a tomb from 1170 to 1220. Miracles began to happen and his tomb became a place of Pilgrimage. Eventually the King ordered that his remains be burnt and the ashes thrown into the river. Fortunately the monks anticipated the King’s actions and removed the Archbishop’s remains. No one to this day knows where he was finally put to rest.
After the very interesting tour of the Cathedral and a quick bite to eat it was time for Evensong. When the choir started to sing it made everyone so proud; absolutely beautiful. Oliver Grigg sang a solo in part of the magnificat and the children sang a piece in one of the choral sections. Evensong was concluded by Bach’s ‘Andante from the Trio Sonata in IV in E minor’. a voluntary played by Shanna Hart on the cathedral organ. Evensong was attended by approximately 150 people.
No one had heard of Finedon on Saturday when we arrived but they certainly will remember Finedon and the ‘Happy Band of Pilgrims’ (which was the only hymn we sang) when we left. Well done Jonathan Harris, the choir and Shanna and thank you. Great day out and they asked us back.