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Founded by
Dr Mary Berry, CBE

Chant notation

Associate's weekend at Downside Abbey, Somerset

Saturday 29th - Monday 31st March 2014

This will be Christopher Hodkinson's first Associates' weekend as our Musical Director. It seems fitting that we should be visiting the oldest and most venerable of all the English Benedictine monasteries still extant for this early spring meeting.

We welcome anyone to these residential weekends, whether or not you are already familiar with the chant. It is also possible to attend as a day visitor.

For further details please see the events page.

Chris writes:

The glorious Introit of Laetare Sunday exhorts us: Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitus eam ('Be glad, O Jerusalem: and hold an assembly, all you who love her'). Understood allegorically, Jerusalem is the Church, the spiritual mother of Christians (hence the name 'Mothering Sunday'). As St Augustine said 'Cantare amantis est' ('To sing is [characteristic] of lovers'). So there could be no more fitting occasion for us to gather together for a joyful weekend of singing and study of the Church's sacred chant.

The Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge has always had a particular interest in the Benedictine Order; indeed, our white robes are based on the design of the black robes of the English Benedictine Congregation. The monks who settled at Downside in 1814 were members of the community founded by St John Roberts in 1605 at Douai (Flanders) with the purpose of preserving English monasticism during the tumults of the Reformation. At Downside the monks founded a school, which will provide accommodation for us during our stay.

The abbey church, one of England's greatest neo-gothic churches, has the distinction of being a minor basilica and is dedicated to our patron St Gregory the Great. We are honoured to have been invited by the monks to join them in the choir to celebrate the Offices with them according to the Benedictine customs.

We will also have the opportunity to consider out medieval Benedictine heritage, with an excursion to the nearby Glastonbury Abbey, which will also be the subject of a talk given by the abbot of Downside, Rt Rev Dom Aidan Bellenger OSB. Glastonbury Abbey is the site of perhaps the bloodiest chapter in the history of Gregorian chant: the first Norman abbot, Thurstan, sent archers into the church to subdue the rebellious Saxon monks who refused to accept his reforms of the chant. We hope that our visit to sing a midday Office will be more tranquil!

I look forward to meeting you all for a happy start to our work in 2014

Yours in Christ

Christopher Hodkinson



We have recently released our latest CD, Cohors leta ducat Chorum, music in honour of the Blessed Virgin, from the mediaeval convents of Fontevraud and Las Huelgas, sung by the Cantors and Choir of the Schola with the Bristol University Schola Cantorum. Please see our CDs and Publications page.

Dr Mary Berry's library

Dr Mary Berry's library has now been catalogued and is available for private study at St Benedict's, 124 Cambridge Rd, Barton, Cambridge, CB23 7AR. If you would like to consult any of the available material (which includes the library of the former Gregorian Society) please contact  The Administrator, The Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, 124 Cambridge Rd, Barton, Cambridge, CB23 7AR
Tel: 01223-263063 Fax: 01223-264859 e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
to arrange a mutually convenient time. The catalogue can be downloaded as a pdf file here.

Chant Workshops

"The chant should be given pride of place in liturgical services".

(Vat.Council II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy No.116).

Why not arrange a day or more of chant for your group?

Further details available on the Workshops page.