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The Shrine Church Organ

The Barn Chapel Organ

Music at the Shrine

The Walsingham Ballad

 

For the past few years the Shrine has produced an annual Pilgrim Manual specifically tailored to each year's particular Marian theme. For 2016 a return has been made to the larger, more comprehensive manual which was last produced in 2005 and used until 2011. This new edition of the manual is intended to be used for the next few years and is appropriate for use both whilst on pilgrimage to the Shrine and also back home within parishes and Cells of Our Lady of Walsingham. The manual contains a good selection of 40 (mostly) Marian hymns in addition to those hymns used at specific liturgies (Stations of the Cross, Benediction etc.) Two sizes of manual are available - the standard, pocket size and the large-print version. Both cost £2.00 and are available from Reception or the Shrine Shop.

Click here for information on the names of suitable hymn tunes and where to find them (a printable PDF). N.B. This hymn tune list was compiled for the 2005 edition of the Pilgrim Manual. A revised list for the 2016 edition will be available shortly.

 

THE ORGAN IN THE SHRINE CHURCH

Prior to 1998 the Shrine Church had a small one manual pipe organ in a loft above the north side of the Guardians’ stalls. For processions in the Shrine gardens, a single microphone was suspended above the ranks of pipes and the sound relayed to a set of speakers attached to the outside of the church and Stella Maris House. In the mid-90’s it was decided to undertake a major refurbishment of the sound and musical facilities of the Shrine Church. A new PA system was installed and a new electronic organ commissioned from Bradford Organs.

The organ was designed by Lucy & Peter Comerford, the brains behind Bradford Organs – an offshoot of the University of Bradford Physics Department, where much of the modern technology which has hugely improved electronic organs in the last 15 years was developed.

The Comerfords were intrigued by the problems of projecting speaker sound in the Shrine Church, with all its nooks and crannies and a major obstacle – the Holy House blocking the west end/nave projection. They chose to place the west end speaker stacks as far apart as they dared to try to get the sound both over and around the obstacle of the Holy House. The sound of the Great, Swell and Pedal organs is also relayed from speakers high in the lantern above the Guardians’ stalls. The Choir organ speaks only from the lantern, with the exception of the Trompette en Chamade which speaks principally from the west end. The organ sounds loud in the organ loft (from the lantern speakers) and very loud if you stand at the west end. However, the sound is much tempered by the building and a lot of volume is inevitably lost by the time it reaches the nave. Obviously the size of the congregation affects the volume and natural reverberation considerably.
 

GREAT   SWELL   CHOIR   PEDAL  
Bourdon
Open Diapason I
Open Diapason II
Stopped Diapason
Dulciana
Octave
Suabe Flute
Twelfth
Fifteenth
Recorder
Tierce
Mixture
Trumpet
16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2 2/3
2
2
1 3/5
III
8
Geigen Diapason
Lieblich Gedackt
Voix Celestes
Salicional
Gemshorn
Chimney Flute
Nazard
Fifteenth
Cymbel
Contrafagotto
Cornopean
Scharf  Oboe
Clarion
8
8
8
8
4
4
2 2/3/

2
III
16
8
8
4

Steerhorn
Bourdon
Gemshorn
Nason Flute
Nachthorn
Larigot
Sifflute
Sesquialtera
Dulzian
Crummhorn
Clarinet
Trompette en chamade
8
8
4
4
2
1 1/3
1
II
16
8
8
8
Contra Bourdon
Principal
Bourdon
Echo Bourdon
Octave
Bass Flute
Choral Bass
Mixture
Trombone
Trumpet
Schalmei
32
16
16
16
8
8
4
II
16
8
4

 

The organ has all the usual couplers (no octave or sub-octave) plus tremulants on Swell and Choir; 6 thumb pistons to each manual, 6 foot pistons to Swell and Pedal organs; the usual coupler thumb/foot pistons. There is a 12 channel piston setting system.

ECHO      
Contra Viola
Viole d'Orchestre
Octave Viole
Cornet de Violes III
Viole Celeste
Unda Maris
Stella Maris
Cor de Nuit
Rohr Flute
Flauto Traverso
Piccolo
Cor Anglais
French Horn
Orchestral Oboe
Vox Humana
Tremulant
16
8
4
10.12.15
8
II
I
8
8
4
2
16
8
8
8
 
During August 2004 the organ was enlarged with the addition of an Echo division, playable on the Great manual. This consists of 15 stops selected for their usefulness in enhancing the organ’s range of quiet sounds. The Echo division is switchable so that the sound comes from the West End only, or the Lantern only, or both together. Also at this time the Great Diapsons were 'revoiced', the Pedal 32' added and the Swell reeds given more character.

 

 Early in 2006 modifications were made to voicing of the Great Trumpet, the Pedal Trombone and the Choir Chimney Flute was replaced with a small open diapason – the Steerhorn. A powered sub-woofer was also added to strengthen the Pedal division and a Lexicon reverberation unit was incorporated.

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The Barn Chapel Organ

Thanks to a very generous gift, a new electronic organ has recently been installed in the Barn Chapel - behind the Refectory. It was decided that, rather than going for a run-of-the-mill instrument, Bradford Organ Associates would be commissioned to design and voice a two manual and pedal organ in the style of the great 19th century French organ builder, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. It was decided to base the tonal scheme on the St. Clotilde instrument in Paris - built in 1859 (though this has three manuals) - which was first played by Cèsar Franck, the resident organist, followed by Pierné, Tournemire and Langlais. The re-creation goes far deeper than simply using the original stop names; the tuning, the idiosyncratic nature of the pipe 'speech' (particularly in the lower octaves) and the sound of Cavaillé-Colls' reeds have all been reproduced. The result is an revelation; from the roar of the organ in full cry to the delicacy and beauty of the flutes and strings, this is a very different sound world.

 

GRAND

Montre

Montre

Flute Harmonique

Bourdon

Viole de Gambe

Prestant

Flute

Quinte

Doublette

Plein Jeu

Bombarde

Trompette

Clarion

Cornet

 

16

8

8

8

8

4

4

2 2/3

2

VII

16

8

4

V

RECIT ESPRESSIF

Flute Harmonique

Bourdon

Viole de Gambe

Voix Celeste

Principal Italien

Flute Octaviante

Nasard

Octavin

Plein Jeu

Bombarde

Voix Humaine

Basson-Hautbois

Trompette

Tremblant

 

8

8

8

8

4

4

2 2/3

2

IV

16

8

8

8

PEDALE

Contrebasse

Soubasse

Flute

Basse

Prestant

Flute

Bombarde

Trompette

 

Recit à Grand

Grande à Pedale

Recit à Pedale

Grand/Pedale pistons combinés

 

16

16

8

8

4

4

16

8

 

 

The organ has six thumb pistons on the Grand and the Recit, plus six toe pistons to the Pedale. The first five pistons in each divison are settable.

The sixth piston in each division operates as 'reeds on' and there are also three separate divisional 'reeds off' pistons. These reed pistons are unaffected by the use of pistons 1 - 5.  The reeds on/off pistons are an attempt to replicate the ventil system used by Cavaillé-Coll which enabled the organist to prepare in advance reeds, mixtures and mutations and then bring them into action at the press of a lever. There are also six general pistons. The Recit is 'enclosed' with an expression pedal.

 

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Music at the Shrine

The music at the Shrine is overseen by the Organist and Director of Music, currently Nicholas Kerrison who came to the Shrine in August 2014 having been in Secondary school teaching for 34 years, 26 of which were as Director of Music at The King’s (The Cathedral) School, Peterborough. During his teaching career, Nicholas was also Organist and Choirmaster of St Wulfrum’s Church, Grantham, St Guthlac’s Church, Market Deeping and a Lay-Clerk at Peterborough Cathedral.

The music used at Shrine Church services and larger annual events such as the National Pilgrimage reflects both the Anglo-Catholic musical tradition of the past 75 years and a desire to introduce the best of the new. The selection of music is dependent on two key factors. Firstly, there is no permanent choir in the Shrine Church to lead the singing and secondly, the congregation for virtually every service is made up of a different mix of people.

In response to this situation the Shrine has pioneered the use of mono-thematic (i.e. one tune) settings of the Ordinary of the Mass - thus enabling a congregation to learn a single melody which will reappear several times. Four Shrine Mass settings are used at present.

Shrine Mass I - using the Jimmy Owens melody for "Holy, Holy, Holy" (Celebration Hymnal).
Shrine Mass II - using an anonymous (Scottish?) melody (also set to the words of the Sanctus) in Mission Praise.
Shrine Mass III - the Paul Inwood Gathering Mass (Celebration Hymnal)
Shrine Mass V - using a melody from Schubert's Deutsche Messe (arranged as a Sanctus/Benedictus by Richard Proulx)

A number of different settings of the Penitential Rite and Gloria are used.

At some of the Shrine’s major Feasts and events (such as the National Pilgrimage and Bible Week) it is our practice to gather together a small group of singers who will lead the singing at the Liturgies and may sing different settings of the Ordinary of the Mass and appropriate motets and anthems.

The Walsingham Pilgrim Manual is a collection of Marian hymns which are regularly used at the Shrine, some of which will feature in the annual Pilgrim Manual. Although the words of the hymns may be unfamiliar to some people who visit the Shrine the hymns have been set to very well-known tunes. (further details are available from the Organist at the Shrine)

Visiting Singers: As has been said, above, there is no resident choir at the Shrine. However, there is the opportunity for visiting groups on Pilgrimage to Walsingham to sing at Mass or at the Healing Liturgy. It may be that a group has a soloist who is able and willing to sing or that some of the pilgrim group are members of their Parish Church Choir and would like to sing a suitable anthem. The Director of Music would be very happy to hear from you and to arrange a practice time during the Pilgrimage.

Commissions:  In the year 2000, to celebrate the approaching millennium, the Shrine held a series of great services (Regional Festivals) at cathedrals the length and breadth of the country. Richard Shephard was asked to compose a setting of the Magnificat for voices, brass and organ. This - published by O.U.P. as "The Song of Mary".
In 2004, a rather different form of outreach - to an airport, a prison, a hospital amongst others - culminated in a final service in York Minster. For this service - Magnificat 2004 - Richard Shephard wrote a simple, but effective setting of the Mass ordinary - The Walsingham Mass.  In 2005 - for the Walsingham Appeal - a rather different musical commission received its first performance - see The Walsingham Ballad below.

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The Walsingham Ballad

A new musical commission by the Shrine received its first performance at The Walsingham Appeal 2006 concert at St Andrew's Holborn, on Friday, 9th December, 2005.

A Lover's Complaint for counter-tenor solo and choir by James Lark (see below) uses words from two so-called "Walsingham Ballads." The following article is a preliminary look at the history of the ballads associated with the Shrine.

The Walsingham Ballad - is the name usually given to the earliest written (and subsequently printed) account of the startling events of 1061 - the vision of Our Lady which appeared to the Lady Richeldis. Written in the mid-fifteenth century (c.1460) and printed by Richard Pynson in 1495 it is often referred to as “The Pynson Ballad”. However, its author is unknown. The only extant copy was discovered in The Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Was it ever sung (no music has survived) - or simply a narrative poem? Much as it tells us about the origins of Walsingham as a holy shrine, it gives us nothing about the traditions of four centuries of pilgrimage.

 However, in the later sixteenth century, the term Walsingham Ballad, meant something quite different. Fifty years after the destruction of the Shrine in 1538 there were still in circulation many “Laments” for Walsingham, two of which have survived, though authorship is unclear. Both may simply be educated re-workings of a folk text. Sir Walter Ralegh is often credited with the (originally untitled) poem which begins “As you came from the holy land/Of Walsinghame. . .” This poem has often been titled by editors – “A Lover’s Complaint”, “Pilgrim to Pilgrim” and “Walsinghame” are examples. Also current at the time was the poem beginning “In the wreck of Walsingham/Whom should I choose/But the Queen of Walsingham/To be guide to my muse.” In 1578 Queen Elizabeth I made a royal progress through Norfolk and romantic speculation assigns this poem to a member of her entourage, Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel. What is interesting is that both poems have more or less the same metre. Did one or the other - or both - of these poems become the Elizabethan “Walsingham Ballad”?

There is further evidence that the Elizabethan “Walsingham Ballad” was well known. We have a simple melody – easily found today in the collection of keyboard pieces known as “The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book” (Vol. I - Fuller Maitland/Barclay Squire edition.) There are two sets of variations on, what was obviously a popular tune, “Walsingham”, one by William Byrd and the other by John Bull. The lutenist Francis Cutting, amongst several others, wrote Walsingham variations. Both the above poems  can be sung to the tune “Walsingham”.

For us today perhaps the most startling appearance of the Walsingham Ballad is in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. In Act IV: sc. v, the first of Ophelia’s mad songs is a version (earlier than Ralegh?) of the folk ballad. In this version, a woman asks about her pilgrim lover, rather than a man inquiring after his girl. Ophelia does not sing the first stanza, but begins with –

How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff
And his sandal shoon.

 

He is dead and gone lady,

He is dead and gone;

At his head a grass-green turf

At his heels a stone.

 

This mad-song can be - and was - sung to the tune “Walsingham”.

One suspects that the earlier Pynson Ballad was little known (if at all) a hundred years after its publication. No doubt the copies printed by Pynson went into libraries around the country and there lay forgotten. It was not in any way a traditional song sung by pilgrims as they tramped along, but a long poem (21, 7 line verses) telling Richeldis’s story. However, verse 21 is a glorious hymn to Our Lady on behalf of pilgrims to Walsingham.

O gracious Lady, glory of Jerusalem,

Cypresse of Syon and Joye of Israel,

Rose of Jericho and Star of Bethlehem,

O glorious Lady, our asking not repel,

In mercy all wymen ever thou dost excel,

Therefore, blessed Lady, grant thou thy great grace

To all that the devoutly visit in this place.

James Lark, in his new piece “A Lover’s Complaint”, uses the above stanza together with verses from the Ralegh poem.

James Lark

was born in Kent in 1979. Following school in Cheltenham, he went up to Girton College, Cambridge, as a Music Scholar, where he was a Choral Exhibitioner and held the Senior College Prize. He studied composition with Robin Holloway, and has had works commissioned, performed and recorded by English Voices (Britten Festival), the Choir of Girton College, Cambridge, and Cambridge New Music Society; in 2003, he was commissioned to write a new piece to open the new St Martin Organ by Guy Bovet in Girton Chapel, ; he has written stage scores for numerous productions, including Oedipus (Catmalogian Theatre Company, 2002), With Blacks (a new piece for the Alight Here Festival, London, 2003), A Drink with the Uncertainty Division (Edinburgh, 2004), Lost! (London, 2005) and The Rise and Fall of Deon Vonniget (London, 2005). He has also scored two short films The Ghost of Kirkton Fell (Hired Thugs Productions, 2004) and Summer's End (Hired Thugs Productions, 2005). In 2004 James won a prestigious Jerusalem Award for his work on radio. He currently is Director of Music at St Mark's, Newnham, and teaches composition and 20th Century Music in the Cambridge University Music Faculty.

 

 

 

 
   

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