Christmas Course 2017

Venue St Marylebone Parish Church
Start date 22/12/17
End date 23/12/17
Status Taking bookings
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Booking details

About the course

The course will run on Friday  (10 am to 4pm) and Saturday (10 – lunchtime), conculding with a lunchtime concert featuring course music and carols for all.

This Christmas we will be discovering some beautiful Medieval, traditional and contemporary carols from around the world.

Every care will be taken to provide age and experience-appropriate tuition. Morning and afternoon sessions include breaks for juice and biscuits (provided by the course), and a lunch break (children should bring packed lunches for Friday).

About the venue

A Brief History

St Marylebone Parish Church has been a Christian place of worship in central London for 900 years. This current Church was build in 1817 and is the the fourth church built on this site. The first, established sometime in the early 12th century, was dedicated to St John the Evangelist but by 1400, St John’s had fallen into disrepair and a new church was built; Francis Bacon was married in this Church on the 11th May 1606.

In 1740, a new parish church was built on the same site and here you will find buried one of the founders of Methodism, Charles Wesley, along with other members of his family. He is commemorated by an obelisk memorial.  Here it was that Lord Byron was christened, and here Lord Nelson attended services and, on the 3rd May 1803, brought his daughter by Lady Hamilton (who had herself been married here) to be baptised. This parish church was associated with many famous figures and the interior was used by William Hogarth for the ‘Marriage of the Rake’ in his ‘Rake’s Progress’ cycle of paintings. Some of the many memorials that crowded its walls, including a memorial to the cupbearer to Ann of Denmark and Queen Henrietta Maria, may be seen in the present parish church’s stairways, to which they were transferred when the old parish church was demolished (following damage in World War II) in 1949. Other people connected with this building include:  James Figg, James Gibbs, Edmond Hoyle, John Rysbrack, John Allen, James Ferugson, Alan Ramsay, Stephen Storace, the dukes of Portland and Caroline Watson.

The present parish church was originally built (at a cost of some £80,000.00) without its fine Roman Renaissance style frescoed apse; this was added in 1884 by Thomas Harris. The original position of the altar was in what is now the Choir, just below the cross built into the ceiling. This altar (before which Robert Browning married Elizabeth Barrett in 1846) can be seen in the Holy Family Chapel. Above it hangs the painting of the Holy Family donated to the new parish church by Benjamin West, PRA (1738 -1820).

The present organ, one of the finest recital instruments in the country, was built by Rieger Orgelbau of Austria and was commissioned in July 1987; it was a joint venture between the parish church and the neighbouring Royal Academy of Music. The organ pipes, which can be seen at the ends of the first floor galleries, belong to earlier instruments.

Charles Dickens and his family lived for many years next door to the parish church in Devonshire Terrace. He brought his son here to be baptised and the ceremony is described in his novel Dombey and Son.

St Marylebone Parish Church has always had a fine musical tradition and today the professional choir of ten voices is supported by the Director of Music, the Assistant Director of Music and an Organ Scholar. Sir John Stainer wrote his Oratorio Crucifixion for the choir in 1886 and it has been performed every year since.

The Browning Room, which commemorates the marriage of the poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett here on 12th September 1846, has a stained glass window gifted by The Browning Society of Winnipeg. Two fine brass bas reliefs of the poets can also be found in this room.

St Marylebone Parish Church, Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5 LT
Baker Street (London Underground Station)


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