Monday, 21 May 2012

358th Festival of the Sons of the Clergy St Paul’s, 15 May 2012

I have been to St Paul’s many times but each time there is something new to notice and much to marvel at.  Filled to capacity with three choirs and the organ playing it is something very special – whatever your religion. You cannot go through your year as Master without realising how much St Paul’s is the City’s church and how much it is part of the Civic City.

The Sons of the Clergy was founded a year or two before the Needlemakers received its first charter, known as our Commonwealth Charter, in 1656 from Oliver Cromwell.  The founding of this charity was also a consequence of that period of history.  A group of sons of clergymen recognised that there was a need for charitable help for the families of many members of the clergy who, having been loyal to the monarchy, were deprived of their livings and left destitute. The first Festival was held in 1655 and there has been a Festival every year since then.  It is believed that this is the oldest service of its kind in the Anglican Communion. 

The Lord Mayor and the Archbishop of Canterbury process together with the rest of the Civic Party, many Bishops and the Masters of about 80 Livery Companies.  (It also gives me a chance to wear the Master’s hat – this is by no means as glamorous as the hat worn by the Master Feltmaker but then that is their craft!)

The music as always was wonderful with the great organ and the choirs of St Paul’s, Bristol Cathedral and Southwell Minster as well as the State Trumpeters of the Band of the Blues and Royals.

The Needlemakers usually join the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers for dinner in a  local restaurant afterwards and indeed they did – but without John and me, as we were invited to dinner by the Festival at the Merchant Taylors Hall with the Lord Mayor. Masters are invited in rotation and this year was our turn. This was a rather grander affair (although probably not quite as relaxed as the home team dinner!). However, it was a privilege to be there and to yet one of the grander Livery Halls.  It is on Threadneedle Street - a very busy road and yet when you go inside there is a very tranquil courtyard - another secret place in the City.

No comments:

Post a Comment