Summer of culture at St Albans Cathedral

St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Alan Davies]

St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Alan Davies] - Credit: Archant

St Albans Cathedral is gearing up for a lively summer programme of events.

St Albans Cathedral organ [Picture: Chris Christodoulou]

St Albans Cathedral organ [Picture: Chris Christodoulou] - Credit: Archant

Lovers of music, literature and history will be delighted in equal measure at the range of activities taking place during July and August.

Internationally acclaimed musicians are set to perform in St Albans as part of the International Organ Festival, the world’s leading organ competition.

Particular highlights taking place at the Cathedral include the High Sheriff’s charity concert on Saturday, July 15, where the London Handel Festival Orchestra, St Albans Bach Choir and Mosaic Chamber Choir will collaborate with world class soloists for a performance of Handel’s Messiah.

St Albans Cathedral choristers [Picture: S Tottman]

St Albans Cathedral choristers [Picture: S Tottman] - Credit: Archant

On Monday, July 17, the acclaimed choirs of St Paul’s Cathedral, Temple Church and St Albans Cathedral will join forces for the Three Choirs Concert, one of the most eagerly anticipated festival events.

Choirs and organ will perform music by Vaughan Williams, Whitacre and Holst in addition to Tippett’s Five Spirituals and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.

2017 is also a special year for Jane Austen enthusiasts.

Matthew Paris Elephant illustration

Matthew Paris Elephant illustration - Credit: Archant

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To mark 200 years since the death of the author, the Cathedral’s Study Centre is hosting a talk on Friday, July 21 about the church’s portrayal in Austen’s novels.

This will include analysis of a number of characters, including the notorious Mr Collins from Pride and Prejudice.

Throughout July, visitors can also see a fascinating and informative exhibition about the Abbey’s famous medieval chronicler, Matthew Paris.

St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Alan Davies]

St Albans Cathedral [Picture: Alan Davies] - Credit: Archant

The exhibition celebrates 800 years since he was made a monk here in St Albans and commemorates his writings as a valuable historical source.

As part of the exhibition, there will be an exclusive showing of the Cathedral’s rare and valuable facsimile of the Alban Psalter on Sunday, July 23 between 1pm and 4pm.

Visitors will be able to see its beautiful illustrations up close and a team of expert guides will be on hand to answer questions.

Caroline Godden, St Albans Cathedral’s adult learning officer, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting a varied programme of events over the summer – from investigating the medieval manuscripts of Matthew Paris, to marking the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, to exploring poetry and faith with St Paul’s Cathedral’s Canon Mark Oakley.

“We are also celebrating famous children’s authors later in the summer, so there’s plenty to enjoy for all ages!”

• For more information about any of the events taking place at the Cathedral over the summer, visit