Celebrate the art and music of Ranworth Church
The art and music of fifteenth-century Norfolk will be explored and celebrated at a day-long symposium on Saturday April 30 dedicated to the medieval treasures of St Helen’s Church in Ranworth.
St Helen’s Church, Ranworth is also known as the Cathedral of the Broads, and stands in a commanding position overlooking the River Bure, with panoramic views of the Norfolk Broads from its tower. It was built in the 14th and 15th centuries and has recently been the subject of a major restoration project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Ranworth Rood Screen, pictured above, is said to be one of the finest surviving examples of its kind in England. Rood screens were a common feature in late medieval church architecture, and were designed as a partition between the nave and the chancel of the church, separating the congregation from the clergy and the choir.
The Ranworth Antiphoner, or service book, is a large illuminated manuscript written on parchment and decorated in a highly ornate and colourful style. It is thought to have been produced by professional scribes in Norwich, which was a renowned centre for such books, in around 1460. It contains the music for the St Helen’s Vespers which would have been sung in churches around the south of England at the time. No other copy of these vespers exists.
The Antiphoner was probably intended as much for display as for daily use and went missing from Ranworth from the mid-16th century until the 19th century. It is the only copy to have survived destruction during the Reformation and be returned to its original parish church.
Visitors to the symposium will learn about the rood screen paintings, which date back to 1470, as well as the Antiphoner. The rood screen and Antiphoner will be at the centre of the informal conference, and singers from Oxford University will recreate the vespers, or evening prayers, originally sung by medieval monks.
Canon Garrard, who has organised the event said: “The symposium gives us a chance to travel back in time to find out more about the precious treasures we are so lucky to have in Ranworth church. It will bring a real insight into the sights and sounds of the church in the mid-15th century and help us connect imaginatively with people who worshipped here 500 years ago.”
There is a loop system in St. Helen’s Church and wheelchair access the Church and Visitors’ Centre. The Centre has disabled toilet facilities.
The day starts with registration at 10am, and is expected to conclude around 5pm. A simple lunch (cold carvery or vegetarian option), apple pie and cream, followed by tea and coffee, will be served at the Visitors’ Centre for £5 per head. Pre-booking is essential (maximum 40 sittings).
For more information about the symposium, or to book a place, please contact Revd Nick Garrard:
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01603 270769.
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