The Fitzhamon Lecture 24th April 2021

‘Hallowing God’s House in 1121: the consecration of the abbey church at Tewkesbury’
Professor John Harper, by Zoom video conference

Theulf, bishop of Worcester, consecrated the new abbey church at Tewkesbury on 23 October 1121. This lecture explores the likely order and ritual of the rite of dedication of the church on that occasion. Much of the Norman building survives, and there is good knowledge of what was changed in later centuries. That provides one side of the story. The other side can be found in surviving books of the kind that Theulf will have used on this occasion: two pontificals, bishop’s books which contain the rite of dedication of a church and were written in the later eleventh century, have associations with Worcester. Of course, much of the detail has to be imagined – but then the study of the past always requires imagination; nevertheless, it is possible to establish much that happened at the liturgy on that important day.

During the past decade, John Harper’s research has explored the relationship of medieval churches and the liturgy, asking what was the experience of worshipping in a cathedral, monastery or parish church? His current work is focused on the emergence of the highly influential liturgical Use of Salisbury Cathedral in the period 1075–1225. He is emeritus director, The Royal School of Church Music; emeritus professor, Bangor University; and honorary professor, University of Birmingham.

Places are limited so please book early by requesting the video link from

Friends’ Zoom Lecture

Saturday 13th March, 7.30pm

Dr Andy Moir, dendrochronologist, will be speaking about his recent project tree-dating some of the town’s ancient buildings, including the Abbey. Booking is required in order to obtain the Zoom meeting link and details – click here to book by email. This is a free event but donations to the Friends of Tewkesbury Abbey will be welcome. It is hoped that a recording of the talk will be available on this website for a short period afterwards.

Friends’ Zoom lecture

28th November 2020 saw the Friends venture into something new! Not being able to meet together for most of the year, the Friends turned to the virtual world and hosted an online lecture.

The Dean of Hereford, and former Vicar of Tewkesbury Abbey, the Very Revd Michael Tavinor, gave a fully illustrated and entertaining lecture to some 80 ‘virtual attendees’ logging in from around the world. His subject was ‘Tewkesbury and Hereford – Compare and Contrast’ with topics ranging from history, buildings and library to events, local characters and famous visitors.

The lecture was a great success, with many able to attend who are usually unable to travel to Tewkesbury, and so this type of event is sure to feature in future Friends’ programmes. For a short period of time the lecture is available to view on this website – click here!