CONFERENCE - Music and Majesty: Chapels Royal, Cathedrals, and Colleges, c.1485-1688

Booking deadline: Friday 21 June 2024

1 & 2 July 2024

The period 1485-1688 has been heralded as a ‘Golden Age’ for English church music, which equipped the Church of England with a rich musical repertory for its liturgy, still heard in churches, cathedrals, and concert halls today. Royal chapels, cathedrals, and collegiate institutions are acknowledged as unique sanctuaries which safeguarded English church music from a variety of socio-political events. Although their importance to the musical and religious development of the English ‘long Reformation’ has received considerable attention from historians and musicologists, interdisciplinary perspectives and discussions are vital for the future development of this field.

Understanding the way in which royal chapels, cathedrals, and collegiate institutions engaged with a musical liturgy for a Protestant Church has important consequences for understanding many of the key themes and tensions of the English Reformation: how was musical liturgy reconciled with the doctrinal Calvinism of the post-Reformation church? How different was royal worship compared with that of cathedrals and collegiate churches? Can we better understand the sensory experience of worship in such extraordinary ecclesiastical spaces? To what extent did these institutions change, and to what degree were they truly seen as models for the broader church? These questions will help us interrogate the musical, theological, and liturgical heritage of the English Reformation, and contribute to our understanding of the post-Reformation English church.

Join us for this exploration of space, music, and ceremony during this transformative period in English church history. This two-day hybrid conference, hosted at the Linnean Society, London, is generously funded by the British Academy. We are able to offer a limited contribution towards the travel costs of some ECR/unwaged attendees. Please email for further enquiries and information on venue accessibility.

In-person tickets include coffee/tea on both days and a wine and canapé reception on Monday evening. Those joining us in person will also have the unique opportunity to join a service at HM’s Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, with a special programme of music from the period.

For more information and programme, visit:

Deadline for booking: 21 June 2024