Welcome to our Festival blog

We are a small congregation who organised a highly successful 'William Byrd Festival' in May 2011 to celebrate the life and work of the village's Elizabethan composer, William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623). In 2012 we played host to the world-famous choir The Cardinall's Musick under their director Andrew Carwood.

This website contains everything you need to know about William Byrd and his links with Stondon Massey. The church is open for services, of course, and on the second Sunday afternoon in the month during the summer.

Friday, 18 March 2011

William Byrd & Ellen Wilmott

Ellen Wilmott, the well-known horticulturist of the early twentieth century, has a connection with William Byrd through her attendance at the service which unveiled a memorial to the great composer in March 1924. She laid a wreath at the memorial on behalf of the English Madrigal Society. Her gardens at Warley Place were sumptuous and she spent money as if was going out of fashion. After her death in 1934 the site was sold and large house demolished. Houses were planned to be built on Warley Place but the Second World War intervened and then the 'Green Belt' prevented construction. The site is now in the care of the Essex Wildlife Trust and opened to the public on selected days. For more about Miss Wilmott and Warley Place go to http://www.warleyplace.gov.uk

Pictured here are scenes from Warley Place plus silk flowers placed in St Peter & St Paul Church, unknowingly by the arranger to include 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost' (Eryngium giganteum), a variety of Sea Holly.

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