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.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

William Byrd Festival: Come and See Stondon Massey

Opening the church this afternoon is as much a tribute to Revd. Edward Henry Lisle Reeve (pictured) as it is to William Byrd. Reeve, as is written elsewhere, was a keen local historian and in no small measure brought the great composer of Stondon Massey to public attention. Illustrative of his hobby is a note of a visit he made 100 years ago today.

Now preserved in the Essex Record Office for all to see, the Archdeacon of Essex and of Colchester records dating back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I were stored in a quite different way a century ago. Revd. Reeve, the rector of Stondon Massey and a keen local historian, made a visit on 8th May 1911 to Mr Gepp, the Registrar at Chelmsford. He wrote, “Matters had improved since my last visit [11 years ago]. The books had been brought downstairs from the loft, and had been lodged in shelves. This, however, without any regard at all to order or classification. I was treated by Mr Gepp & his Clerks with the kindest consideration and given free access to the library, with a candle in wire lantern to assist me in the dark corner to which it was relegated, and a duster with which to move away so much dust as should be necessary and to keep my fingers free for movement.” Reeve noted the work of Mr Hollingsworth-Browne who was in the process of transcribing the records: “but only some 15 have yet been examined, and I suppose there must be over 150 volumes”.

Source: ERO T/P 188/2 loose paper between f612-613.

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