Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Winchcombe Harp

In 798 Coenwulf The King of Mercia began to build a great Abbey in Winchcombe. The Church was dedicated by Wulfred, archbishop of Canterbury in 811.
In 821 Coenwulf died and his Son the young Kenelm was killed in a wood in Clent. ( see my blog http://thelimehouse.blogspot.com/2010/07/stkenelms-day.html  )Kenelm was buried at the Abbey and became it's Saint. One of the stone coffins in St Peter's Church is beleived to be Kenelms. In 969 during the Benedictine revival Germanus, Dan of Ramsey was made the abbot of Winchcombe.In 1068 William the Conquerer entrusted Athelwig a Norman monk, to look after the Abbey.On the 15th October 1091 lightening struck causing a great fire at the Abbey many chronicles and Psalters were destroyed.
During The Wars of the Roses ,in 1468 the present Parish Church of St Peters was built.

The Zodiac, in 'The Winchcombe Chronicle'
The Zodiac-In The Winchcombe Chronicles
In 1539 the Abbey buildings were destroyed by Henry VIII.
Now this is where I get confused about which Psalters and Chronicles are about and where they are kept. St Peters Church has a few books in the church which give far more detail but I must admit I haven't had the chance to read through them....but I wanted to tell you about The Winchcombe Harp. In 'The Winchcombe Psalter ' there is a picture of King David playing a harp.
King David playing the harp and other Musicians from the Winchcombe psalter. They are playing a crwth, rote, nakers and a pipe.

The Winchcombe Psalter,which is now kept at Cambridge University was written in Latin and Anglo- Saxon between 1025 and 1050 for the new Abbey and contains The book of Psalms. A few people See links, have made a copy of this harp, wouldn't it be great to have someone play one at the next Winchcombe Music and Arts Festival...I mean it's not many towns that can say they have a musical instrument named after them !
Out of interest, there used to be a very old Cello in the corner of St Peters Church, It has now moved back to its original home in Gretton ...not sure if it's in Stanley Pontlarge or the old Church Tower.
http://www.simonchadwick.net/asmus/harp.html This site has a little link to hear him playing...I have to admit it sounds blooming awful, luckily he's not playing 'our' Harp !


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