Ludlow Arts: Classical

Arts@St Laurence

St Laurence's is the largest parish church in Shropshire and one of the Twenty Greater Churches of England. A magnificent Grade I listed building, with rebuilding work of c. 1320 from an earlier church on the site, St Laurence's under-went major rebuilding during 1433-1471.

St Laurence's contains many treasures including exceptional medieval stained glass and a set of early C15 misericords.

Music has always played an integral part in the life of St Laurence. From the time of Edward IV onwards, music within the liturgy here became an important factor, especially with the court of the Prince of Wales residing in Ludlow Castle. By the time of Prince Arthur's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, we know that at least two organs and most likely three, were owned by the church.

By George III's reign and the rise of Ludlow as a town in the important social circuit, the Earl of Powis commissioned the highly fashionable Swiss organ builder, John Snetzler, to build an organ for the church. In 2014 we are now celebrating the 250th anniversary of this remarkable and beautiful historic instrument, which was thoroughly refurbished in 2007 by Nicholson's of Malvern. The case is original 1764 work and in 2011 the pipes were regilded in gold leaf as originally decorated. Each summer, a series of summer organ concerts brings the nation's best organists to play on this historic instrument.

Over the past thirty years, concerts of all types have been held in the church. In 1996, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Robert Tear, tenor and Simon Rattle, conductor, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the publication of Housman's A Shropshire Lad with a major concert broadcast by the BBC from St Laurence's.

St Laurence Ludlow website

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