English Boy Choir Costumes: Individual Non-Cathedral Choirs

Figure 1.--King's College, Cambridge, has a noted tradition of choral religious music. King Henry VI founded King's College in 1441 and looked forward to the daily singing of services in the Chapel. The construction of King's College Chapel, one of the most important church buildings in England, took over 100 years, but was finally completed in 1547.

While the cathedral choirs are the best known English boy choirs, there are also some very impresive boy choirs that are not maintained by the cathedrals. If it helps, on the above mentioned page you write that the school is the only one in England catering exclusively for choristers. Perhaps the best known here is St. George's Chapel, Windors Kings College at Cambirdge University. A HBC reader mentions the St George's Chapel Choir at Langbury College, Shropshire which draws boys from the Priory Preparatory School. Of course the detinction here is somewhat arbitrary as European universities were largely founded by Church scholars. This there were and continue to be close ties between many universities and the Church.

University Choirs

Some major British choirs are located at universities. Of course the detinction here with the cathedrals is somewhat arbitrary as European universities were largely founded by the Church and run by Church scholars. England's historic universities were all founded by the Catholic Church and after the Rformation taken over by the Church of England. There are now in Engliand secular universities, but it is only the historic universities that have university choirs. Thus there were and continue to be close ties between many universities and the Church. The two principal universities are organized into colleges and it is these colleges that spnsor choirs. We do note Catholic choirs, such as the one at Langbury College. We believe these colleges and choirs are of more recent formation, but do not yet have full historical details.

Royal Chapels

Some of Britain's important choirs are in fact royal chapels. While Westminster Abbey is the most well known church in Nritain, it is s not a cathedral but ranks as one of the Queen's private chapels.

St. George's Chapel--Windsor (???)

Westminster Abbey (London)

Westminister Abbey is one of the most well known cathrdrals in Christendom. It is where English kings are crowned and where the country's heroes are burried. The singing of services has been at the centre of the life of Westminster Abbey throughout its history and this is now maintained by a highly trained choir of mens and boy's voices. To-day the choir is one of the glories of the Abbey. But to produce the special quality in boys' voices demands intensive training in a specialised choir school. The Westminster Abbey Choir School is now the only English choir exclusively for the education of boy choristers. It is a special place, offering boys from 8-13 a unique opportunity to be a part of one of our great national institutions.

Other Choirs

We note other choirs, somw with historic foundation that we are unsure how to classify.

Lord Mayor's Boy Players

We note a London choir named the Lord Mayor's Boy Players. They perform in historic costumes. The costumes are apparently a relic from Henry V's day. The Players were founed by Sir Richard (Dick) Whittington, Lord Mayor of London. We note a photograph of the boys rehersing Christmas carols at The Hall, Allhallows Lane, in London. The photograph was dated 1936. I am not sure what the current status of the the Players is or even if they still exist. Hopefully some of our readers will know more.


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