From Saxon origins to village festival venue

PUBLISHED: 11:47 15 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:44 15 May 2014

St Peter's Church, Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire's oldest church

St Peter's Church, Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire's oldest church

Archant

St Peter’s Church, Wootton Wawen, is Warwickshire’s oldest church - and also the setting for the village’s 2014 music festival with four concerts from June 9-14 themed as the Essence of England.

Werther Ensemble with James Barralet and cello in the centre background / Photo: Oliver MarkhamWerther Ensemble with James Barralet and cello in the centre background / Photo: Oliver Markham

Standing on an extensive grassy knoll and seen from angles extending almost 360 degrees, St Peter’s Wootton Wawen is set back from a sweeping bend in the centre of the largely unspoilt village around 20 miles from Birmingham and Coventry, half that or less from Redditch, Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon.

The building, dating to the ninth century, will host the Wootton Wawen Music Festival from June 9, featuring everything from Greensleeves to Elgar, modern musicals, madrigals, international artists, a choir and an ensemble linked to the celebrated City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO)

The Wagen Trust, which raises funds for the church and its environs, have provided willing volunteers to welcome visitors, host performers, re-set stage and seating and run the refreshment marquee.

John Lawton, secretary to the Wagen Trust says: “Essence of England is our third festival using this lovely old church to highlight its acoustics and give people of the village and surrounding areas a musical feast.

“Paying normal professional fees to put on good quality concerts is costly and we are seeking sponsorship support from businesses and individuals. Any profits will enable the Trust to extend its funding activities for projects that help the church and support the local community.”

The Programme

Monday June 9: Elgar, Walton and Frank Bridge Night - The Werther Ensemble, including renowned local cellist James Barralet, set the scene for the musical Essence of England.

Wednesday June 11: Kristina Kennedy (harp) and Jessica Gabbot (flute) with Voices from the City of Birmingham Choir and CBSO associate conductor Julian Wilkins, deliver modern music and English choral works - plus Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

Friday June 13: Armonico Consort, who take choral, orchestral and operatic music across continents, return to their Warwickshire heartland with traditional songs steeped in the history of England’s rural counties.

Saturday June 14: CBSO members forming the Berkley Salon Ensemble contrast relaxing Palm Court music with the marching songs of WW1. Audience participation welcome!

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Tickets cost £15 each (no concert Tuesday or Thursday) - for purchasing contact Pat Phillips on: 01564 793114, e-mail patphh@btinternet.com

All performances are at 7.30 pm.

Free car parking is adjacent to the venue; entrance on A3400 between Stratford upon Avon and Henley in Arden.

Refreshments available in the marquee.

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