Magna Carta celebrated at Shoreham church

The choir of St Mary de Haura, with director of music Stuart Hutchinson and guest singers from RSCM affiliated churches
The choir of St Mary de Haura, with director of music Stuart Hutchinson and guest singers from RSCM affiliated churches
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THE 800th anniversary of Magna Carta was celebrated with a wave of glorious sound.

It reached the medieval rafters of Shoreham’s lovely St Mary de Haura Church on Sunday, and surely wakened the ghosts of those who in the same church would have voiced their thankfulness following the signing of this great foundation to the path to freedom.

The Festival Choral Evensong, which also celebrated Music Sunday, was devised by Michael Hempel, precentor at St Paul’s Cathedral, and Andrew Reid, director of the Royal School of Church Music.

Wonderful music and singing was provided by the choir of St Mary’s, joined by guest singers from RSCM affiliated churches, with director of music Stuart Hutchinson and associate organist John March.

In his sermon, Reader Jonathan Smith treated us to a fascinating and easy-to-follow history of the Magna Carta - ideal for those whose history lessons had faded into the long distant past.

And there is a character involved in the earliest history who connects the event to this corner of Sussex, St Mary’s in particular.

Stuart Hutchinson writes in the June issue of St Mary’s News that among the barons so badly treated by the treacherous King John was William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber. When he refused to pay a large sum of money to the King, his wife and son were imprisoned, and died, probably starved to death.

The church was founded by William’s grandfather, Philip de Braose, 2nd Lord of Bramber.