These singers climbed into a forbidden 16th-century priest hole to sing a Byrd mass

28 November 2018, 17:08 | Updated: 29 November 2018, 09:28

By Kyle Macdonald

A powerful piece of history – performing a beautiful Agnus Dei by William Byrd in a historic hiding place

The National Trust house, Oxburgh was built in 1482 by the Catholic Bedingfeld family.

During the 16th century, England was officially Protestant and practising Catholics were prosecuted – even put to death. A priest hole was a small room, usually accessed by secret doors and corridors. They were used to hide the outlawed Catholic priests and avoid detection by Protestant authorities.

While singing a series of concerts at the house last weekend, Eboracum Baroque decided to combine music and history in a very unique way.

The quartet went into the house's priest hole to sing the music of William Byrd.

Renaissance composer William Byrd was a committed Catholic, and his music often reflected the hardship, fear and strain of practising his faith at the time. In his compositions he set Latin words in a mood of private devotion, and his writing was often full of anguished harmonies and long, yearning lines.

The Agnus Dei is the final moment of a Catholic Mass setting, asking for mercy and peace. You can follow Eboracum Baroque here, and find out more about their projects on their website.

A great couple of days at the beautiful Oxburgh Hall - National Trust where we performed 3 sold out concerts on Friday...

Posted by Eboracum Baroque on Saturday, 24 November 2018