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
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.