Friends of St Mary's Church
Cerne Abbas
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Past Events

The Great Cerne Sing

Saturday 6 January.

In the afternoon and early evening we enjoyed our second great sing. there were about 80 singers who rehersed from 3-5pm after which we were joined for tea by an audience of about 40. After some performances by girls from Sherborne Girls School we sang Handel's Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest, followed by Glory to God and the Hallelujha Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

We are especially grateful to Augusta Miller, John Jenkin and Martin Walker for leading and accompanying the Rehersal and singing and to Amelia Monaghan, Juliet Lawrence and Celia McCormick from the Girls School.


Christmas Tree Lightup

Saturday 2 December.

The Friends' Christmas Tree in the memorial garden was lit up for the Street Fair.

Christmas Tree

Tim Laycock and Colin Thompson - A Folk Christmas

Friday 8 December.

Tim Laycock and Colin Thompson came to help us celebrate the start of Christmas in the Dorset manner in a concert followed by mulled wine and mince pies.


Liquorice Clarinet Quartet

Wednesday 18 October. 7:30pm in the evening in St Mary's. Tickets £10.00, to include interval refreshment, from village stores from 18 September or contact Peter Smith on 01300 341740 or via email.

The Liquorice Clarinet Quartet will present a mixture of classical and Jazz pieces in two halves with a glass of wine in the interval.


Handel's Hallelujah Chorus

A rehearsal and performance of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus on 7 January attracted 80 singers and an audience of 40. After tea and cake we enjoyed David and Nicola Price playing of pieces by Handel and Frescobaldi and flautist Flora Wordie from Sherborne girls school playing a Bach Sonata and then two impressive renditions of the Chorus.


Thanks to all who participated and helped and to the sponsor of the music licence and printing who wished to remain anonymous.

The event added £970 to the Trust funds.

It is anticipated that there will be a similar event in 2018.

Carols with Dorchester Choral Society

Monday 12 December Dorchester Choral Society came to St Mary's once again to sing carols. The Christmas Tree, sponsored by the Friends, was be illuminated and light refreshments were shareed after the carols.

The retiring collection added £205.

Visit to Wimborne Minster

Unfortunately this visit had to be cancelled.

An evening of Medieval Music

On Friday October 7 we welcomed back Katy Marchant and Steve Tyler who gave a concert of medieval music playing with an array of period instruments.

A very good audience resulted in £400 being raised.



The AGM covering 2015 took take place on May 4 in St Mary's.The AGM was followed by a talk by Venerable Paul Taylor, Archeacon of the Diocese.

The annual report may be downloaded here.

Minutes of the meeting may be downloaded here.

Christmas Tree 2015.

The Friends were once again pleased to provide the Christmas tree for the war memorial lawn in front of the church.

Christmas Tree
(Picture by Jane Tearle).

Chamber Music Concert

Recent graduates of RCM who played with the Gaudier Ensemble in 2014. St Mary's Church 17 October.

Guided visit of Sherborne Abbey.

Monday, August 10, 6:30pm. With a sung evensong at 5:30pm in the Abbey.

Dorset Choral Society Concert

The short concert given by the DCS was much enjoyed and was followed by wine and nibbles. The retiring collection netted more than £150.

2015 AGM

The third AGM of the Friends on 29th April enjoyed a talk from John Beauchamp, the Superintending Architect to St. Mary’s. He gave us a fascinating insight into the range and complexity of some of the projects undertaken to maintain our churches by giving examples from many of the buildings in the south west for which his firm has responsibility. Minutes of the meeting may be downloaded here.

Lights Out Concert

MUSE Present ‘LIGHTS OUT’ 1914-1918. An evening of recollection, poetry and song An eclectic mixture of tragedy, irony, pathos and even farce, featuring some of our greatest poets and composers.
St. Mary’s Church, Saturday April 25th 2015 at 7.30pm
TICKETS, £10, from Cerne Abbas Store or Peter Smith (Tel 01300 341740), includes canapés and a glass of wine or soft drink in the interval

Christmas Tree 2014
We were delighted to provide the Christmas tree by the War Memorial, in front of the Church, again this year. It was lovely to see the joy on the faces of the school children when they switched on the lights and sung carols round the tree during the street fayre, and it was really super that so many people helped decorate the tree with personalised Christmas message tags.

Concert by candlelight, on Friday 28th November featuring "Dulcima" a close harmony group of female singers and the all-male a capella group "The Gravellers".

2014 AGM
8th July in St Marys Church. Followed by our guest speaker, Canon Eric Woods of Sherborne Abbey, where he has been in ministry for some 20 years and very involved with the Friends of Sherborne Abbey. Minutes of the meeting may be downloaded here.

Jazz Concert
A concert given on Saturday 12th October 2013 by "The Sunset Cafe Stompers".
The Stompers play "traditional jazz in the New Orleans style" and take their name from a famous Chicago night-spot once owned by Al Capone. The 7-piece lineup was formed in 1989 with the aim of becoming the leading exponents of the New Orleans sound in the South West and have acquired a strong and loyal following. They have played twice before in St Mary's Church to large and enthusiastic audiences, the last time being in 2010. The leader and pianist Mike Denham says they enjoy playing here because of the great acoustics.

Dorchester Choral Society
Free Christmas concert given by the DCS in the church on 9 December 2013 starting at 8pm. Retiring collection in aid of the Friends.
AGM. The inaugral AGM took place on 2 July, folowed by a talk by John Cox, chairman of the Friends of Holy Trinity Church, Bradford upon Avon. Minutes of the meeting may be downloaded here.

Gift from Art@No5.
On Thursday 7 February profits from the sale of works by local artists at the Art@No.5 exhibition were distributed to Jacky Tucker representing the Cerne Valley Young People's Trust and Peter Smith representing the Friends. We are very grateful for their support.


New Friends of St Mary’s launched.
On Friday 7th December some 160 people enjoyed the varied repertoires of 2 Dorset choirs – Dulcima (all female) and The Gravellers (all male)– who generously sang to support the official launch of the Friends of St Mary’s Church, Cerne Abbas. From the “Overture of the Marriage of Figaro” to the Negro Spiritual,” Humble”, via “When I am Sixty Four” and “Mary’s Boy Child” the music catered for all tastes, which was appropriate for an evening highlighting the wider relationship of the Church building within the community.

Many people from near and far visit the beautiful 14th Century Church and many attend the events that are held in it such as concerts, the Art Exhibition, the Music Festival and the Flower Festival. Throughout its history it has also been a general meeting place for the community as well as the place where people marry, have their children baptised and have their funeral services. In the past, although the main burden of maintaining the historic building has fallen on the parishioners, a few gifts and legacies have come from outside the worshipping community. So in recognition of all those people who are keen and willing to support their heritage, but may not wish to be part of the worshipping community, the Parochial Church Council sponsored the creation of a separate organisation as a focus for raising funds specifically to maintain the Church and its immediate environments. The Friends of St Mary’s Church in Cerne Abbas is a registered charity, and on Friday night it officially launched for membership.

anthony & choir

The evening was opened by the Vicar, the Rev. Jonathan Still and during the interval Kate Adie explained why a Church is such an integral part of a community, both physically and practically, and therefore is worthy of support by those who are not regular worshippers . At the end of the concert the Chairman of the newly formed Friends of St Mary’s, Anthony Garvey, thanked all the participants, particularly the choirs and Kate Adie, and encouraged everyone to sign up as members.
Website by Bob Foulser