A carol with close links to Bitton was one of twenty voted by readers of the Guardian as their favourites. What’s yours?
IN DULCI JUBILO is an ancient carol, apparently written by a German mystic, Heinrich Seuse, after a vision in which he heard angels sing. Written in a mixture of Latin and German it was translated into English in 1837 by Robert Pearsall who also set it in an eight part harmony for choirs. It is this version (though usually in a four part harmony) that is frequently sung by choirs at Christmas and is a regular in the Christmas Eve service of Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast from King’s College, Cambridge.
Pearsall lived at Willsbridge House in Bitton before moving to Germany and then Switzerland. His tombstone is in the porch of St Mary’s church in Bitton.
It is difficult to imagine Christmas without carols, some of which date back many centuries. This Sunday, at St Mary’s, our own service of Lessons and Carols will take place starting at 6.30pm. In addition to many well known pieces, the choir will be joining many others around the country in singing a very old English carol, The First Nowell, to a new tune by Bob Chilcott. You will be most welcome to this service, which is followed by the serving of mulled wine and mice pies.
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