Monmouth School at St. Paul’s – 19th March 2014
Four hundred years to the very day that King James I signed the Letters Patent which legally (in the form of a Royal proclamation) established Monmouth School, over 2,000 pupils, staff and family members attended a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s was the ancient place of worship of the Haberdashers’ Company so it was with them that the occasion was marked in readings, hymns, anthems, and a sermon given by the Right Revd. Christopher Chessun, the Bishop of Southwark, himself a Haberdasher.
Music was provided by a choir jointly comprising the Chapel Choir of Monmouth School and the Chamber Choir of HMSG. The singers had been rehearsed by Mr. Lawson and Mr. Conway and sang on the day under the baton of Monmouth School Director of Music David Lawson. One of the anthems was specially commissioned for Monmouth School as part of a new Eucharist setting for use in its chapel; the Gloria from the Monmouth Eucharist by former Westminster Cathedral Master of the Music Colin Mawby was a fitting introit for a celebration of thanks and achievements. Four magnificent hymns, with descants, brought everyone together in music and the anthem, Edward Bairstow’s matchless Blessed City, Heav’nly Salem, resounded around the great Dome. A parent remarked afterwards we were half way through the service before we realized it was not the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In the same way that Wren is memorialized in his great masterpiece, Christopher Chessun, in the Golden Lecture, observed that William Jones, had he been with us on the day, would have been pleased and proud that his legacy is working so effectively to educate the young people of the 21st Century. If we seek Jones’ monument, we only need look to the achievements of those who study in his Schools.