"The emphasis on the commemoration of Ralph Vaughan Williams this year should be about the moral greatness that comes from such a commitment to art... Go out, and listen to his music - and not just the obvious, popular favourites - and you will begin to see dimensions to this titan you had not thought existed." Simon Heffer
Ralph Vaughan Williams
The famous British composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in The Vicarage in Down Ampney, where his father - The Reverend Arthur Vaughan Williams - was vicar. Ralf was baptised at All Saints' Church, by the vicar of Latton, a neighbouring parish. As it so happened, the Rev'd Hyde Beadon was himself a hymn writer. Little did he or RVW's parents know that one day Ralph would become one of the celebrated composers of the twentieth century and edit The New English Hymnal.
Although RVW did not live for long in the village of Down Ampney, he certainly had an affection for his place of birth. He named one of his most famous hymns tunes after the village, which accompanies the words of the hymn "Come down, O love divine".
2022 marked the 150th anniversary of RVW's birth and at Down Ampney we celebrated this important anniversary year. We held a special Accession Day Service on 6th February 2022 to mark HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
A concert series was held during the summer and autumn, which featured:
The Cantores Choir : Merton College Choir, Oxford : Orlando Jopling : The Magini Quartet :
The Vaughan Williams Singers : Moonrakers : 'From Pub to Pulpit' by Oxus and Broomdashers :
Octavo : Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra
Choral Evensong at Gloucester Cathedral on Wednesday 12th October to mark RVW's birthday, broadcast by BBC Radio 3; and a peal of bells at All Saints' Church, Down Ampney in the evening.
A new stained-glass window by Tom Denny was commissioned and installed in All Saints' Church - it's theme was 'Pilgrim's Progress' - an opera by RVW. It was Dedicated on Sunday 11th December by the Bishop of Gloucester in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
"Visiting the beautiful church at Down Ampney recently, I was hugely impressed by the way All Saints' celebrates the life and work of Ralph Vaughan Williams. He is one of our greatest Englishmen and it is right and uplifting that his native village is so proud of him."
Simon Heffer April 2022
Duke of Gloucester
with Vicar December 2022
by Tom Denny
Duchess of Gloucester
Accession Day 2022
by Tom Denny