Monday's celebration of the College's 400th anniversary was an inspiring day of pageantry, words and music.
The Master and Chair of Governors set off mid-morning from the Boat House in Putney on Gloriana, The Queen's Rowbarge, and carried a signed letter of congratulations to the College from HM The Queen. Gloriana was rowed downstream by the College's oarsmen, who performed a Royal salute on passing the Palace of Westminster, and was greeted by the Junior School as it passed under Millennium Bridge and arrived at Blackfriars Pier.
The service began at 2.30pm with a magnificent rendering of Vaughan Williams' arrangement of the Old Hundredth. It was a beautifully balanced occasion of words and music and our choir and musicians did us proud, as did the Cathedral’s Organ Scholar James Orford OA. A highlight was when the Queen’s letter was brought into the Cathedral by the oarsmen and School Captain, entering through the Great West Doors, which had been specially opened for the occasion, and was read by the Master. Dr. Spence then reflected on the themes of the Old and New Testament Readings readings and the place of Edward Alleyn’s vision of service, learning and humility in the twenty-first century.
We were delighted that our speaker was Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy, who encouraged pupils to look outwards from the College in their pursuit of languages and intellectual enquiry.
The service concluded with the singing of the School Song, and Jerusalem, a reading from Shackleton’s South, and the pealing of the Cathedral's bells (the second largest ring of bells in the world).
We are deeply grateful to all members of the College community for making the day possible, as well as to the clergy and staff of the Cathedral for the warmth of their welcome.