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CfP - Music and Majesty: Chapels Royal, Cathedrals, and Colleges, c.1485-1688.

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

1st - 2nd July 2024 | Linnean Society of London, Burlington House

procession of men associated with chapel royal in tudor period from BL, Add MS 35324, f.31v.
BL, Add MS 35324, f.31v.

The period 1485-1688 has been heralded as a ‘Golden Age’ for English church music, which equipped theChurch of England with a rich musical repertory for its liturgy, still heard in churches and cathedrals today.Royal chapels, cathedrals, and collegiate institutions are acknowledged as unique sanctuaries whichsafeguarded English church music from a variety of socio-political events. Although their importance to themusical and religious development of the English ‘long Reformation’ has received considerable attentionfrom historians and musicologists, interdisciplinary perspectives and discussions are vital for the futuredevelopment of this field.

Understanding the way in which royal chapels, cathedrals, and collegiate institutions engaged with a musicalliturgy for a Protestant Church has important consequences for understanding many of the key themes andtensions of the English Reformation: how was musical liturgy reconciled with the doctrinal Calvinism of thepost-Reformation church? How different was royal worship compared with that of cathedrals and collegiatechurches? Can we better understand the sensory experience of worship in such extraordinary ecclesiastical spaces? To what extent did these institutions change, and to what degree were they truly seen as models forthe broader church? These questions will help us interrogate the musical, theological, and liturgical heritageof the English Reformation, and contribute to our understanding of the post-Reformation English church.

Join us for this exploration of space, music, and ceremony during this transformative period in Englishchurch history. This two-day conference, hosted by the Linnean Society of London, is generously fundedby the British Academy. We are grateful to be able to offer a limited contribution towards speakers’accommodation and travel. While this conference is primarily in-person, online hybrid provision forspeakers unable to travel is possible.

We invite submissions of 20-minute papers from contributors across all disciplinary backgrounds and careerstages. Themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Religious and liturgical change in royal chapels, cathedrals, or collegiate institutions

  • Musical innovation or composers

  • Architectural developments

  • Royal authority

  • Liturgical orthodoxy

  • Soundscapes and space

  • Sensing and worship

  • Institutional identity

  • Music and theology

  • Organology

  • Confessional identities

Please submit an abstract of c.200 words as well as a short bio by the 10th of December, 2023. For inquiries and submissions, please contact Katie Bank (University of Birmingham), Oscar Patton (Merton College,Oxford), and Samuel Teague (The Queen’s College, Oxford) at

Selected papers from the conference may be considered for publication in a volume as part of the series, Proceedings of the British Academy.



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