School goes back to its roots

Christ's Hospital senior choir SUS-180326-155527001
Christ's Hospital senior choir SUS-180326-155527001

On Thursday March 8, Christ’s Hospital returned to its city roots to mark history dating back to medieval times.

The school’s senior choir, Schola Cantorum, sang at the Spital Sermon service at St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall.

The sermon, on the subject of ‘wisdom’, was given by The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

Spital is derived from the word ‘hospital’, specifically the one named St Mary Spital founded in 1197, and historically, the object of the ‘sermon’ was to attract donations to charities, especially to the Royal Hospitals.

It was at a Spital Sermon in 1553 (the year Edward VI granted Christ’s Hospital’s Royal Charter), that the pupils of the School were first seen in public dressed in their bluecoat uniform.

Historically, the sermon was preached from the old open-air pulpit at St Mary Spital on three days of Easter week. They were eventually reduced to two days and then to a single day. A new Easter anthem was composed annually and printed copies were distributed that included advertisements for the School with requests for donations. The tradition ceased in 1862.

The Spital Sermon was attended by the Lord Mayor of the City of London and the Lady Mayoress together with the Sheriffs and Aldermen, common councilmen, governors of Christ’s Hospital and King Edward’s School Witley (also a Royal Hospital) and the treasurer, headmaster and clerk of both schools.

Christ’s Hospital’s senior Grecian (head pupil) Peter Batchelar and second monitor, Rebecca Stamp, were also in attendance.

Christ’s Hospital was founded over 460 years ago and is the leading charitable boarding school in the UK for bursaries; 75 per cent of its pupils receive a free or fee-assisted boarding place and 25 per cent pay the full day or boarding fee. Visit www.christs-hospital.org.uk