‘How the ancient church of Salisbury was moved and a new one built’ by Henry d’Avranches

An extract from my verse translation of a 13th-century poem by Henry d’Avranches featured today as part of BBC Radio 4’s Sunday worship (read by actor Sir Simon Russell Beale), which this week marked the 800th anniversary of the foundation of Salisbury Cathedral. Salisbury Cathedral commissioned me to translate the poem last year, which is entitled De Translatione Veteris Ecclesie Saresberiensis et Constructione Nove, and describes the decision to move the cathedral from Old Sarum to its present site. The poem forms part of a manuscript now in Cambridge University Library (MS Dd 11 78). A version of my translation has also been set to music as ‘The Salisbury Anthem‘ by the composers Morgan Pochin, but cannot yet be performed because Salisbury Cathedral’s choir has been furloughed under the current pandemic.

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