Music and Majesty: Chapels Royal, Cathedrals, and Colleges, c.1485-1688 – CALL FOR PAPERS

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Date / time: 10 December, 12:00 am

Linnean Society of London

Music and Majesty: Chapels Royal, Cathedrals, and Colleges, c.1485-1688 - CALL FOR PAPERS


Call for Papers, deadline – 10 December 2023

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

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

The period 1485-1688 has been heralded as a ‘Golden Age’ for English church music, which equipped the Church 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 which safeguarded English church music from a variety of socio-political events. Although their importance to the musical and religious development of the English ‘long Reformation’ has received considerable attention from historians and musicologists, interdisciplinary perspectives and discussions are vital for the future development of this field.

Understanding the way in which royal chapels, cathedrals, and collegiate institutions engaged with a musical liturgy for a Protestant Church has important consequences for understanding many of the key themes and tensions of the English Reformation: how was musical liturgy reconciled with the doctrinal Calvinism of the post-Reformation church? How different was royal worship compared with that of cathedrals and collegiate churches? 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 for the broader church? These questions will help us interrogate the musical, theological, and liturgical heritage of 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 English church history. This two-day conference, hosted at the Society of Antiquaries, London, is generously funded by 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 for speakers unable to travel is possible.

We invite submissions of 20-minute papers from contributors across all disciplinary backgrounds and career stages. 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.

image from BL MS 35324 f.31v