Thaxted Parish Church

Thaxted Parish Church
01371 831421
Clarance House
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    Thaxted Parish Church is often referred to as the Cathedral of Essex because of its beauty, grandeur and impressive size. With its light and spacious interior, it has a fine acoustic, providing a wonderful setting for the annual Thaxted Festival.

    These qualities were appreciated by the composer GUSTAV HOLST who fell in love with the town in 1913 when on one of his long walking tours. The following year, he moved into a cottage at Monk Street, one mile away, where he worked on The Planets, and in 1916 organised the first Whitsuntide Festival in Thaxted.

    These early festivals - joyful occasions, according to his letters - continued until 1918. By then he had moved to Town Street in Thaxted, occupying a house called The Steps near the Guildhall from 1917 to 1925. The blue plaque placed to the right of the front door is on the wall of what was his music room. Jack Putterill, one of Holst's London students, served as Curate in Thaxted from 1925 to 1937, and as Vicar from 1942 to 1973. He was responsible for organising many concerts with well-known orchestras and soloists, and other musical activities in the Church.

    The modern Thaxted Festival was started by the late Michael Snow in 1980, and its present pattern of four summer weekends dates from 1987, soon after the establishment of the Thaxted Festival Foundation, which is a registered charity. The Festival is run entirely by volunteers. Many members of the audience return to the Festival year after year, and newcomers continue to discover it. A sense of anticipation, excitement and deep pleasure in the wide choice of music is always evident, and each evening offers a life-enhancing experience.

    Opposite the Church is Clarance House, a perfect example of the Queen Anne style, which is used as the Festival Club, where refreshments are available before each concert and during the interval.

    Thaxted Church