There has been a choir at Bristol Cathedral since the reign of Henry VIII, and a tradition of music probably since the days of the Augustinians who founded the abbey in 1180.

Since 1542 when Thomas Denny was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers there have been 32 holders of this post, leading the choir to ensure that "the praises of God shall day by day be sung with perpetual jubilation."

Bristol Cathedral has an illustrious musical heritage, boasting Edward Gibbons, brother of Orlando, and Elway Bevin, pupil of Tallis, among its former Organists.  This is as well as the first performance, in 1758, of Handel`s Messiah to take place in an English Church.  John Wesley was also present in the congregation.

The present choir consists of 16 Choristers, all of whom are educated at Bristol Cathedral School, and 6 Lay Clerks.  At weekends the number of men increases to 9, being supplemented by a combination of Supernumerary Lay Clerks and Deputies.

Choral Evensong is sung everyday by either the full choir, the Choristers, the Lay Clerks or the Girls' Choir. The repertoire is broad with music from plainsong to the latest contemporary works.

In 1975 the Choral Foundation was established to provide assistance in funding the Choristerships, and now provides a scholarship to the value of 50% school fees.   As well as the regular routines of daily services, the choir enjoys a wide range of other activities including radio and TV work, appearances in the Opera Tosca at the Bristol Hippodrome in October 2000.  As well as participation in the Four Choirs Festival, as well as Bristol Cathedrals own music festival.


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