Find an Evensong service near you: Cambridge chorister sets up Time Out-style Evensong guide


A former choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge is launching a Time Out-style guide to choral evensong around the country, he told the Independent.

Guy Hayward hopes the website will attract a new audience to hear the "world-class" music that is played daily in churches and cathedrals around the country. will be launched officially on 22 November and enables users to find sung evensong services local to them.

"Choral evensong is one of the richest cultural treasures of Britain. But most adults don't know about it," he told the Independent.

The website is the brainchild of members of the Hampstead Church Music Trust, based at St John-at-Hampstead church, and Dr Hayward, who has just completed a PhD on the power of singing to form community.

"It's a simple idea, but it allows people across the country to see that there are services near them," he said.

The website provides details on services at some 350 churches and cathedrals countrywide, many of which hold services daily.

"One of the extraordinary things about it is that there are paid choral singers, and there can be as few as five or 10 people, even in the big cathedrals," Hayward said.

The launch of the website coincides with the Feast of St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians.

Hayward hopes that the website might "make people realise what a big tradition choral evensong is."

The launch will involve the vicar of St. John-at-Hampstead blessing a laptop with the site running on a browser. has been set up to enable more people to attend evensong services around them.

Although a little odd, Hayward said it was simply a modern modification of a traditional practice in the UK.

"In Britain, we have been blessing the plough for hundreds of years.

"However, to avoid electrical malfunction, we may have to stick to smudging the laptop with incense or lighting a candle near it."

The Dean of Westminster Abbey and the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral have agreed to bless the site and Hayward hopes "we will be able to have a unified St Cecelia's Day blessing."

Hayward said he ultimately aims to widen access and attendance to evensong. "Our target is people who are spiritual but not necessarily religious, or just like music and don't know that they have this on their doorstep."

Evensong was established by Archbishop Thomas Cramner, who composed the service in 1547.