History of the Choir
When the present Minster was built in the 13th century, the chancel, which accommodated the choir, was constructed first in order that services could be conducted with music.
Daily services continued to be sung until the Reformation. In 1531, records show that a John Merbecke was listed as receiving payment ˜in reward for songs by him given to the church’. He later moved to St George’s Chapel, Windsor, to become a ˜singing man’ and one of two organists. He collaborated with Archbishop Cranmer to publish his ˜Book of Common Prayer Noted’ (i.e. set to music).
After the Dissolution in 1548 the Minster was re-established as a Parish Church. Since this time the Minster Choir, despite its amateur status, often reaches the performing standard of many a cathedral choir and has broadcast on several occasions.
A photograph exists of the choir taken in 1933 showing the organist and choirmaster Dr John Camidge. He retired in 1933 at the age of eighty.