A former Tudor mansion is offering visitors the chance to listen to an audio reconstruction of a 16th-century Mass.
The Vyne, a country house near Basingstoke where Henry VIII attended Mass, has worked with historians and musicians to record a Lady Mass as it would have sounded in Tudor England. The website explains: “You’ll hear the subtle change in volume of the priest’s voice as he turns from the altar, the clink of the thurible chain as incense is blessed, even the faint rustle of clothing.”
Visitors can sit in The Vyne’s chapel and witness an immersive experience, with a surround-sound system enabling the priest’s voice, the choir’s singing and other noises to come from the same position in the chapel where they would have in real life. The music is Nicholas Ludford’s setting for a Mass in honour of Our Lady. It is a polyphonic composition for boys’ voices.
The house was originally built for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII’s friend, who was later appointed Lord Chamberlain.
Henry VIII visited The Vyne three times. The first occasion, in 1510, was with his wife Catherine of Aragon. The third time was as part of his 1535 royal progress around the country, on which he was accompanied by Anne Boleyn. In the same year, St John Fisher and St Thomas More were executed.
A year later Henry harshly suppressed the Pilgrimage of Grace, a Yorkshire rising against the King’s break with Rome. One of the leaders of the uprising was Lord Darcy, the brother-in-law of Lord Sandys – though Sandys himself seems to have remained loyal to Henry.
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