Click for the home page

   Click for what to seeClick for what to readClick for what to teach


Click for what to hear



what  to   HEAR



One book has been published on the music of Reading Abbey:-

Marr P 1971, Reading Abbey - an introduction to music at the Abbey, Reading Museum & Art Gallery.


Reading Abbey is famous for the song 'Sumer is icumen in' which was written down in the Abbey about 1240. The original document is held in the British Library, Harley MS 978 f 11b, and is the earliest known four part harmony from Britain. The original manuscript is on display in the British Library in the John Ritblat Gallery. It is on the  left as enter, opened at Sumer is icumen in. Headphones are playing the song sung by Hilliard ensemble (Harmonia Mundi, HMC 901 154 (1985). A copy of the manuscript and more information is on the website

Other recordings and information is available if you put "sumer is icumen in" into the search on

Click here to go to the page on "sumer is icumen in".

The services of the monks in the choir stalls of the Abbey were sung in Gregorian chant or plainsong.   Douai Abbey near Woolhampton a few miles west of Reading is a modern monastery, Benedictine as was Reading Abbey, and Gregorian chant is regularly sung by the monks there. For further details visit their website  gives many websites with information and details of acquiring and hearing Gregorian chant if "gregorian chant" is entered into the search facility. 

Copyright Reading Museum Service from "Reading Abbey", published by Reading Museum & Art Gallery 1988.

site mapFriends of Reading Abbey  |  contact