Thursday 28th November 2019

Speaker: Roger Askew

The origins of our English Christmas stretch far back into European history, combining the pagan traditions of the Roman and Scandinavian winter festivals. Only in the 4th century AD did the Christian Church start to celebrate the birth of Christ. Since then these different cultures have co-existed, changing as the social and political landscape changed.Music, art and folk customs associated with the season have all evolved, producing a rich tapestry of imagery and events that have appealed to every strata in our society.This lecture explores in words, images and music the various strands, pagan and religious, that have created the one festival in our country that touches everyone.


Roger was a chorister at Wells Cathedral School and a choral scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated with an honours degree in English.  He combined a teaching career with professional singing in London, and after obtaining a further degree in Music became Director of Music at Daniel Stewart’s and Melville College in Edinburgh.

After retiring in 2003 he returned to the south of England.  He is President Emeritus of The Stoke Poges Society and Chairman of Windsor and Maidenhead Decorative and Fine Arts Society.