Lighting up Hexham Abbey’s rich history for special anniversary in 2024

First published on: 31st January 2024

A year of celebration will get underway this weekend as Hexham Abbey marks its 1,350th anniversary throughout 2024.

A spectacular schedule of events is being planned as one of the earliest seats of Christianity in England reaches this significant milestone.

It will get started on the weekend of 2-4 February, when a Festival of Flame will see a light display both inside and outside of the Abbey. The installation, which will include candles and music, will be accompanied by music.

The opening weekend will begin with a series of 10-minute talks on Saturday 3 February, where leading historians will give an insight into the Abbey’s remarkable history. The talks will also take place on Saturdays 10 and 17 February.

A special service to mark the start of the anniversary celebrations will take place on Sunday 4 February at 10am, when the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley will be joined by the Rector of Hexham Abbey, the Revd Canon David Glover.

This weekend will also see the launch of Stars for Eternity, which will see no fewer than 5,000 origami stars suspended high above the Abbey’s old choir stalls – with each star representing someone special from past or present, nominated by local people. The art project is involving schools and community groups and will be similar to the On Angel Wings display, which was successful during the pandemic.

More events, including festivals and concerts, are planned for later in the year and David is excited for what lies ahead.

He said: “Not many institutions in the world get the chance to celebrate 1,350 years of life and so this is a really exciting year for the Abbey. Over the next 12 months we will give thanks for all who have contributed to the Abbey’s long history. But we also want to look ahead and remember that God is calling us, in this generation, to keep alive the light of the Gospel. I do hope you will visit the Abbey during the year and find a wonderful welcome.”

Last year, the Abbey launched a series of organ recitals titled Phelps at 50, to celebrate the 50th birthday of its Phelps organ – installed to mark the building’s 1,300th anniversary back in 1974.

These are continuing in 2024 with recitals every other Thursday at 1pm. They will culminate in August with a guest appearance from James Lancelot, who was organist at Durham Cathedral for 32 years before his retirement in 2017. To find out more click here


Pictured: One of the previous light installations at Hexham Abbey.

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