The castle and park of Grimsthorpe in Lincolnshire, England which inspired The Vauday Part Songs are the products of a millennium of English history. The park itself contains the pre-history of England in the remnant of Kesteven Forest. The four poems explore the themes of time and eternity, divine purpose in human history and the nature and meaning of memory.
The Oaks opens up the scale of time taken in the creation of the Grimsthorpe landscape, describing one of the ancient ‘Kesteven’ Oaks; its free form allows for open-ended reflection. Stone, in the form of an Elizabethan Sonnet, tells the story of the key period in Grimsthorpe’s history, the dissolution of the Cistercian Abbey of Vauday, and the destruction of the Abbey by Charles Brandon to make a royal lodging. The Carriageway takes the listener on a journey through the park from the Little Bytham gates through the site of Vauday, past the lake and up to the castle. The poem is in the form of a lyrical ballad and reflects the romantic ideal of beauty at work in the design of the park. In Memoriam is the result of many hours of worship and prayer in the chapel, its free form echoing the mystical qualities of The Oaks. It touches the deep humanity at the heart of this place and community.
The Vauday Part Songs were commissioned by the St Peter’s Singers who also performed the premiere at Grimsthorpe Castle in the summer of 2005.