Celebrated Tudor music to be performed in fine north Norfolk church, with Anne Boleyn connections

Salle Church, water colour by Gerard Stamp. Pictured: Supplied by Alison Young

Salle Church, water colour by Gerard Stamp. Pictured: Supplied by Alison Young - Credit: Archant

It has been called the finest historic church in Norfolk, and one of the best in Britain.

And the 15th century church of St Peter & St Paul in Salle, near Aylsham, will soon resound to anthems from the golden age of Elizabethan and Jacobean church music.

The William Byrd Choir, which is an ensemble of young London-based professional singers specialising in the music of the late Renaissance, will perform there at 6pm on Saturday, July 22.

Their director Gavin Turner has organised a number of musical events in North Norfolk in recent years.

The choir's programme of Elizabethan and Jacobean church music will be drawn from the English cathedral repertoire in what was a golden age of Anglican church music.

As well as anthems by Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Weelkes and Thomas Tomkins, the concert includes the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis of William Byrd's Great Service.

The William Byrd Choir gave previous impressive concerts at Salle in 2014 and 2015.

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The church has long been a favourite venue for concerts, not least the Music in Country Churches series which has often been attended by the Prince of Wales.

The church was built between 1400 and 1450, financed by wealthy wool merchants.

Rather than using cheap local flint, the prosperous Mauteby and Ufford families paid for expensive Barnack stone to be transported from Peterborough.

Geoffrey Boleyn or Bullen, paternal grandfather of Anne Boleyn, the second of Henry VIII's wives, also contributed to the building of the church, and lived in Salle himself. The family were first recorded in Salle as early as 1318.

As their wealth increased, Geoffrey bought the Blickling estate where Anne Boleyn was born; although the Jacobean mansion that we know today was built much later around 1624.

Legend suggests that after her death at the Tower of London Anne Boleyn's body was exhumed and taken to be buried at midnight at Salle next to her grandfather Geoffrey, and even that her ghost has been seen to walk at Salle on May 19, the anniversary of her death in 1536.

tickets can be pre-booked at the Norwich Theatre Royal box-office, 01603 630000, or at www.williambyrdchoir.com