There are probably not many old Salisbury choristers who can remember singing this chorus:

Sing to the praise of the dear old days

As we once sang together in the choir,

When we were boys together and life was all fair weather

In the shadow of Salisbury Spire.

These words come from ‘A Song of Salisbury’, the subject of this week’s Bygone Salisbury, and it was dedicated to Miss Elizabeth J Vaux with words by A.E Collins and music by Sydney W Hart; it cost 2s. It was written for “old choristers” and was originally sung by Mr W.S. Phillips. Comprising of five verses they all recall the pleasures to be enjoyed as a boy in and around Salisbury. One verse says:

Oh for a glimpse of Harnham Mill

Where the waterfall ceases never,

Or a stroll through the follies on Harnham Hill

Where the dead leaves lie for ever,

Where the rumbling cart went down with its load,

And a sauntering lad by the cart

And every rut in the chalky road

Was dear to a chorister’s heart.

Other verses sing of the glory of a tramp on Odstock road, views of Pepper Box, the sight of Old Sarum’s height, a row through Britford’s reeds and the rare beauty of The Close. Reminiscing in 1967, Mr D Sutton recalled singing the song many times. The song, apparently, was written for former members of the Choristers’ School in the Close.

But pointing out a reference in the first verse to “roaming at Salisbury here and there” Mr Sutton said: “In fact this roaming was strictly against the rules except when allowed out of bounds on Saturdays to spend our weekly pocket money of 3d at a grocer’s shop just outside the High Street Gate, on a tin of golden syrup or some other luxury.”


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