In 1880, E. W. Benson, then Bishop of Truro, drew up a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, based on [...]ancient sources, for use on Christmas Eve in the wooden shed which served as his cathedral. In 1918, this was adapted for use in the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge by its Dean, Eric Milner-White, who also wrote the Bidding Prayer. This prayer has been slightly altered for use in today’s service, but the essential elements of structure, style and content remain unchanged. The service always includes nine lessons from the Bible, carols sung by the choirs, and hymn-carols sung by choir and congregation, accompanied by organ and brass. The Marsh Chapel service includes all of these elements, and always begins with the traditional opening carol, “Once in royal David’s city.” King’s College, Cambridge continues to hold the service annually, which is broadcast world-wide over the BBC World Service.
Hosted by Marsh Chapel on December 3, 2010.