THE small Cotswold village of Down Ampney welcomed more than 1,000 classical musical lovers over the August Bank Holiday weekend for the Vaughan Williams Festival, held in the village of the composer's birth on the 60th anniversary of his death.

Over the weekend music composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, his mentors and contemporaries, was played by a stellar cast of musicians and singers at All Saint's Church.

Rev’d John Swanton, Vicar of Down Ampney said: “Ralph Vaughan Williams's father was Vicar of Down Ampney in the 1870s and Ralph was born here and baptised at All Saints’ Church. So it was entirely fitting that the church was the venue in which to listen to this world class music."

He added: “It was particularly poignant to listen to his ‘Songs of Travel’ sung by the tenor, James Gilchrist on the evening of Sunday, August 26 – the 60th anniversary of his death.”

Proceedings were opened on Friday night by renowned Cellist and Director of the Birmingham Music Conservatoire, Julian Lloyd-Webber, when the sell-out audience heard music from the early years of Vaughan Williams.

Festival President Debbie Wiseman, OBE, the composer of music for Wolf Hall, Edie, Father Brown and The English Garden, gave a fascinating and entertaining talk about the life and work of a composer and answered questions from the audience.

A spacious marquee provided cover for a display about the life of Vaughan Williams; history of the village and its association with Operation Market Garden in 1944.

Local produce was there to be sampled including wine from Poulton Hill Vineyard.

A Festival Ralph Vaughan Williams beer was served by Rambury Brewery as well as cheese and meats from Butts Farm. Internationally renowned marmalade and jam preserver, Vivien Lloyd, provided a Cream Tea.

Brett Russell, Chef Patron of Tierra and Mar in Cirencester hosted the reception for the final concert.

The final concert, with a capacity audience, marked the 100th anniversary of the RAF and commemorated those who served at RAF Down Ampney in the Second World War and took part in Operation Market Garden and D-Day.

People travelled from near and far to be at the festival. Two Canadian admirers of Vaughan Williams music came on holiday from Nova Scotia to the Cotswolds to be at the Festival and they weren’t disappointed.

So successful was the Festival that those who attended are asking for more.

Rev’d John Swanton hinted at more to come. He said: "Watch this space."

  • More details about the festival can be found at