This wonderful occasion in the city’s diary, rescued from obscurity through the noble efforts of Alan Myatt, Gloucester’s Town Crier, includes a service at St Mary de Crypt attended by various dignitaries and with contributions from young and old representing many different facets of Gloucester life. [Exceptionally in 2018, due to the refurbishing works, the service will be held at Brunswick Baptist Church]
The Siege of Gloucester was to be finally brought to an end when the Royalist forces brought from Bristol a large siege engine to breach the walls; this would enable the besiegers to engage a defending force depleted and running out of gunpowder. This device on which so much reliance had been placed proved to be a disaster, and the ignominious fate of ‘Humpty Dumpty’ was cruelly celebrated by the wit of ‘Glawster’ folk in the well-known rhyme that still lives on in children’s books. In recent years the moment has been remembered as part of the Gloucester Day service, not only with the plainsong singing of the original two verses (yes, two!), but with an added verse to reflect the main issues of the year. This is the six-part chant used most recently (the words in italics are the change in each part from the chant note):
|Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Could not put Humpty together again
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
|Humpty Dumpty fell in a beck,
With all his sinews around his neck;
Forty surgeons and forty knights
Could not put Humpty Dumpty to rights
Humpty Dumpty fell in a beck,
With all his sinews around his neck.
|Third verse 2013:|
Humpty Dumpty is no more,
|Third verse 2014:
Under curious proposals that brought forth much disbelief, Gloucester Westgate Ward (that includes a large part of the city centre), was to be re-located to the Forest of Dean
This sad encounter with the city of Gloucester,
|Third verse 2015:
An exciting year of World Cup Rugby at Kingsholm, the appointment of Bishop Rachel to Gloucester (the first woman bishop to be appointed to a diocese), and rugby-ball shaped characters around the city
|In this September Two Thousand And Fifteen AD
When Gloucester leads in receiving as its bishop a lady
May we proclaim with joy and humbly
The part we’ll play at Kingsholm for World Cup rugby
And even welcome the return of that Humpty Dumpty,
Now transformed into a genial, unifying Scrumpty.
|Third verse 2016:
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 90th birthday, Rio de Janiero hosted the Summer Olympics, and Britain voted to leave the EU
|And now, after 6 and 30 decades of civil unity,
In a compact both Royal and Parliamentary,
We are ruled by our gracious nonagarian Queen ER II,
While governed by those houses of chosen and elected few,
And stand united in pride for Team GB at the Rio Olympics,
Before facing up to life post-Brexit.
|Third verse 2017:
St Mary de Crypt and the adjoining Tudor school was about to be closed for the major refurbishment works as part of the ‘Discover deCrypt’ project. Attended by Bishop Rachel, who proved herself to be a ‘very good sport’
|Although no longer in crossfire Parliamentary and Royal,
This place will now be beset by united forces armed with pick and trowel.
But when the new dins cease and the dust-storms settle,
And builders, work done, retreat with their JCB and tea-kettle
Church and school will re-emerge with fresh purpose (and much cosier),
Perhaps even to be blessed anew by Bishop Rachel brandishing her crosier.
|Third verse 2018:
Embargoed until 12.00 noon, 15th September
Churchwarden St Mary de Crypt