For many in the Anglican tradition, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. Churches all over England and beyond will be having their own carol services this week, and of course the service from the chapel of King's College Cambridge on Christmas Eve will be broadcast around the world. But how far back does the tradition go?
It was Edward White Benson, the first Bishop of Truro and later Archbishop of Canterbury, who created the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. It was first held at 10 pm on Christmas Eve 1880 in the wooden shed which served as his temporary cathedral in Truro. You can read more about the history of the service on the Guardian Music Blog and on the website of King's College Cambridge.
St Thomas Becket's own Service of Nine Lessons and Carols is on Saturday 21 December 2013 at 5 pm