Nigel Kerry: OLEM: Yolande Lyne-Stephens and the creation of a Cambridge church

Speaker: Nigel Kerry

Nigel has been Organist and Director of Music at OLEM since 1998.  He read Theology at Oxford University followed by organ studies at the Royal College of Music with Nicholas Danby.   He has performed recitals in such prestigious venues as Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, King’s College Cambridge, while being the first organist from the UK to perform at the National Organ and Chamber Music Hall in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Like his teacher before him, he is recognised as an inspired and articulate teacher of his instrument.

As well as teaching organ at Cambridge University he is organ tutor to the choristers of King’s College School. In 2024, Mercer Books will be publishing ‘Practising for Eternity’, his biography of the famous monk/musician, Dom Gregory Murray of Downside.


Synopsis: Set across the lawns of Downing College, bordering Hills and Lensfield Roads, the ‘Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & the English Martyrs’ although coming late to the city, is now one of its most treasured landmarks.  With its huge lantern tower and a spire the height of Ely Cathedral, it is one of the country’s largest Catholic churches and parishes, with a weekly attendance of over two thousand. Providentially, the vast amount of money needed to construct such a huge church, came from an unlikely source – a former ballerina born into abject poverty in the slums of Paris in 1812. The lecture will explore the circumstances that led to Yolande Lyne-Stephens paying for the entire cost of the church and rectory, together with all their fixtures, fittings, silverware and vestments, thus creating one of the finest churches of the Catholic revival.


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Event information


07 Feb 2024


2:15 pm


Wednesday Lecture - online and U3AC, Pink room. Places for in person attendance must be pre-booked. Bookings open from 7 days before the lecture.