Abberton Church

Rectory Lane, Abberton, CO5 7NJ


Accessibility: Ridges, but no steps; wheelchair access possible

A beautiful, intimate, atmospheric church in a great setting with a fantastic view over the Abberton Reservoir.

Catch the train to Colchester station and then it is a 20-minute taxi ride – try 01206 577777

One of our Festival goers was inspired to write the below poem during and after the performance Jonathan Manson gave at Abberton church in 2014.


The Cellist Transcends

(Jonathan Manson at Abberton Church)

On a still, dry day, the small white church at capacity.

The mirror of the adjacent reservoir reflecting thoughts and wishes.


Without greeting, he plunges into the mere of his music.


He evokes Bach from the womb of the cello,

stroking moonlight from its timbre.


He married the cello in a church like this many years ago.


Now, as he ages, he grows more and more around

its carapace, his chest concave for the cello’s torso,

the cello’s bole between his thighs.


In advanced age, cello will exceed cellist.


He is a scion grafted to its stock.


The chalice he has been given to drink water from

resides at his feet whilst he plays, collecting the notes

that rise through the sacred air, kiss the church roof

and then descend. Blessed is the chalice.


The Bach is sombre, though not depressingly so,

the cello jumping out of shadows. I see dark corridors

with shafts of light beneath the doors that lead from them,

the train of a robe (purple or cobalt blue)

rounding a corner, skimming parquet floor.


But the cellist has transcended all this, taking

to a floating platform above the mirror of the reservoir.


The mirror intensifies the cello’s sound,

and the ascending notes, now without ceiling,

journey sublimely with birds on the wing.