Ascension Day Rooftop Singing

Where: Selected churches countrywide (see Helpful Hints)
When: Ascension Day
Time: Early morning (usually)


Ascension Day is an important landmark in the Christian calendar, commemorating the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. It takes place on the 40th day after Easter and is always a Thursday, though the date varies as Easter is a moveable feast. It used to be common all over the country for choristers to climb up church towers and onto church roofs to sing early on Ascension Day morning and while in many cases this has died out, sometimes for safety reasons, there are still quite a number of cathedrals and major parish churches in which it still occurs. The times vary a little though it’s mostly around 6.30-7.30am and you can usually expect singing to last around 1/4 of an hour though again this will vary from one location to another. One of the best known is St John’s College, Cambridge, and theirs happens at 12 noon (see separate article).

Helpful Hints

In 2018 Ascension Day will be on Thursday 10th May.

As there are quite a number of venues on the list, I’d advise double-checking before you turn up, just in case, because I won’t get a chance to do all of them every year!

So far I’ve found that the following churches are still celebrating Ascension Day in this way:

Gloucester Cathedral (7am)

Southwell Minster (7.30am)

St Mary’s Nottingham (7.30am)

Great St Mary’s Cambridge (7.45am)

St John’s College Cambridge (12 noon)

Exeter College, Oxford (early morning but not yet sure what time)

Holy Trinity Church,Skipton (7.30am)

Lichfield Cathedral (7.15am)

Southwark Cathedral (7.30am)

St Michael Cornhill, London (after 7pm Eucharist)

St Michael & All Angels, Maidstone (6.30am)

Please let me know if you’re aware of others!