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Queenswood is an extraordinary place with extraordinary people. It would be our privilege to educate your daughters here.

Queenswood Singers Perform at a Very Special City of London Christmas Carol Service

Friday 16 December 2022

The Queenswood Singers took part in a unique Christmas carol service at St James Garlickhythe on Friday 9 December, at the invitation of Chair of Governors, Mr James de Sausmarez, who was recently appointed Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, a City Livery Company.

We asked Mr de Sausmarez to tell us the history of this ancient tradition.

There are 110 livery companies, comprising London’s ancient and modern trade guilds, almost all of which are styled the ‘Worshipful Company of’ their respective craft, trade or profession. These livery companies promote, and encourage excellence in, their respective craft, trade or profession and play a significant part in the life of the City of London, not least by providing charitable-giving and networking opportunities. Liverymen retain voting rights for the senior civic offices of the Lord Mayor and the Sheriffs at the Old Bailey. Some are ancient and some are modern. The Chartered Secretaries and Administrators are a modern Livery Company and number 87 in the order of precedence. Masters are appointed usually for a one year period and I commenced my year of office in October. The Master acts as the executive Chairman of the Company.

Most Livery Companies will hold four formal lunches, dinners or banquets in the year plus other less formal events and an annual Church Service and a Carol Service. 

The Master has a major influence on each occasion, deciding location, speakers, menus, wines etc. This includes the Carol Service which reflected my personal connections – the Queenswood Singers were the choir, the carols were my favourites, my old Vicar (the Reverend Paul Hunt) gave the homily and my close friends in the Livery read the lessons. There was one non-biblical reading – ‘Behold, I Stand’ by Gerard Kelly. This poem is a powerful reminder of the real meaning of Christmas and I was introduced to it by the late Reverend Shirley Clayton, a past Chaplain of Queenswood.

The Queenswood Singers sang beautifully and all the members of the Livery Company were very impressed. After the service they joined the Company at dinner as my personal guests and Miss Phillips led an after dinner sing-song of carols including a very raucous ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’.


When the night is deep
With the sense of Christmas
And expectancy hangs heavy
On every breath,
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

When the floor is knee deep
In discarded wrapping paper
And the new books are open at page one
And the new toys are already broken,
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

When the family is squashed
Elbow to elbow
Around the table
And the furious rush for food is over
And the only word that can describe the feeling
Is full,
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.

And when Christmas is over
And the television is silent
For the first time in two days
And who sent which card to whom
Is forgotten until next year,
Behold, I stand at the door.

And when the nation has finished celebrating
Christmas without Christ
A birthday
Without a birth
The coming of a kingdom
Without a King
And when I am

Behold, I stand.

Gerard Kelly