As the afternoons grow darker and the brilliance of the autumnal colours turn to a dreary brown, thoughts turn towards the darkness of winter and the light of Christmas. With the school closed over the Christmas holidays, it is no surprise that there are few images or anecdotes of Christmas at Sedbergh.

However, one thing the archives are not short of is the recording of the spirit of Christmas among pupils and staff, past and present. Here, the archives bulge with the anticipation of the light and the celebrations to come: the giving and receiving of Christmas cards; pupils’ poems of the season; descriptions of school productions, rugby matches, Festival Evensongs and Christmas concerts. Christmas concerts have been recorded since the first Sedberghian in 1884, when the carol ‘Adeste Fideles’ (commonly known as ‘O Come all ye Faithful’) customarily started the proceedings. The first school song, ‘Sedberghiam nactus es’, was ‘the great attraction’ of the Christmas concert of 1884.

The annual wish for a white Christmas is also recorded with vigour in the archives: snow in Sedbergh is practically mandatory at this time of year! In December 1912, The Sedberghian reported: ‘Lily Mere froze only to be covered with snow, and the snow when at last deep enough for winter sports immediately began to thaw,—yet skates, toboggans, and skis were all going for three or four days: bandaged fingers shewed that there was plenty of excitement to be got, and scarred features that you could always toboggan on your face, if nowhere else.’

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas from the Archives.

Poem In The Jay 1950
Poem In The Jay 1950

Steph Carter
Sedbergh School Acting Archivist