Carols
at the Cross

You are invited to come and sing Carols at the Old Cross, Old Ryton village, on the Tuesday before Christmas eve from 6.30pm.
Ryton Church bells will ring from 6pm. You can download a song sheet from this site. There will be a collection.

COVID-19 2020

This year we cannot gather to sing on the village green but you can still join in the celebrations. Follow the link from this site to join us streaming online from 6.25pm, Tuesday 22nd of December. A small band will play all the carols for you to sing along with at home. There will be a short recording of Ryton Bells and you can hear two songs from the Caedmon choir in the middle. This year there will not be a collection, if you would like to support St Oswalds Hospice please go to their website. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

COVID-19 2020

This year we cannot gather to sing on the village green but you can still join in the celebrations. Follow the link from this site to join us streaming online from 6.25pm, Tuesday 22nd of December. A small band will play all the carols for you to sing along with at home. There will be a short recording of Ryton Bells and you can hear two songs from the Caedmon choir in the middle. This year there will not be a collection, if you would like to support St Oswalds Hospice please go to their website. We look forward to seeing you all next year.

What is Carols at the Cross?

Carols at the Cross is a community celebration of traditional carol singing held on Ryton Village Green each year on the last Tuesday before Christmas Eve. It starts at 6pm with the bells of Holy Cross Church, Ryton. The Ovington Tynedale Reunion Band come together every year to play 12 carols starting at 6.30pm with the Caedmon Choir singing two pieces at the mid-point. We take a collection each year with the profits going to St Oswald’s Hospice. For many years local singers have continued the celebrations inside Ye Olde Cross Pub with the Sheffield carols and some local folk-carol favourites. Everyone is welcome.

It started in 1986 with a group of brass players from the Ryton based ceilidh band ‘Brass Neck’ playing some carols under the street lamp by the old village cross. Before long it had grown into one of the most popular carol singing events in the North East. Carols at the Cross has featured on national and local TV and in glossy magazines.

Every year brings something different and we have never cancelled the event. There has been rain, snow and ice but more often clear, crisp and cold winters evenings. The community comes together to meet up with friends and family to sing and kick start their holiday celebrations. Occasionally there have been players performing the High Spen Mummers Play and Rapper Sword Dance Teams have performed the dances from Blaydon, Swalwell, Winlaton and High Spen. There has always been a warm welcome from all the pubs in the village.

Whats on?

When is it?

Carol’s at the cross is set on the first Tuesday before Christmas eve every year. If you would like to take part in the festivities feel free to come down to Ryton old village we cant wait to see you there. For any questions you have, feel free to get in touch.

The Carols

Song sheets containing the words to all the carols will be available on the night. However, feel free to download the sheets as a pdf document from the link below

The Carols

Song sheets containing the words to all the carols will be available on the night. However, feel free to download the sheets as a pdf document from the link below

The Ovington Tynedale Reunion Band

The Ovington Tynedale Reunion Band are a group of brass band players who get together specifically to play at The Carols at the Cross. They have been with us come rain or shine (but as the event starts at 6:30pm just before Christmas then the sun has never really ‘shined’). 

You can see the brave musicians arriving from 6:00pm onwards setting up to the sound of the Ryton Church bells. A few years ago the band used to practice in Ryton Community Centre. They no longer have a permanent rehearsal space but they assure us that they practice for many weeks before the event (and it shows!).

If there are any budding brass players amoung you who wish to join a band in the area, then speak to a member of the band after the event and they will be only too pleased to give you contact details of one of the many thiving brass band still playing in the North East.

Caedmon Choir

The Caedmon Choir is a folk choir now based at The Sage Gateshead. They began way back in 1987, started by Eddie Upton the then Folk Artist in Residence with Gateshead Council’s Arts Development Team. Their first performance was a celebration of Christmas and so it was fitting that they were asked to perform at Carols at the Cross giving the band a well earned break and delighting us with one or two suitable ‘secular’ Christmas songs. If you wish to know more about the choir, have a look at their web site at caedmonchoir.co.uk

Caedmon Choir

The Caedmon Choir is a folk choir now based at The Sage Gateshead. They began way back in 1987, started by Eddie Upton the then Folk Artist in Residence with Gateshead Council’s Arts Development Team. Their first performance was a celebration of Christmas and so it was fitting that they were asked to perform at Carols at the Cross giving the band a well earned break and delighting us with one or two suitable ‘secular’ Christmas songs. If you wish to know more about the choir, have a look at their web site at caedmonchoir.co.uk

The Bells

The Ryton Church Bell Ringerspractice on a Wednesday night from seven to half eight (after which you will find some of them in the Old Cross). There are eight bells in the tower (for you bell ringers out there they are ’13-3-18 in E’).

The Bells are a wonderful addition to the Carols at the Cross event. They start ringing at around six o’clock calling the people down to the village green to share in the traditional Carol singing in front of the Old Cross.

The Bells

The Ryton Church Bell Ringers practice on a Wednesday night from seven to half eight (after which you will find some of them in the Old Cross). There are eight bells in the tower (for you bell ringers out there they are ’13-3-18 in E’).

The Bells are a wonderful addition to the Carols at the Cross event. They start ringing at around six o’clock calling the people down to the village green to share in the traditional Carol singing in front of the Old Cross.

Sheffield Carols

There is an area to the west of Sheffield where carols are sung in pubs rather than church or from door to door. In each village, for 2 or 3 hours the whole pub is taken over by people singing “village carols”. These carols are a bit different from the ones we sing in Ryton outside on the village green. This tradition, which used to be widespread in England, has existed since Victorian times. It has undergone a strong revival in recent years, and does not just happen at Christmas.

For the last few years, after the main carols Ryton Village Green with the brass band, we “retire” to Ye Olde Cross pub for a good festive sing, including several of the Sheffield carols, other traditional ones, as well as a few jokey ones. Everyone is welcome to join in.

You don’t need to worry too much about words, as we do three different sets of “While Shepherds Watched” (Sheffield have 14, all excellent), and there are song sheets to share

The words for the Sheffield Carols can be downloaded here as a pdf file

If you are interested in carol singing in Sheffield, a full diary of events in that area can be found at www.localcarols.org.uk

Ye Olde Cross Pub

The Pub (Ye Olde Cross) re-opened in 2019 as a community pub and is once again ready to host the ‘Carols at The Cross’ event. We look forward to meeting friends old and new in the pub after the singing.

Check out the webpage of this superb village pub

Gallery

All pictures from Carols at the Cross were taken by Isa Wilson. If you have any pictures from your own experience from carols at the cross send them to info@carolsatthecross.org.uk or share them to our Facebook page. 

The Carols at the Cross community is so important to us, it’s really what this whole event is about. We would love to see your pictures and will add them to our ever-expanding gallery.

Poster

Due to the Corona Virus, we have no poster available this year. But we urge you to spread the word through social media and get as many people as you can involved with singing the carols this year by, joining us on-line at 6.25pm on Tuesday 22nd December

Poster

Due to the Corona Virus, we have no poster available this year. But we urge you to spread the word through social media and get as many people as you can involved with singing the carols this year by, joining us on-line at 6.25pm on Tuesday 22nd December

Where is it?

The Old Cross in Ryton, Tyne, and Wear is an old market cross situated on the village green.  There is a pub by the same name and it is around the entrance to the Old Cross Pub that we gather on the Tuesday before Christmas Eve.

Contact Us

For further information about Carols at the Cross, e-mail us or visit our facebook page for regular updates