Original score brings burning of Stratford martyrs to life

Burned at the stake, the tragic demise of 11 martyrs on Stratford Green will be brought to life in West Ham Church this weekend.

Only the second performance of the piece ever, ‘Fire on the Green’ is an original work by Jon Cullen, a local composer and conducter of the All Saints Chorus, with a libretto by Marva Rees.

The performance, written for a wind and string orchestra in imitation of a 16th century consort, tells the story of the martyrs sacrificeo n June 27 1556 which is also commemorated with a memorial in the churchyard of St John’s on Stratford Broadway.

Born in Newham, Jon was a chorister at West Ham Paris Church while he attended Rokeby School before growing up to become the organist at St Matthis in Canning Town.

After completing a degree in composing and conducting at Middlesex University, Jon formed the All Saints Chorus which he has conducted, and composed for, since 1994.


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Jon said: “If there is an underlying message, it is that all forms of religious and political intolerance are wrong, and although ‘Fire on the Green’ remembers the martyrs of 1556, in reality it commemorates all who suffer for their beliefs, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

Sarah Kelly, secretary of the Chorus, said: “It is a privilege to be part of such a diverse community group who enjoy coming together to produce quality music, but what is most amazing is that we also have the fact Jon is an outstanding composer.

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“Such a piece with local connections and real human interest really adds to the emotion of the night.”

‘Fire on the Green’ will be performed at West Ham Parish Church (All Saints), Church Street, Stratford, E15 3HU on Saturday June 30 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available on the door or can be booked in advance by emailing enquiries@allsaintschorus.org.

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