The Auricula Suite at Calke Abbey 20th April

We are delighted to announce that following last year’s sell out première,  the first Auricula Suite  concert of 2013 will be at the home of England’s oldest surviving Auricula Theatre; Derbyshire’s  beautiful Calke Abbey on Saturday 20th April 7.00 pm – 9.30 pm. The gardens will be open 6pm – 7pm so you can take a wander and visit the auricula theatre.

Songs telling folk tales of a journey to a new land, of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning – inspired by the small alpine Primula auricula and its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees.

Written by Richard & Louise Duffy-Howard and performed by The My Ancestors were French ensemble Rich & Lou (guitars and vocals), Amanda Lowe (hammer dulcimer) and Quentin Budworth (hurdy gurdy).

All tickets £12.00 (includes a glass of punch on arrival) available online or from Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derby, DE73 7LE, Telephone: 01332 863822, Email:

The concert will be held in the Riding Stable and accompanied by Josephine Beattie’s beautiful fabric auricula hangings.

Jo Beattie’s Auricula Triptych

“What a fantastic evening the Auricula Suite concert is – beautiful people, music, and flowers. A room bursting with colour, love & enriched with mesmeric music…we all absolutely loved it!” Lynn Beaumont, Once Upon a Time Bears.  “The songs are lovely, memorable and haunting.”

Best Auricular_Theatre_Detail
Jo’s Auricula Theatre

Calke Abbey – the un-stately home and country estate

With peeling paintwork and overgrown courtyards, Calke Abbey tells the story of the dramatic decline of a country house estate. The house and stables are little restored, with many abandoned areas vividly portraying a period in the 20th century when numerous country houses did not survive to tell their story.

Discover the tales of an eccentric family who amassed a vast collection of hidden treasures. Visit the beautiful, yet faded, walled gardens and explore the orangery, auricula theatre and the kitchen gardens. Escape into the ancient and fragile habitats of Calke Park and its National Nature Reserve.

Spring at calke spring house calke


Auricula Suite Concert and Flower Show – Press Article

Following the success of last year’s sell out Auricula Suite premiere performance, East Riding Musicians ‘My Ancestors were French’ are preparing for a special Auricula Suite concert and flower display at Derbyshire’s beautiful Calke Abbey, the home of the oldest surviving Auricula Theatre.

The Auricula Suite, a tribute to the small alpine flower the Primula auricula uses live music, songs and spoken word to tell the folk tale of how the Huguenot refugees brought the flower to England in the 16th century. It is a tale of a journey to a new land, of persecution, love and loss, and a new beginning.

The My Ancestors were French ensemble comprises singer and songwriter Louise Duffy-Howard, guitarist Richard Duffy-Howard, Amanda Lowe (hammer dulcimer) and Quentin Budworth (hurdy-gurdy). The group will be celebrating the release of their album of songs The Auricula Suite to coincide with this special event.

The concert will be accompanied by artist Jo Beattie’s exhibition of fabric auricula hangings, created especially for Calke Abbey. Jo’s textile work features the beautifully coloured auriculas and like much of her work is based on memories, so is a perfect accompaniment to the concert.

The Auricula Suite is only performed in April and May to coincide with the flowering of the Primula auricula, so despite the success of last May’s sell-out premiere, fans of the Auricula Suite have had to wait a year for it to come round again.

Richard explains, “I have a growing collection of auriculas, and the idea to write the suite of songs began when we discovered the fascinating story of how they were brought here by the first people to be called ‘florists’, the Huguenot refugees. Auriculas are particularly nostalgic flowers, and the traditional way of displaying them on a miniature theatre complete with stage, curtains and even candles is appealing and unusual.”

Auricula Suite composer, Louise continues, “The music really came to life when we teamed up with internationally acclaimed hammer dulcimer and hurdy-gurdy players, Amanda Lowe and Quentin Budworth, whose 16th century style instruments perfectly suit the songs.”

The East Yorkshire based musicians new recording of the Auricula Suite, will be available at the concert at Calke Abbey.

Tickets £12 available online or from Calke Abbey Ticknall, Derby, DE73 7LE
Telephone: 01332 863822 Email:

“What a fantastic evening the Auricula Suite concert was – beautiful people, music, and flowers. A room bursting with colour, love & enriched with mesmeric music…we all absolutely loved it!” Lynn Beaumont, Once Upon a Time Bears “The songs are lovely, memorable and haunting.”


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