The Word and the Sea at Holy Trinity

Whatever your religious outlook, there’s no denying the power of the language that can be heard reverberating around places of worship. Christianity and perhaps especially our island’s Church of England has long had a special relationship with the sea. We invite festival goers to take a few moments to visit Weymouth’s Holy Trinity Church on the harbour bridge to engage with some of the best ever maritime-themed writing.


Moby-Dick is the great American novel and remains the great whale book.  One of our festival speakers, writer Philip Hoare, invited leading actors, broadcasters, musicians and politicians to each read out loud a chapter of the book’s 135 chapters. These recordings will echo around Holy Trinity Church throughout the weekend. Enter, take a pew and hear the majesty of this whale’s tale in the most glorious surroundings.

Readers include:

  • Tilda Swinton
  • Stephen Fry
  • Simon Callow
  • Neil Tennant
  • Will Self
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Rick Stein
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
  • Sir David Attenborough
  • Cerys Matthews
  • David Cameron

The Reverend Richard Franklin has served the parishioners of Holy Trinity Church as vicar for 21 years, equalling the longest incumbency of any of his predecessors. He will be retiring two weeks after our festival, on Easter Day. Richard has promised to deliver a Sunday service of nautical majesty and we’d encourage anyone who loves the sea to attend.

Entry to Moby Dick Big Read and of course the Sunday service is free of charge. Moby Dick will be played from 09:00 – 16:30 throughout both days of the festival, with the exception of Sunday, as the Sunday service starts at 10:00, with the last parishioner expected to exit onto the harbourside by 11:30.



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