Our Story

Recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, Little Missenden is a beautiful and unspoilt village on the River Misbourne, at the foot of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, near the town of Amersham.

For more than 60 unbroken years, the village has hosted an annual festival which offers a programme of music, literature and art of the highest quality. Early, baroque, classical and contemporary music, jazz, folk, art lectures, literary discussions, poetry readings and children's events are all featured during the Festival.

The music ranges from classical masterworks to lesser known repertoires, and showcases promising young musical talents as well as renowned artists and composers.

Since its foundation the Little Missenden Festival has championed contemporary music as a major part of its artistic role. To this end the Festival has always commissioned new music - from John Tavener's Greek Interlude (1979) to, in recent years, Mark Bowden's Breaking Wheel (2018), The path is winding (2019) by John Woolrich and, in 2021, Autumn Songs by Julian Philips. This significant volume of work was further enhanced in 2022 by a commission from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Odysseus Weeps, which was performed at our Myth and Music concert.

Read what Classical Music Magazine had to say about the Festival here.

We produced a short history of the festival for our 60th anniversary which you can find here.

Amersham Museum hosts a fascinating biography of our inspirational founder, Pat Harrison, and a more detailed history of the early days of the Festival here.

The Church

Most events take place in the ancient village church of St John the Baptist, a small Saxon-cum-Norman building enriched with 12th-17th century wall paintings, dominated by a famous St Christopher.

A substantial Heritage Lottery Fund grant allowed extensive conservation work on these important artifacts to be undertaken during 2017 and resulted in the discovery of some previously unknown paintings.

This lovely place has a fine immediate acoustic and a wonderful atmosphere. Music heard at such close range has real impact and presence. A concert here is a very special experience.

Read more about the church, its history, and the wall paintings on the Church Website here

David Matthews

Pat Harrison (1905-1998)

Fazioli Pianos