Churches, chapels and preaching pits of Cornwall will fill with song this winter, as a special Christmas service celebrating the 19th century carols of the Cornish diaspora goes on tour.

After raising the roof of Truro Cathedral last year, this choral celebration and service brings together singers and writers, poets and speakers from all over Cornwall.

More than 200 voices will share a breath-taking selection of carols, which Cornish people took with them as they went in search of work during the mid nineteenth century.

This continuing project and special service is inspired by the research of Dr Kate Neale.

As part of her studies, Kate travelled to Cornish communities in the USA and Australia in search of the carols. The carol books carried by migrants from Cornwall were kept like treasures and hand copied by local choral leaders to ensure the music survived. Many of these handwritten scores are held in historical archives today.

By the turn of the century a new repertoire of carols began to emerge; inspired by the Cornish but written by local composers living in Grass Valley, California and Kadina, Moonta and Walleroo in Australia.

These carols are still sung in those communities today and a selection will be shared at each service.

The service, led by Canon John Halkes and local ministers will be an hour of worship, laughter and remembrances.

Apart from the old treasured carols, new writing, poetry and readings have been commissioned especially for the service. Simon Parker, Pol Hodge, Amanda Harris and Bert Biscoe will be amongst the contributors.

Canon Halkes said: “These carols are part of what our ancestors took with them when they went in search of work and religious freedom, of opportunity and adventure, of fulfilment and a reinvigoration of their spirit. In the lands and communities, they occupy their carols have survived, sometimes refashioned to suit new churches, sometimes closer to their originals than those we preserve and cherish here in Kernow."

The choir is formed of amateur and professional singers from throughout Cornwall.

They will learn the nineteenth century arrangements under the tutelage and leadership of Emma Mansfield, Matt Thomason and Hilary Coleman. The specially formed choir will be touring Cornwall during December to the iconic Gwennap Pit, St Just Miner’s Chapel and St Bartholemew’s Church, Lostwithiel.

Congregations will have the opportunity to attend services where these Cornish carols were sung over 200 years ago.

This project has been kindly supported by Arts Council England, The Jack Moon and Lors Fund and FEAST.

The Glad Sounds of Christmas service will take place at:

• St Bartholomew’s Church Lostwithiel on Saturday, December 7 (7.30-8.30pm).

• Gwennap Pit on Sunday, December 15 (3.30-4.30pm), or Camborne Wesley Methodist Chapel if it is raining.

• St Just Miners Chapel, St Just, Penzance on Saturday, December 21(7.30-8.30pm).

The service is free but organisers are asking those who want to attend to book a place via ticketsource and contribute to a retiring collection at