Christopher Monk Church Serpent in C after Baudouin

This is my Christopher Monk church serpent in C, a keyless instrument made of sycamore and wrapped in black leather. It stands as one of the last instruments crafted in England by Christopher Monk, a player and maker credited with reviving this obscure instrument before his passing.

Modeled after an original serpent by the French maker Baudouin, which was owned by Monk, this model is an exceptional replica. It boasts a robust sound and offers good playability despite its purely keyless design. I’ve been informed that the brass work was completed by the renowned sackbut maker, Frank Tomes.

While I seldom perform with this instrument nowadays—it’s now a display piece in my home—I continue to appreciate its presence. My Perre Ribo serpent, with its four keys, has become my primary choice. Additionally, I recently acquired an original Boudouin serpent previously owned by Douglas Yeo, and there’s nothing quite like playing on the genuine article! Nonetheless, I enjoy keeping this Monk serpent around, having used it on various film scores and video game soundtracks, especially for my friend and composer Austin Wintory, who shares a deep love and respect for the serpent.

Fortunately, I was also able to acquire its relative, the original Contrabass serpent named “George,” which stands as Monk’s final masterpiece.