Category Archive: Bookseller

We Three Kings of Orient are

We Three Kings of Orient are

13th December 2019

‘We Three Kings of Orient are’ has always been a crowd-pleaser (and a magnet for children who enjoy changing the words). An American carol, it first appeared on p. 12 of John Henry Hopkins‘s Carols, Hymns, and Songs (New York, Church Book Depository, [1863]): ‘Hopkins was rector of Christ’s Church, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, when he published […]

God rest ye merry Gentlemen

God rest ye merry Gentlemen

12th December 2019

It’s Election Day in the UK and, as luck would have it, we have a political Christmas carol here in the office! According to Fuld, the music of ‘God rest you merry gentlemen’ ‘is said to have been in a broadside printed … about 1796, but no copy of the broadside has been found.  The […]

The first Noel

The first Noel

11th December 2019

Continuing our Christmas carol countdown, it’s ‘The first Noel’! The first appearance of ‘The first Noel’ (without music) was in the second edition of Davies Gilbert‘s Some ancient Christmas Carols, with the Tunes to which they were formerly sung in the West of England (London, John Nichols and Son, 1823): In this second, expanded edition, ‘there […]

Hark! the Herald Angels sing

Hark! the Herald Angels sing

10th December 2019

Last night, BBC Four broadcast a programme with Lucy Worsley revealing the surprising stories behind some of the nation’s favourite Christmas carols. ‘Hark! the Herald Angels sing’ got a mention, so we thought we would feature it ourselves today. As we wrote yesterday on the blog, the carol was included, along with the first appearance […]

Lo! he comes, with clouds descending

Lo! he comes, with clouds descending

9th December 2019

Today, we feature the carol ‘Lo! he comes, with clouds descending’, which first appeared in A Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes never published before (London, ‘To be had at the Lock Hospital near Hyde Park Corner, and of E. Dilly’, 1769).  Charles Wesley’s classic Advent hymn, which dates from the 1750s, received its tune […]

O little town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem

6th December 2019

Yesterday, we featured a carol that first appeared in The English Hymnal (1906). Today is the turn of another beloved carol which appeared for the first time in that book: ‘O little town of Bethlehem’. This carol owes its origin to the folk song revival of the early twentieth century, which is often twinned with […]