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St Oswald's

The parish church of Bollington

Bollington Road, Bollington Cross, SK10 5EG
07895 363 038



Sing-Along Hymns

Fr Jean-Baptiste de Santeuil (1630-1697)


He was a regular canon in the Abbey of St Victor, Paris. He was a respected poet in the Latin language, writing under the name of Santolius Victorinus.

A number of his hymns were translated into English, including Disposer Supreme, and judge of the earth as well as the ones provided here.

Hail! Princes of the host of heaven

The hymn Cælestis Aulæ Principes commemorates the twelve Apostles. It was translated by Revd John Chandler. He missed out one of the verses (which I too had some difficulty with, but I haven’t done much Latin-English translation since taking O-level Latin in 1964). The really tricky part is making the translation fit the metre of the tune. Chandler's other translations include Christ is our cornerstone and On Jordan’s banks the Baptist’s cry.

The tune St Sepulchre was written by George Cooper (1820-1876). It seems to be the only hymn tune he published. It is sometimes used as the tune for Jesus, where’er thy people meet. He was the third successive George Cooper to be the organist at the church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, London. His grandfather was organist 1784-1799, his father 1799-1843 and himself 1843-1876.

Hail! Princes of the host of heaven,
To whom by Christ, your chief, ’tis given.
On twelve bright thrones to sit on high,
And judge the world with equity.

‘Tis yours to cheer with sacred light
Those who lie sunk in sin’s dark night:
To guide them in the upward path,
And rescue them from endless wrath.

With no vain arts, no earthly sword,
Ye quell the rebels of the Lord:
The cross, the cross which men despise,
‘Tis that achieves your victories.

Through you the wondrous works of God
Are spread through every land abroad;
Thus every clime records your fame,
And distant ages praise your name.

And now to God, the Three in One,
Be highest praise and glory done,
Who calleth us from sin’s dark night,
To walk in His eternal light.

St Sepulchre

The untranslated verse is:

Quibus gemebat subditus,
Rumpuntur orbis vincula:
Iam gaudet, excusso iugo,
Liber Dei sub legibus.

O Sion, open wide thy gates

A hymn for Candlemas.

Psalm 24.7: Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!

This hymn was translated into English by Edward Caswall. In the first verse, the word “figures” is replaced in some hymnals by “symbols” (the original Latin is “figurae”).

The tune Bedford was composed by William Wheal (c1690-1727) and is the only surviving tune attributed to him. It appears as a setting of a metrical version of Psalm 84 in The Divine Musick Scholar’s Guide. Wheal was the organist at St Paul’s, Bedford from 1715 until his death.

O Sion, open wide thy gates,
let figures disappear;
a Priest and Victim, both in one,
the Truth Himself, is here.

No more the simple flock shall bleed;
behold the Father’s Son
Himself to His own Altar comes,
for sinners to atone..

Conscious of hidden deity,
the lowly Virgin brings
her new-born Babe, with two young doves,
her tender offerings.

The aged Simeon sees at last
his Lord, so long desired,
and Anna welcomes Israel’s hope,
with holy rapture fired.

But silent knelt the mother blest
of the yet silent Word,
and, pondering all things in her heart,
with speechless praise adored.

All glory to the Father be,
all glory to the Son,
all glory, Holy Ghost, to thee,
while endless ages run.


For each hymn we have provided a set of verses together with an electronically generated sound-track. The sound track does not provide any words - just the tune.

The selection of hymns to be included was subject to certain limitations, notably the restrictions of copyright. This meant that many modern hymns were excluded, and the exclusion even applied to some updated versions of traditional hymns. Some publishers have made a few minor changes to make hymns more "inclusive" and have then claimed copyright over the revised text. So in most cases the ORIGINAL texts have been used, even though these may not be the versions that appear in modern hymnals.

In deciding what tunes to be used, this has largely been the Webmaster's personal choice. It is a mixture of familiar tunes and tunes that are not well-known, but deserve to be better known. The webmaster has included some personal favourites (and excluded some pet hates!). The soundtracks provided go with the words provided - if there are four verses, the tune is repeated four times. Where possible tunes have been provided with descants or alternative arrangements.

Wherever possible, there is an explanation of who wrote the words or tunes, the circumstances under which they were written, when (and sometimes why). Many hymns include references to verses appearing in the King James Version of the Bible; more modern translations were not then available! In some cases we have tried to explain these scriptural references or other instances where words have changed their meaning over time.

This selection of "Sing-along Songs of Praise" was originally a series of blog posts written during the COVID Lockdowns of 2020. It was intended to allow people to sing hymns in the safety and privacy of their own homes at a time when hymn-singing in church was not allowed (even if the church building was open!).

When hymns are sung as part of a church service, it is normally the case that the hymn books are set aside at the end of the hymn and the next part of the service continues. There is no time to sit and reflect on the meaning or the beauty of words and/or music. This collection allows you to take your time, to read, listen sing along, reflect, and to repeat a hymn again if you wish.



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Last modified: 02 March 2021