Church picture StOsHeader

St Oswald's

The parish church of Bollington

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



Sing-Along Hymns

Revd Frederick William Faber (1814-1863)


He was an Anglican clergyman who converted to Roman Catholicism.

Faber's family was of Huguenot descent, and Calvinist belief. At Oxford University, Faber was exposed to the Anglo-Catholic preaching of the Oxford Movement which was beginning to develop in the Church of England and eventually abandoned the Calvinistic views of his youth and became an enthusiastic follower of J H Newman. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1839 and accepted the position of rector at a church in Elton, (now in Cambridgeshire) in 1843. Dissidents packed his church each Sunday in an attempt to challenge the Catholic direction he was taking the congregation in and few people were surprised though when, after prolonged mental struggle, Faber left Elton to follow his hero Newman and join the Catholic Church, into which he was received in November 1845.

He wrote a number of hymns, those provided here are the most familiar to Anglicans.

Hark, hark, my soul, angelic songs are swelling

This hymn was published in 1854. The setting here is for five of the original verses; the missing two are shown below.

The tune Pilgrims was written by Henry Smart (1813-79). He was an organist and organ designer (he designed the organ for Leeds Town Hall in 1858). He was one of the five organists invited to perform at the Great Exhibition of 1851. His eyesight began to fail at the age of 18 and forty years later he went completely blind. However, this did not stop him playing the organ. His most famous hymn tune is Regent Square (used for Light’s abode, celestial Salem and Lord of beauty, Thine the splendour.) He also wrote Misericordia, one of the tunes for Just as I am, without one plea.

[1] Hark! hark, my soul! Angelic songs are swelling
O’er earth’s green fields and ocean’s wave-beat shore;
How sweet the truth those blessèd strains are telling
Of that new life when sin shall be no more!
Angels of Jesus, angels of light,
Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night.

[3] Far, far away, like bells at evening pealing,
The voice of Jesus sounds o’er land and sea,
And laden souls, by thousands meekly stealing,
Kind Shepherd, turn their weary steps to thee.
Angels of Jesus, angels of light,
Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night.

[4] Onward we go, for still we hear them singing,
“Come, weary souls, for Jesus bids you come”;
And through the dark, its echoes sweetly ringing,
The music of the Gospel leads us home.
Angels of Jesus, angels of light,
Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night.

[5] Rest comes at length, though life be long and dreary,
The day must dawn, and darksome night be past;
Faith’s journeys end in welcome to the weary,
And heaven, the heart’s true home, will come at last.
Angels of Jesus, angels of light,
Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night.

[7] Angels, sing out your faithful watches keeping;
Sing us sweet fragments of the songs above;
Till morning’s joy shall end the night of weeping,
And life’s long shadows break in cloudless love.
Angels of Jesus, angels of light,
Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night.


[2] Darker than night life’s shadows fall around us,
And like benighted men we miss our mark:
God hides Himself, and grace hath scarcely found us,
E’er death finds out his victims in the dark.
Angels of Jesus, angels of light,
Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night.

[6] Cheer up, my soul! faith’s moonbeams softly glisten
Upon the breast of life’s most troubled sea,
And it will cheer thy drooping heart to listen
To those brave songs which angels mean for thee.
Angels of Jesus, angels of light,
Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy

The settings here are for six of the original twelve stanzas - the missing ones are shown below.

The tune Cross of Jesus is by John Stainer. It is taken from his best-known work The Crucifixion.

And as a bonus, there are a couple of verses of a modern tune Amplitudo by Donald Davison. Amplitudo can be translated from Latin as “wideness”, so I guess the tune was written specially for this hymn.

[1] There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in his justice
Which is more than liberty.

[2] There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgment given.

[4] There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.

[5] For the love of God is broader
Than the measures of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

[11] But we make his love too narrow
By false limits of our own
And we magnify his strictness
with a zeal he will not own.

[8] If our love were but more simple,
We should take him at his word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.

Cross of Jesus

two verses only

[3] There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.

[6] There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.

[7] ’Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
It is something more than all;
Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall.

[9] Souls of men! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep?

[10] It is God: His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems;
’Tis our Father: and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.

[12] Was there ever kinder shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Saviour who would have us
Come and gather at His feet?

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.



The Parish Church, its building, activities and clergy are entirely funded by voluntary contributions.

We do NOT receive any financial support from the Government, the Diocese, or the Church Commissioners.

Please visit our Donations page to see how you could help to keep us operating both as a centre of worship and as a resource for the local community

Sign up to be a

Support us every time you shop on line through



The picture of the chalice is symbolic of:
"A joyful image of a Eucharistic community which knows how to celebrate God's goodness to us but also how to reach out to the community and connect with those in need, in pain, in difficulty, who feel lost or neglected, or that they don't belong."

Come and join us! Explore this website to find out about our activities. We look forward to seeing you soon at one of our services or events!

diocese logo
Last modified: 03 March 2021