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St Oswald's

The parish church of Bollington

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

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Sing-Along Hymns

Bishop Richard Mant (1776-1848)
Revd John Mason (1645-94)
Kenneth Nicholson Naylor (1931-1991)

Richard Mant was an English clergyman who became a bishop in Ireland in 1820. He translated a number of hymns from the original Latin as well as writing some of his own. We have included the two best-known here.

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John Mason was Rector of Water-Stratford in Buckinghamshire for the last 20 years of his life, which ended in sensational circumstances. He had a vision of the Lord Jesus about a month before his death, and proclaimed the imminent Second Coming. People crowded into the village from the surrounding area, thinking that he was predicting both the time and the place. There were apparently extraordinary scenes of singing and dancing. The excitement was scarcely over when the old man died.

Revd John Mason wrote many other hymns that are rarely heard today. Revd John Mason Neale, the prolific translator of hymns into English, was named after him, his mother being a descendant of the old Rector.

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Kenneth Nicholson Naylor was a music master at the Leys School, Cambridge, which is near the open space called Coe Fen. He wrote two of the hymn tunes provided here.

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Richard Mant

Bright the vision that delighted

The prophet Isaiah is the “Judah’s seer” referred to in this hymn translated from the original Latin by Richard Mant.

The composer Richard Redhead (1820-1901) was for 25 years the organist at All Saints’, Margaret Street in London. He wrote many hymn tunes that are in regular use. This tune is known as Redhead No 46.

The descant provided here is by Donald Davison.

Bright the vision that delighted
once the sight of Judah’s seer;
sweet the countless tongues united
to entrance the prophet’s ear.

Round the Lord in glory seated
cherubim and seraphim
filled his temple, and repeated
each to each the alternate hymn:

‘Lord, thy glory fills the heaven;
earth is with its fullness stored;
unto thee be glory given,
holy, holy, holy, Lord.’

Heaven is still with glory ringing,
earth takes up the angels’ cry,
‘Holy, holy, holy,’ singing,
‘Lord of hosts, the Lord most high.’

With his seraph train before him,
with his holy Church below,
thus unite we to adore him,
bid we thus our anthem flow:

‘Lord, thy glory fills the heaven;
earth is with its fullness stored;
unto thee be glory given,
holy, holy, holy, Lord.’

Redhead No 46

For all thy saints, O Lord

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There are many versions of the text written by Richard Mant. The words shown here appeared in the 1906 edition of The English Hymnal.

The tune provided here is Eastville by Kenneth Nicholson Naylor (1931-1991). It can also be used for Breathe on me Breath of God.

For all thy Saints, O Lord,
Who strove in thee to live,
Who followed thee, obeyed, adored,
Our grateful hymn receive.

For all thy Saints, O Lord,
Accept our thankful cry,
Who counted thee their great reward,
And strove in thee to die.

They all in life and death,
With thee their Lord in view,
Learned from thy Holy Spirit’s breath
To suffer and to do.

For this thy name we bless,
And humbly beg that we
May follow them in holiness,
And live and die in thee;

With them the Father, Son,
And Holy Ghost to praise,
As in the ancient days was done,
And shall through endless days.

Eastville

How shall I sing that Majesty

This hymn by John Mason originally had twelve verses, but most are no longer considered suitable for singing these days. The setting here is for three verses; some hymnals include the additional third verse (shown below).

The tune Coe Fen by Kenneth Nicholson Naylor probably has a lot to do with the popularity of this hymn today.

[1] How shall I sing that Majesty
Which angels do admire?
Let dust in dust and silence lie;
Sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.
Thousands of thousands stand around
Thy throne, O God most high;
Ten thousand times ten thousand sound
Thy praise; but who am I?

[2] Thy brightness unto them appears,
Whilst I Thy footsteps trace;
A sound of God comes to my ears,
But they behold Thy face.
They sing because Thou art their Sun;
Lord, send a beam on me;
For where heaven is but once begun
There alleluias be.

[4] How great a being, Lord, is Thine,
Which doth all beings keep!
Thy knowledge is the only line
To sound so vast a deep.
Thou art a sea without a shore,
A sun without a sphere;
Thy time is now and evermore,
Thy place is everywhere.

Coe Fen

[3] Enlighten with faith’s light my heart,
Inflame it with love’s fire;
Then shall I sing and bear a part
With that celestial choir.
I shall, I fear, be dark and cold,
With all my fire and light;
Yet when Thou dost accept their gold,
Lord, treasure up my mite.

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: 05 March 2021