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St Oswald's

The parish church of Bollington

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



Sing-Along Hymns

Revd William Walsham How (1823-1897)


He was born at Shrewsbury and baptised at St Chad’s in that town. He was ordained in 1846. He was Rector of Whittington, Shropshire for about twenty years and went on to be the first Bishop of Wakefield.

He was particularly fond of children, and was commonly called the children’s bishop.

He wrote a number of hymns, of which the two best-known are included here.

His other hymns include Thou art the Christ, O Lord.

For All the Saints

A familiar hymn for which a number of tunes have been written. It's a shame that we only ever seem to sing one of them!

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesu, be forever blessed.

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia! Amen

The tune Sine Nomine was composed by R Vaughan Williams and was included in The English Hymnal, the hymn-book he edited with Revd Percy Dearmer. Apparently, when the various editions of Hymns Ancient and Modern were brought out, RVW refused to allow his tune to be included in this rival publication. Nevertheless, four other tunes were found to include in Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford provided Engelberg. And he certainly pushed the boat out. He provided five different organ accompaniments for different verses. The version provided here includes them all. In the fourth verse, the melody line is shared between the altos and tenors while the sopranos go off doing their own thing.


This tune Saints’ Rest was written by Francis Everard William Hulton (1845-1922). He was the organist at St Luke’s Chelsea from 1870 to 1904. There are actually two tunes here – one is used for verse 1,2,7 and 8, the other for the middle four verses.

Saints’ Rest

The tune Sarum by Joseph Barnby was much less elaborate. We've just included one verse. In this version, the Alleluia is sung twice.


And finally, here is Sine Nomine by R Vaughan Williams.

Sine Nomine

It is a thing most wonderful

A children's hymn by Bishop How. If you went to Sunday School it will probably be very familiar!

The tune is Herongate, one of the English folk-song tunes collected by R Vaughan Williams.

You can read the original words to the song In Jessie’s city, Oh there did dwell a postman boy I loved so well at the bottom of this page.

It is a thing most wonderful,
almost too wonderful to be,
that God’s own Son should come from heaven,
and die to save a child like me.

And yet I know that it is true:
He chose a poor and humble lot,
and wept and toiled and mourned and died,
for love of those who loved Him not.

I cannot tell how He could love
a child so weak and full of sin;
His love must be most wonderful
if He could die my love to win.

I sometimes think about the cross,
and shut my eyes and try to see
the cruel nails and crown of thorns,
and Jesus crucified for me.

But even could I see Him die,
I could but see a little part
of that great love which, like a fire,
is always burning in His heart.

It is most wonderful to know
His love for me so free and sure;
but ’tis more wonderful to see
my love for Him so faint and poor.

And yet I want to love Thee, Lord;
O light the flame within my heart,
and I will love Thee more and more,
until I see Thee as Thou art.


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: 20 March 2021