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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 Bright (1824-1901)
Revd William Henry Hammond Jervois (1825-1905)


William Bright

William Bright was ordained deacon in 1848 and priest in 1850. He does not seem to have worked as a parish priest, but was Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford. He was sub-dean of Christ Church, Oxford from 1895. He wrote a number of hymns, the two provided here are probably his best-known.

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William Jervois was Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Munster Square, London and was on the Committee that compiled the English Hymnal, although he died the year before it was first published. The family name was pronounced “Jarvis”. At the time of his ordination (deacon 1878, priest 1879) his father was Governor of South Australia.

Once, only once, and once for all

This Communion hymn by William Bright was published in 1866.

The tune Albano was composed by Vincent Novello (1781-1861). He was English, but his father was Italian. He was a chorister and organist, but he is best known for publishing and popularising music; with his son he created a major publishing house. He wrote a few hymn-tunes; this is the one most often sung these days.

Once, only once, and once for all,
His precious life He gave;
before the Cross our spirits fall,
and own it strong to save.

‘One offering, single and complete,’
with lips and hearts we say;
but what He never can repeat
He shows forth day by day.

For as the priest of Aaron’s line
within the Holiest stood,
and sprinkled all the mercy-shrine
with sacrificial blood;

So He, who once atonement wrought,
our Priest of endless power,
presents Himself for those He bought
in that dark noontide hour.

His Manhood pleads where now it lives
on Heaven’s eternal Throne,
and where in mystic rite He gives
its Presence to His own.

And so we show Thy death, O Lord,
till Thou again appear;
and feel, when we approach Thy Board,
we have an Altar here.


He sat to watch o’er customs paid

A hymn to commemorate Saint Matthew, whose day is 21 September.

The Bible tells us that Matthew was a publican (in the King James version) or tax collector (in more modern translations). The job description in those days had nothing to do with inn-keeping. A publican was a middleman between the Roman rulers and the general public. He would arrange supplies for the legions, levy port duties and collect whatever other taxes the Romans decided on. He would not have been paid by the Romans, but would have made a living by adding a percentage on top of what tax was payable. Some tax-collectors became very rich. So publicans were doubly reviled by the people – not only were they having to pay tax to the Romans, but they didn’t like paying the “service charge” as well. “What have the Romans ever done for us?” asked Reg (aka John Cleese).

The Bible also tells us that Jesus saw Matthew sitting by the customs house and said to him “Follow me”. And he got up and followed him. The same story, almost word for word in St Luke’s Gospel, is told about Levi, but it is not certain whether Levi and Matthew were the same person. In fact, there is no Biblical evidence that St Matthew’s Gospel was written by Matthew – it was attributed to him in the 2nd Century. But as a publican, he would have been literate, possibly in multiple languages. And he is certainly described as one of the twelve Apostles. The words of the hymn by Revd William Bright (1824-1901) describe Matthew’s role as publican and then Apostle, but do not mention his role as one of the four Evangelists.

William Bright wrote the words. The composer of the tune Alfreton (published in 1708) is not known.

He sat to watch o’er customs paid,
A man of scorned and hardening trade,
Alike the symbol and the tool
Of foreign masters’ hated rule.

But grace within his breast had stirred;
There needed but the timely word:
It came, true Lord of souls, from Thee,
That royal summons, ‘Follow Me.’

Enough, when Thou wast passing by,
To hear Thy voice, to meet Thine eye:
He rose, responsive to the call,
And left his task, his gains, his all.

O wise exchange! with these to part,
And lay up treasure in the heart;
With twofold crown of light to shine
Amid Thy servants’ foremost line.

Come, Saviour, as in days of old;
Pass where the world has strongest hold,
And faithless care and selfish greed
Are thorns that choke the holy seed.

Who keep Thy gifts, O bid them claim
The steward’s, not the owner’s name;
Who yield up all for Thy dear sake,
Let them of Matthew’s wealth partake.


And now, O Father, mindful of the love

This Communion hymn by William Bright was published in 1874.

It is often set to the tune Unde et memores by W H Monk, but here it is coupled by the ancient tune Song 1 by Orlando Gibbons.

And now, O Father, mindful of the love
that bought us, once for all, on Calvary's tree,
and having with us him that pleads above,
we here present, we here spread forth to thee
that only offering perfect in thine eyes,
the one true, pure, immortal sacrifice.

Look, Father, look on his anointed face,
and only look on us as found in him;
look not on our misusings of thy grace,
our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim:
for lo, between our sins and their reward we set the Passion of thy Son our Lord.

And then for those, our dearest and our best,
by this prevailing presence we appeal:
O fold them closer to thy mercy's breast,
O do thine utmost for their souls' true weal;
from tainting mischief keep them white and clear,
and crown thy gifts with strength to persevere.

And so we come: O draw us to thy feet,
most patient Saviour, who canst love us still;
and by this food, so aweful and so sweet,
deliver us from every touch of ill:
in thine own service make us glad and free,
and grant us never more to part with thee.

Song 1

Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants

This Communion hymn by William Jervois may not have been published in his lifetime. It appeared in the 1906 edition of the English Hymnal.

The hymn is usually sung to the 17th century French tune Christe fons jugis, but here it is coupled with Gerard by Arthur James Bramwell Hutchings (1906-1989), who was Professor of Music at Durham University and later at the University of Exeter. He was for many years a Director of the English Hymnal Company.

Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants
Here bring before thee Christ thy well-belovèd,
All-perfect Offering, Sacrifice immortal,
Spotless Oblation.

See now thy children, making intercession
Through him our Saviour, Son of God incarnate,
For all thy people, living and departed,
Pleading before thee.


The phrase Unde et memores is the start of a section in the Latin Roman Catholic mass:
Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, eiusdem Christi, Filii tui, Domini nostri, tam beatæ passionis, necnon et ab inferis resurrectionis, sed et in cælos gloriosæ ascensionis: offerimus præclaræ maiestati tuæ de tuis donis ac datis hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sanctum vitæ æternæ et Calicem salutis perpetuæ.

In English: Wherefore, O Lord, we Thy servants, and likewise Thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed Passion of the same Christ Thy Son, our Lord, together with His Resurrection from the grave, and also His glorious Ascension into heaven, offer unto Thy excellent Majesty, of Thy gifts and presents, a pure Victim, a holy Victim, an immaculate Victim: the holy bread of eternal life, and the chalice of everlasting salvation.

The name of the tune by W H Monk would therefore seem appropriate for the hymn Wherefore, O Father, although the metre doesn't fit and the words of the hymn were probably written after W H Monk's death.

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: 07 March 2021