Hymns Ancient and Modern

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hymns Ancient and Modern
Commissioned by William Denton, Francis Murray, Sir Henry Williams Baker, 3rd Baronet
Approved for Church of England
Released 1861
Publisher Canterbury Press
Pages 1151
Number of Hymns 533
For the Passion album, see Passion: Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Hymns Ancient and Modern is a hymnal in common use within the Church of England. Over the years it has grown into a large family of hymnals.


The idea for the hymn book arose in 1858 when two clergymen met on a train: William Denton of St Bartholomew, Cripplegate, and Francis Murray had published each[clarification needed] the Church Hymnal and the Hymnal for Use in the English Church.[1] [2] Denton was the father of Charles Ashpitel Denton. Both were part of the Oxford Movement.

The idea arose from their discussion of the need for standardisation of the hymn books in use throughout England. They founded a board, called the "Proprietors", which oversaw both the publication of the hymnal and the donation of the profits to appropriate charities, or to subsidise the purchase of the hymn books by poor parishes.


Early editions[edit]

Title page of the first edition, 1861

The first edition, musically supervised by William Henry Monk,[3] was published in 1861 by Novello & Co, with 273 hymns. They also published the 1868 Appendix; but following negotiations, the whole publishing project was placed in the hands of William Clowes and Son later that year. It was revised in 1875 by Monk to produce the second edition, to which Charles Steggall added several supplementary hymns in 1889. In 1904 a "new and revised edition" was published, edited by Bertram Luard-Selby. After many complaints about the difference between this and its predecessors, Charles Steggall's edition was republished in 1906 as the "Complete edition".

Standard edition[edit]

In 1916 the "old complete edition" was republished for the last time, with a second supplement by Sydney Nicholson. In 1922, the "standard edition" was published, more strongly based on the "old complete edition" than the less popular "new and revised edition". This also was edited by Nicholson, who was the musical editor until he died in 1947.

Revised edition[edit]

In 1950 the "revised edition" was published, with G. H. Knight and J. Dykes having both edited since the death of Nicholson. Many hymns were weeded out from the 1950 edition as the editors wished to make space for more recent compositions and to thin out the over-supplemented previous versions.

New Standard edition[edit]

In 1975 the proprietors formed a limited company and a registered charity, and in 1983 published the "New Standard edition": this comprised 333 of the 636 hymns included in A and M Revised (AMR) and the entire 200-hymn contents of 100 Hymns for Today (HHT, 1969) and More Hymns for Today (MHT, 1980).

Common Praise[edit]

In 2000 Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd, through its subsidiary the Canterbury Press, published a new hymnal, this time called Common Praise. This was printed by William Clowes Ltd. of Suffolk.

Sing Praise[edit]

In September 2010 Canterbury Press and the Royal School of Church Music published Sing Praise, subtitled "Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship", containing 330 recently written hymn, song and short chant compositions. The selection was designed to complement Common Praise in particular, but also other hymn books in current use.

Ancient and Modern[edit]

In March 2013 Canterbury Press published Ancient and Modern, so reverting to the original title without the word "Hymns", but also subtitled Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship, a brand new edition designed for contemporary patterns of worship. It contains 847 items, including some items from Common Praise and Sing Praise, ranging from psalm settings to John L. Bell, Bernadette Farrell, Stuart Townend and others.


In 1989 Hymns Ancient & Modern bought Church Times, the Church of England's periodical, and bought SCM Press in 1997.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Telegraph March 2011
  2. ^ W.K. Lowther Clarke, A Hundred years of Hymns Ancient and Modern,1960
  3. ^ hymnsam.co.uk

External links[edit]