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A history of "Hymns ancient and modern"

Wilkinson, Richard William


Richard William Wilkinson


Arthur Pollard


When the first Edition was published in 1861, Hymns Ancient and Modern Was just one of many collections of hymns. However, it rapidly established itself as the most popular of all. The subject of this thesis is the way that the Proprietors reacted to this success by bringing out enlarged and revised editions until the publication of the New Standard Edition in 1983.

The background and the compilation of the First Edition is only briefly touched upon (I) although some attempt will be made to analyse its characteristics. The first major episode to be covered in detail will be the 1904 Edition, in which the Proprietors made a radical attempt to revise and reform the Victorian book which had developed from the First Edition. This attempt was, by Hymns Ancient and Modern standards, a failure. This failure will be explained and analysed, and its effect on future policies of the Proprietors will be assessed. To a remarkable degree the Proprietors swung over to a cautious conservatism by further enlarging the Victorian book, in order to produce the Standard Edition of 1922.

The imperative need for change, however, could not be resisted for ever, in particular when the challenge of other books such as the English Hymnal had to be faced. The result was Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised, published in 1950. This was a new book, but far more limited in its innovations than mi9ht have been the case. No such criticism could, however, be levelled against the two supplements, A Hundred Hymns for Today and More Hymns for Today which were published in 1969 and 1980. The thinking behind these radical publications and the excision of nearly half the hymns in Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised to form the New Standard Edition will be discussed.

The role of such key personalities as Baker, Frere and Nicholson will be evaluated, likewise the deliberations of the present members of the Council of Hymns Ancient and Modern as they look to the future.


Wilkinson, R. W. (1985). A history of "Hymns ancient and modern". (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 27, 2014
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords English
Public URL
Additional Information Department of English, The University of Hull
Award Date Mar 1, 1985


Thesis (13.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1985 Wilkinson, Richard William. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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