Hymns and Hymn Writers, a Journey through England

Visit villages, towns and cities associated with famous hymn writers and learn about the stories behind their hymns.

Yattendon and Stanford in the Vale: Yattendon is associated with Robert Bridges who made of the most valuable contributions to hymnody of the 20th Century with his hymns and translations. He published the Yattendon Hymnal in 1899. We visit the Parish church where he was a member and trained the choir. Then we visit Stanford in the Vale and the Parish Church where Rev Christopher Wordsworth who wrote ‘ Alleluia! Allelullia! hearts to heaven’

The Cotswolds: visit Down Ampney birthplace of Ralph Vaughan Williams and All Saints Church were his father was Rector. Ralph Vaughan Williams composed a tune for the hymn “Come Down, O Love Divine” which he called “Down Ampney” in honour of his birthplace. In Cheltenham visit the home of the composer Gustav Holst. Holst wrote the tune Thaxted for ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’ and ‘ O God beyond all Praising’ was written by Michael Perry to be sung to this tune.

Monkland: where Sir Henry Baker was Vicar of the Parish church. He was chairman of the committee responsible for Hymns Ancient and Modern. He wrote ‘ The King of Love my Shepherd is’ and ‘ Praise ye the Lord.

Burrington Combe: which is said to have inspired Augustus Toplady to write ‘Rock of Ages Cleft for Me’

Wells: England’s smallest city with one of it’s most beautiful cathedrals. Guided tour of the Cathedral. Bishop Thomas Ken was Bishop of Bath and Wells, he is best known for ‘Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow’

Bristol: visit Charles Wesley’s House.

Devon: visit Lewtrenchard to see the house where Sabine Barring-Gould who wrote ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ and ‘Abide with Me’ lived and St Peter’s Church were he was rector. Visit the delightful fishing village of Brixham where Henry Francis Lyte who wrote Abide with Me was curate of the Parish Church.

Oxford and Cambridge: many hymn writers were educated at these universities.

York – St Michael-le-Belfry Church where Graham Kendrick writer of many worship songs including ‘The Servant King’ served as Musical Director. York Minster one of England’s most beautiful cathedrals.

Evensong at York Minster

Norwich Cathedral: Timothy Dudley-Smith, recognised as one of the foremost English hymn writers of today was Archdeacon of Norwich and Bishop of Thetford (Suffragan Bishop for the Norwich Diocese) so he knew this cathedral well.

Olney: visit the Cowper and Newton Museum, the house (exterior only) where John Newton composed “Amazing Grace” and the church were he was vicar.

Windsor: see the parish church where Samuel Stone was rector when he wrote the ‘The Church’s one foundation’. Visit Windsor Castle.

London: Visit St Paul’s Cathedral and Bunhill Fields were Issac Watts is buried.

The itinerary can be tailor-made to your requirements, contact me to discuss your bespoke itinerary. You can include some general sightseeing along with the Christianity sites if you wish.