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Celebrating 150 years of Hymns Ancient and Modern

NEW - a new A&M - the first brand new A&M in 13 years: titled 'Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship' - over 840 items and the very best from  Common Praise and Sing Praise.

Find out more at


In 2011 we produced two anniversary booklets to celebrate our 150 years.


The Church's Folk Songs by Trevor Beeson is £2.99 - 9781848251076 - P&P is free of charge


ymns Ancient and Modern - anniversary brochure - free of charge.  Both can be ordered from Norwich Books and Music on + 44 (0) 1603 7859 25.

Plus a Hymns Ancient and Modern Anniversary Edition


We have produced a high quality limited edition facsimile of the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, originally published in 1861. Only one hundred copies have been produced; each one is individually numbered, beautifully clothbound and presented in a slipcase decorated with gold 'A&M' design. The hymnbook includes all 273 original hymns with their accompanying tunes, ordered around the seasons and celebrations of the church year.

Copies are priced at £100 and are available from the Church House Bookshop website and direct from Norwich Books and Music, 13a Hellesdon Park Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR6 5DR. + 44 (0) 1603 785925. ISBN 978 184825150 2


There are three books in the 'splendid trilogy with which the Anglican Church has endowed the English-speaking world'.*  The 1662 Book of Common Prayer possessed statutory authority and clergymen had to use it in their religious services or they faced ejection from the church and the label of dissenter. The Authorised Version of the Bible, first published in 1661 at the behest of King James I, 'Translated out of the original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared and revised by his majesty's special command' is 'appointed to be read in churches'. 

And then there is the hymn book, Hymns Ancient and Modern.

There is a story that George V once attended divine service on board one of the ships of the Royal Navy and was handed a copy of a hymn book but it wasn't the one he was expecting. 'I never authorised this' he exclaimed looking at the copy of The English Hymnal.  Apparently, some tact was needed to explain to the King that he had never been called upon to authorise any hymn book.  The book he'd been expecting to use, Hymns Ancient and Modern, had been part of his family's devotional experience since its first publication in 1861. It was the hymn book used at the funeral service of Albert, Prince Consort in St Paul's Cathedral in December of that year.  It had been in use in the Royal Chapel at Windsor since his grandmother Queen Victoria 'took a fancy to some special hymn tunes in Hymns Ancient and Modern.' ** His mother Alexandra, then Princess of Wales, had given him and all his siblings a copy of Hymns Ancient and Modern on their confirmation.  And a special souvenir edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern had been published in 1911 to commemorate his coronation. 

It's no wonder that George V thought that Hymns Ancient and Modern was authorised by royal decree.  However, the book's status and sales of over 150 million copies in the 150 years of its existence owed nothing to royal intervention or official endorsement from the Church of England. Instead, Hymns Ancient and Modern has reached near ubiquity in parish churches and its iconic status as the establishment hymn book on its own merits as a hymn book that worked for most of the people, most of the time.  It was created by hard-working Victorian clergymen who knew the value of devotional music and wanted their congregations to have the best.  Hymns Ancient and Modern was not ordered into existence by a King anxious for control or a committee seeking uniformity.  Rather, it was a book that was created in a spirit of collaboration by men and women who understood the power of hymnody and wanted to use it to improve congregational worship for everybody. The founders of Hymns Ancient and Modern created a book that became a national institution. 

They also created a business which continues to thrive today as a not-for-profit publishing company that includes in its portfolio the Church Times, Norwich Books and Music Distribution, SCM Press, Canterbury Press and Church House Bookshop in addition to providing publishing services for prestigious imprints such as Church House Publishing and St Andrew Press. Profits from this thriving publishing business are routinely donated to organisations that are committed to promoting the advancement of the Christian religion.

*Stanley Thomas Bindoff, Tudor England

**Randall Davidson and William Bentham, The Life of Archibald Campbell Tait