About Hymns Ancient & Modern
- The history and traditions
In 1858, two clergymen were in conversation during a journey on
the old Great Western Railway and concluded that the Church of
England needed a corporate hymn book, moulded from the various
small high church collections available. One of them, Francis
Murray, enlisted the help of Sir Henry Baker and, before long, in
1861 the first edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern was published
by a committee, called the Proprietors, chaired by Sir Henry. The
first music editor was William Monk who was said to have coined the
phrase 'Ancient and Modern'.
More than 150 years since its first publication and after sales
of 170 million copies, the works of Baker and Monk live on in the
latest edition of the hymn book: Ancient & Modern: Hymns and
Songs for Refreshing Worship (2013).
In 1975 the Proprietors formed a company limited by guarantee,
and a registered charity with the objects of promoting, mainly
through publishing, the advancement of religion and supporting
charities and institutions connected with, or sympathetic to the
ideals of, the Church of England.
more about the business today
more about the charity today