Christmas Hymn: Sussex Carol

The “Sussex Carol” is a popular Christmas Carol in Britain.

Luke Wadding, a 17th Century Irish Bishop, first published the song in 1684. It is unknown whether he wrote the song himself or had recorded it from earlier coposers.

The text and tune were discovered by Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The men wrote the song down as sung by Mrs. Harriet Verrall of Monk’s Gate, which is near Horsham, Sussex, England in 1919.  This is why it is referred to as the “Sussex Carol”.

The 1919 version is the tune sung today, although it is know there were earlier tunes and variations on the first line.

The carol often appears at the King’s College “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols”.

The song is often referred to by its first line “On Christmas night all Christians sing”.

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