The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Christmas Carols of Waddinge and Devereux

Bishop Luke Waddinge and Rev. William Devereux

 


 

The Christmas Carols of Bishop Luke Waddinge (d. 1688)

A Small Garland of Pious & Godly Songs, 1684.

The source for these carols is Thomas Wall, The Christmas Songs of Luke Wadding, Bishop of Ferns, 1683-1688 (Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1960).

A scan of most of this small book is available from the web site Ask About IrelandThe Christmas Songs of Luke Wadding. This is an Adobe PDF file. See generally The Carols of Luke Waddinge. I purchased my copy from C P Hyland, Rosscarbery. Co. Cork, Ireland.

A Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs

The Christmas Songs of Luke Wadding

 

Short Carols for Each Day of Christmas

Title

For

Tune

This Christmass Day You Pray Me Sing

For Christmas Day

I doe not Love cause thou art faire

St. Stephen Had an Angel's Face

For St. Stephen's Day

I doe not Love cause thou art faire

St. John Did Lean on Jesus' Breast

For St. John's Day

I doe not Love cause thou art faire

The Angel Said to Joseph Mild

For Innocent's Day

I doe not Love cause thou art faire

Sweet Jesus was the Sacred Name

For New Year's Day

I doe not Love cause thou art faire

Behold Three Kings Come From the East

For Twelfth Day

I doe not Love cause thou art faire

 

Carols for the Several Days of Christmas

Title

For

Tune

An Angel This Night

First on Christ's Nativity

Neen Major Neale

This is Our Christmas Day

On Christmas Day the Yeare 1678

Bonny-brooe

This is St. Stephen's Day

On St. Stephen's Day

Neen Major Neale

This First Day of the Year

On the Circumcision, or
New Year's Day

Neen Major Neale

 


 

The Christmas Carols of Rev. William Devereux (1696-1771)

A New Garland Containing Songs for Christmas, 1728

Source for these carols is Joseph Ranson, “The Kilmore Carols” from The Past, no. 5 (1949).

"The Kilmore Carols" has been scanned and posted on-line at the Ask About Ireland web site. See generally The Kilmore Carols and The Carols of William Devereux.

Rev. Ranson's article appears in two parts:

These are both Adobe PDF files.

 

Title

For

Tune

The Darkest Midnight in December

On Christ's Nativity

On Christ's Nativity

Christmas Day is Come

Second Carol for Christmas Day

The Brown Little Mallet

Ye Sons of Men with Me Rejoice

Third Carol for Christmas Day

A Carol for Christmas Day

An Angel This Night

Fourth Carol for Christ's Nativity

Neen Major Neale

A Virgin Queen in Bethlehem

For Christmas Day

Unknown

This is St. Stephen's Day

Song for St. Stephen's Day

Neen Major Neale

To Greet Our Saviour's Dear One

Song for St. John's Day

Neen Major Neale

Hail Ye Flowers of Martyrs

Song for the Holy Innocents

The Brown Little Mallet

This Feast of St. Sylvester So Well Deserves a Song

St. Sylvester's Day

Neen Major Neale

The first day of the year, or
This First Day of the Year

Song for New Year's Day

Neen Major Neale

Sweetest of All Names, Jesus

Carol for New Year's Day

Unknown

Jerusalem, Our Happy Home

Song Of Jerusalem, or
First Carol for Twelfth Day

Song of Jerusalem

Now To Conclude Our Christmas Mirth

Song for Twelfth Day

Song for Twelfth Day / Carol for Twelfth Day

 

Notes concerning Bishop Luke Waddinge, Rev. William Devereux, and the Kilmore Carols

Wexford County, which is located in south-east Ireland, is home to three villages with very unique histories. The story begins 327 years ago in the village of Ferns where Bishop Luke Waddinge, in the first year of his bishopric, published a volume of his verse under the title of “A Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs, Composed by a devout Man, For the Solace of his Friends and neighbours in their afflictions” (Ghent, 1694). It is said that Bishop Waddinge's volume was widely distributed and was held in such esteem that it was republished in 1728 and again in 1731. It contained a number of carols, poems and other verses, including ten Christmas carols.

Right: Wexford County, outlined in yellow.
Click here to see larger map of the County
and several of the towns and villages mentioned.

Three of those carols were remembered by a young priest, Rev. William Devereux of Drinagh, who himself wrote a number of Christmas carols, some of which he incorporated into his own garland of verse, “A New Garland, containing songs for Christmas,” and which also included the three carols by Bishop Waddinge. The date is uncertain, but it is said that Fr. Devereux composed a number of Christmas carols during a period of convalescence between 1728 and 1730. As was the case with Bishop Waddinge, Rev. Devereaux's volume was widely distributed within his parish of Drinagh, and to many other towns and villages within Ireland including nearby Kilmore.

Finally, in 1751, another young priest, Rev. Peter Devereux, began a new tradition in his parish of Kilmore. Drawing on the work of Luke Waddinge and William Devereux, 13 of their carols were compiled, and from this eight carols were regularly sung between the first Mass on Christmas Day and the Sunday closest to Epiphany, Jan. 6, also known as Twelfth Day. I have been unable to determine which eight are most regularly sung.

In many communities, there is the old custom of Christmas caroling from door-to-door. Likewise, many communities see Christmas concerts conducted during the month of December. But that is not the case in Kilmore. There, these songs are only sung in St. Mary's Catholic Church during the Mass and only on Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and on the Sundays that fall within the 12 days of Christmas.

The carols are sung during the distribution of Holy Communion by a choir of six men who are split into two groups of three, and who sing alternate verses. It is said that many villages in Ireland had similar traditions, but that since World War I, only Kilmore still celebrates this tradition, which has continued, unbroken, for 260 years.

The 13 carols include:

Title 1st Line
On Christ's Nativity (First Carol for Christmas) The Darkest Midnight in December
Second Carol for Christmas Day Christmas Day is Come
*Third Carol for Christmas Day Ye Sons of Men with Me Rejoice
*Fourth Carol for Christ's Nativity An Angel This Night
Song for St. Stephen's Day This is St. Stephen's Day
Song for St. John's Day To Greet Our Saviour's Dear One
Song for the Holy Innocents Hail Ye Flowers of Martyrs
St. Sylvester's Day This Feast of St. Sylvester So Well Deserves a Song
Carol for New Year's Day Sweetest of All Names, Jesus
Song for New Year's Day To Greet Our Saviour's Dear One
Song for Jerusalem (First Carol for Twelfth Day) Jerusalem, Our Happy Home
Song for Twelfth Day (Second Carol for Twelfth Day) Now To Conclude Our Christmas Mirth
* A Virgin Queen in Bethlehem A Virgin Queen in Bethlehem (For Christmas Day)

          * Three carols that have been omitted are marked with an asterisk.

Carols for the feast days of St. Stephen (Dec. 26), St. John (Dec. 27), the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28), and St. Sylvester (Dec. 31) are only sung if the Feast Day falls on a Sunday.

The performance of these carols was described in the program of the Festival of Village Carols, 2 December 2006:

The Kilmore carols are not set to the rumbustious type of fuguing tunes associated with the traditions around Sheffield, but rather they are more ethereal and mystical in character. In predating the Yorkshire and Derbyshire traditions, the Kilmore tradition provides a glimpse into an earlier form of carolling, characterised by a single melody line, which is ornamented, free flowing and unhurried, often modal in character, and performed by male voice in unison. It is not unusual for a carol to last more than ten minutes.

For most of the last 260 years that this tradition has been celebrated in Kilmore, a member of the Devereux family has been a member of this choir. Currently, it is Dixie Devereux. From 1930 until shortly before his death in 1999, uncle Jack Devereux was a member. Jack's father was a member for over 50 years, and Jack's grandfather was also a member of this choir.

Unfortunately, no recording of these carols has been made.

The sources for this information is:

Ask About Ireland Web Site, “The Kilmore Carols,” which includes information concerning

Thomas Wall, A Pious Garland Being the December Letter and Christmas Carols of Luke Wadding (Dublin: M.H. Gill and Son, 1960). Much of this book has been scanned and posted on the Ask About Ireland Website. Rev. Wall wrote: “I am deeply grateful to Father Joseph Ranson of Enniscorthy for having made available to me his copy of the 1728 edition of the Garland, an exceedingly rare little book.”

Joseph Ranson, “The Kilmore carols, including carols for Christmas, New Year's Day and for the Twelfth Day, together with music in some cases,” in The Past, the organ of the Ui Ceinnsealaigh Historical Society, No. 5, pp. 61-102, 1949. Concerning Rev. Ranson, Rev. Wall wrote: “Father Ranson is an authority on every aspect of the history of the diocese of Ferns and anyone interested in the tradition of carol singing in Wexford must read his Valuable paper on the Kilmore carols in the organ of the Ui Ceinnsealaigh Society, The Past, No. 5 (1949).” This article has been scanned and posted on the Ask About Ireland Website.

The Kilmore Traditional Singers from Co. Wexford, Ireland.” Adapted from an article by Ian Russell in the program of the Festival of Village Carols, 2 December 2006, and added to by Edwin Macadam from various sources. The first Festival was in 1992, and, apart from the year 2000, has always been held at the Community Centre in Grenoside, a suburb of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. Website: The Village Carols, Sheffield.

Rosita Boland, A Secret Map of Ireland (New Island Books, 1 Sep 2005)

Remains Historical and Literary Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester, The Chetham Society, Vol. C, 1878, containing Collectanea Anglo-Poetica: A Bibliographical and Descriptive Catalogue of a Portion of a Collection of Early English Poetry with Occasional Extracts and Remarks, Biographical and Critical, by Rev. Thomas Corser, Part VI, The Chetham Society, 1878.

Errors only are my own.

As of June 29, 2011.

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