The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Its History, Festivities and Carols, With Their Music

William Sandys

London: John Russell Smith, 1852

William Sandys was also the author of Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (London: Richard Beckley, 1833). Biographical information about Sandys can be found at that page.


Chapter 1 - Edward the First's Offering at the Epiphany

Chapter 02 - Froissart's Christmas Log

Chapter 03 - Merry Carol

Chapter 04 - Archie returning his Christmas Gift

Chapter 05 - Teonge's Twelfth Night at sea

Chapter 06 - Charles the Second gambling at Christmas

Chapter 07 - Pepys' Wassail Bowl

Chapter 08 - Modern Christmas Plays

Chapter 09 - Three Kings offering

Chapter 10 - Carol Singers of old

 Chapter 11 - Decorating with Evergreens


A Mock Play

Christmas Play of St. George and the Dragon

Compare from Sandys, Christmas Carols, 1833: Christmas Play of Saint George - William Sandys

Compare A Mock Play printed by William Hone in The Every-Day Book, Volume 2.

St. George He Was For England printed by William Hone in The Every-Day Book, Volume 2, submitted by "W.S.".

Table of Contents

Texts to Carols

Seignors Ore Entendez A Nus

Lordings, From A Distant Home

Welcü Yole In Good Array (in Middle English)

Nay iuy, nay (in Middle English)

Now ys Crystemas y-cum (in Middle English)

The Borys Hede That We Bryng Here

I Am Here, Syre Christmasse

A bonne! God wote

A babe is born al of a may

The fyrst day of yole have we in mynd

Goddys Sonne Is Borne

The boris hede in hond I bryng

The Bores Heed In Hand Bring I

In Betheleem, That Noble Place

All You That In This House Be Here

Remember, O Thou Man

Jesus Christ Of Nazareth

In Those Twelve Days

Joseph Was An Old Man

A Child This Day Is Born

The Carnal and the Crane

As It Fell Out One May Morning

A Virgin Most Pure

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

God's Dear Son

The First Nowell

The Lord At First Had Adam Made

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day

Now When Joseph And Mary

This New Christmas Carol

When Caesar Did The Sceptre Sway

Saint Stephen Was An Holy Man

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Guillo, pran ton tamborin

De Noubélos Efans

Tres Rei de l'Orian

Quand Dieu Naquit à Noël

Lon De La Gran Carriere

L'An Mil Sies Cens Quaranto Cine

J'antan Po No Ruë

I Hear Along Our Street

Music to Carols

A Virgin Most Pure

A Child This Day Is Born

The Lord At First Had Adam Made

The First Nowell

This New Christmas Carol

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

Saint Stephen Was An Holy Man

God's Dear Son

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day

I Saw Three Ships

Joseph Was An Old Man

In Those Twelve Days

Index of References

Editor's Note: Verbatim from Sandys, pp. 306-7:

To avoid encumbering the pages with foot-notes, all references requiring them have been omitted, but the principal works and passages referred to will be found in this Index, excepting those that already appear in the body of the work.

Many of the old Chronicles have been inspected for historical facts, but it has not been thought necessary to specify them, except in a few instances; and where one is cited, the fact is frequently corroborated by two or three others. Hickes's 'Theasaurus,' vol. i, pp. 209-14, and Gebelin's 'Allegories Orientales,' contain a good deal of learning about Yule or Gule, and the former as to midwinter. Du Cange's Glossary,' in voce Festum, gives many particulars respecting the Feasts of Asses and Fools. The Wardrobe Accoounts, temp. Edw. First, have entries connected with that time; and Mr. Collier's 'Annuals of the Stage and History of Dramatic Poetry,' and the 'Account of Revels,' by Mr. Peter Cunningham, both works containing much valuable information, the Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York, of Henry the Eighty, and of the Princess Mary, the 'Northumberland Household Book,' and Nichols's 'Progresses of Queen Elizabeth and King James,' are the authorities for many of the plays and masks, and the particulars of the accounts connected with them, and the New Year's Gifts from the time of Henry the Seventh to that of James the First; and many additional particulars may be found in them. Brady's 'Clavis Calendaria' contains much information respecting the early history of Christmas; and Mosheim's 'Ecclesiastical History,' may also be consulted. Spelman's 'Glossary,' voce Xenia, and Boulanger, 'l'Antiquité Devoilée,' iv, 16, 17, a work however not to be recommended, speak of the ancient New Year's Gifts. Madox's 'History of the Exchequer' states the movements of our early monarchs, mentioning for a long series of years where they kept their Christmasses; and Turner's, Henry's, and Lingard's 'Histories of England,' and the 'Pictorial History,' may be referred to also, by those wishing to look further into the subject. Many facts taken from these books do not appear to require more than this general reference to them.

Editor's Note: Due to the conversion from text to HTML, the notes themselves have been incorporated into their respective chapters. Additional notes on pp. 303-4, concerning the source or background of a particular carol reproduced by Sandys, are likewise found on the page containing the carol itself.

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