The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Borys Hede, That We Bryng Here

For Christmas

Words and Music attributed to Rev. Richard Smart (or Smerte), Rector (1435-1477) of Plymtree, Devon, and vicar-choral at Exeter Cathedral (1428-ca. 1466). The time of composition was during the reigns of Henry VII or VIII; it was found in the "Ritson Manuscript," British Library MS. Addit 5665, fol. 5, v0.

Music: Attributed to Richard Smert, Devonshire, circa 15th Century.
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Thomas Wright, Specimens of Old Christmas Carols Selected from Manuscripts and Printed Books (London: The Percy Society, 1841), pp. 50-51.

See generally: Boar's Head Carols

Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell,
Tydynges gode y thyngke to telle.

The borys hede, that we bryng here,
Betokeneth a prince withowte pere,
Ys borne this day to bye us dere,


A bore ys a soverayn beste,
And acceptable in every feste;
So mote thys lord be to moste and leste,


This borys hede we bryng with song,
In worchyp of hym that thus sprang
Of a virgine, to redresse alle wrong;


Sheet Music from John Stafford Smith, Musica Antiqua. Vol. 1. (London: Printed & Sold by Preston, 1812), #22.

Borys_heed-Smith-Musica_Antiqua-Vol_1-p22.jpg (128797 bytes)

Sheet music from Edmonstoune Duncan, The Story of the Carol (London: The Walter Scott Publishing Co., 1911), pp. 188-189 ("with thanks to Dr. John Speller")
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

In this version, the first line of the first verse reads:
"The boar's head that I bring here."

Editor's Note:

For notes concerning this carol, please see The Boar's Head, That We Bring Here (Husk, 1868).

Copies of this carol on this site:

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