The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Joseph Ritson

Ancient Songs and Ballads From The Reign of King Henry the Second To The Revolution. 1790.

W. Carew Hazlitt, ed., Third Edition. London: Reeves And Turner, 1877

Editor's Note: This volume contains much more than just Christmas songs. However, as this web site is limited to that genre, I have only included such songs. For your perusal, however, there is a PDF of
The Full Contents

Mr. Hazlitt's

Title Page

Class I. Comprising the Reigns of Henry II, Richard I, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III, Richard II

Class II. Comprising the Reigns of Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI.

X. The Contest of the Ivy and the Holly, p. 113

XIII. Wolcum Be Thu, Hevene Kyng, A Christmas Carol, p. 120

XIV. Carol For saint Stephens day: Saint Stephen Was A Clerk, p. 121

Class III. Comprising the Reigns of Edward IV. and Henry VIII.

VI. A carol on bringing up a boars head to the table on Christmas-day: The Bores Heed In Hand Bring I, p. 158

VII. In die nativitatis. [a Christmas carol]: The Borys Hede That We Bryng Here, p. 160

VIII. In die nativitatis. [Another Christmas carol]: I Am Here, Syre Christmasse, p. 161

Class IV. Comprising the Reigns of Edward VI., Queen Mary, And Queen Elizabeth.

Class V. The Reigns of James I., Charles I., Charles II., and James II.

II. A carol for presenting the wassel-bowl: A Jolly Wassel-Bowl, p. 351

III. A Christmas Carol (God bless the master of this house), p. 354

Editor's Note: In his preface, Mr. Hazlitt wrote that "... the Glossary has been specially prepared for this edition by Mr. Sidney Herrtage, to whom I beg to express my obligation for his kindness."

I profess no expertise in Middle English and therefore can offer neither endorsement nor criticism of this glossary. If you can provide a link to another resource, please feel free to contact me. This PDF link opens in a new window.


Please note that Mr. Ritson, in his edition of 1826, also included a glossary at pages 297-326:

Two additional essays by Mr. Ritson (from the 1877 edition) have been scanned and are included in PDF format. Both open in new windows.

Observations on the Ancient English Minstrels

Dissertation on the Songs, Music, and Instrumental Performance, of the Ancient English

Editor's Note: The edition of Mr. Hazlitt did not differ from than published in 1829 (except the glossary and the note in A Jolly Wassel-Bowl). Neither contained any musical settings.

Please note that the correct title for the 1790 edition is: Ancient Songs From The Time of King Henry The Third To The Revolution. It was printed in London by J. Johnson; this carol occurs on pp. 304-306.


English musician, composer and scholar, Tamsin Lewis, has created two delicious collections of English music and song from the 16th and 17th Centuries for Christmas and Winter. From Advent through Candlemas, these books contain a selection of carols, hymns and ballads that celebrate both the birth of Christ, as well as the festivities of the Christmas-tide.
Rondo Publishing.



To Shorten Winterís Sadness



For the accompanying CD please see Winter's Sadness



Old Christmas Returned





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