John Mason & John Mason Neale: Anglican Hymnody’s Cambridge Connections

It is the second Sunday of Easter, April 22nd, 1694, in Water Stratford, Buckinghamshire. The enthusiastic and eccentric rector of St Giles’ parish church appears at a window of his house to an excitable assembly of parishioners and pilgrims drawn from the ranks of the 100-strong millenarian community encamped on the town’s southern approach.1

To his rapt audience he relates how, at about 1am on Easter Monday, 16th April, he saw a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, clothed “in a deep Scarlet Robe down to his Feet, far surpassing anything in Nature” and with a “Countenance, which was most comely and Majestick, Majesty enough to strike terror into Ten thousand Blasphemers, and yet Pleasant to behold.”2

As his account proceeds the crowd is quick to hear of the singular importance of their rector and their town to Christ’s second coming; Water Stratford “was the place where Christ would visibly appear, and where all the Saints of God in this Nation should be gathered together to him.”3

“[T]he Testimony [ i ]s declared, received, believed, the Saints [a]re Gathered. Christ [ i ]s come,” the rector concludes confidently.

“He is come. He is come,” the assembled audience echoes emphatically.4

Whilst these latter voices were to grow ever more emphatic in the days that followed, “singing as loud as their throats would give them leave,” the voice of the rector weakened with the steady onset of a peritonsillar abscess.5 On the 22nd May –– a month to the day since the dramatic ex fenestra declaration –– the life of John Mason, Anglican priest to the parish of St Giles, Water Stratford, came to an end.

This event did little to dissuade the community pitched on “the Holy Ground,” as it was known, from continuing to believe that their rector was “the Elias, Messenger, or Harbinger of Christ” and that neither he nor they would die before Christ’s return.6 Indeed, even after the subsequent rector, Isaac Rushworth, exhumed and exhibited Mason’s body to countermand such grossly presumptuous eschatology, the millenarian cult survived in the area until 1740.7

How much blame was to be apportioned to John Mason and how much to his followers –– concerning the latter’s devotion to extreme and erroneous beliefs –– forms the core deliberation of Henry Maurice’s 1695 publication, An impartial account of Mr. John Mason of Water-Stratford, and his sentiments. The account –– dedicated to the Archbishop of York, John Sharp (1691-1714) and purposed to “detect Error and becalm Faction” –– is markedly more charitable to John Mason than to his parishioners.8 One is at liberty to both question this assessment and think that Maurice’s title of choice “doth protest too much;” especially given that Maurice refers to Mason as an “old Friend” and a near relation throughout his account.9

However, all questions of impartiality, culpability, and even eschatological veracity in this matter aside, John Mason did get something right: Six days after his death, Mason’s sister-in-law, Margaret Holms, recounts in a letter to a friend in London how John Mason “declared 3 weeks before he sickned” that “He had nothing more to deliver. The Lord, said he, will take the matter into his own Hands, and Visibly execute and perform what he sent me…to declare.10

John Mason was (most likely) born in March 1646 to Thomas and Margaret Mason, in the parish of Irchester, Northamptonshire, and had two older brothers, Thomas and Nicholas.11 He went to school in Strixton, Northamptonshire, where even his childhood character elicited from the schoolmaster the frequent remark, “That if he liv’d, he was like to be a violent Zealot.”12 On 16th May 1661, Mason was admitted to Clare Hall, Cambridge (now Clare College) as a sizar –– that is, an undergraduate who financed his studies by performing menial tasks for his college.13 This was a status Mason shared with his more famous contemporary at Trinity College, Isaac Newton, who came up to Cambridge in June 1661. Whilst servile work proved no impediment to intellectual achievement in Newton’s case, it may have contributed to John Mason’s regret later in life “that he had lost his time at the University, and must regain it.”14 Nevertheless, he successfully graduated BA in 1665, and proceeded to MA in 1668, before briefly residing in Isham, Northamptonshire, where he sought to “regain” that lost time by studying late into the night.15 He was the vicar of Stantonbury, Buckinghamshire from 1668 until 1674, when he took up the rectorship of St Giles’, Water Stratford –– where he remained until his death.16

However, “the matter” of John Mason’s life and work, which God would take “into his own hands” and make fruitful, proved to be neither academic nor pastoral theology, but rather Mason’s hymnody. In 1683 Mason published his Spiritual Songs, or Songs of Praise, a collection of 33 hymns, which was so popular it had run to 16 editions by 1761, before being republished almost a century later, in 1859.17 Against a backdrop of near-exclusive metrical psalm-singing in the 17th- century Church of England, John Mason’s collection came as a breath of fresh air to congregational worship. Indeed, it is arguably the first (intentional) instance of English hymnody.18 Despite the stress Mason apparently laid on music in his teaching, the hymn collection is of words only and indicates that Mason drew inspiration from the devotional verse of George Herbert (1593-1633).19

The influence of John Mason’s hymns was far-reaching and unhindered by differentiated churchmanship: John Keble (1792-1866) paraphrased Mason’s “Song XXIV” for his hymn “A Living Stream, As Crystal Clear;” Charles Wesley (1707-88) modeled the third verse of “Hark! How All the Welkin Rings” on the third verse of Mason’s “Song XIII;” and John Newton (1725-1807) appears to draw on this same song for the (originally) fifth verse of “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.”20 Perhaps most dramatically, however, Mason’s “Song XXV: A Song of Praise for Grace,” shows signs of having shaped John Newton’s most famous hymn “Amazing Grace.” Consider these extracts from John Mason’s “Song XXV”:

O God of Grace, who hast restor’d

     Thine Image unto me,

Which by my Sins was quite defac’d ;

     What shall I render Thee?

Thine Image and Inscription, Lord,

     Upon my Heart I bear:

Thine own I render unto Thee,

     O God, my God most dear…


…Earth is my Mother, Earth my Nurse,

     And Earth must be my Tomb:

Yet God, the God of Heaven and Earth,

     My Father is become.

Hell enter’d me, and into Hell

     I quickly should have run:

But O! Kind Heav’n laid hold on me;

     Heav’n is in me begun…

Perhaps one might say that John Newton became the mediating instrument upon which the Almighty was to execute and perform John Mason’s poetic declaration of a sinner saved by grace.

Of course, John Newton in turn was only a link in a chain of ongoing influence. One household which frequently hosted him in the late 18th century was that of a Mr. James Neale and his wife, Elizabeth Simpson.21 A fervently evangelical couple, their gifted son, Cornelius, would graduate from St John’s College, Cambridge in 1812 with several prestigious academic awards, including Dr. Smith’s first mathematical prize.22 Cornelius was ordained ten years later, only to die one year into his curacy, in 1823, having preached his last sermon only a few days beforehand on the text “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”23 However, he was not left without issue. His wife was Susannah Good, the great-great-great-granddaughter of John Mason, her father having been the medical doctor and classical linguist, John Mason Good (1764-1827).24 Hence, it is hardly surprising that Cornelius and Sarah Neale’s son, born 24th January 1818, should be named John Mason Neale.25

His father having died when he was only five years old, John Mason Neale’s early Christian upbringing was chiefly under his mother’s direction, and distinctively Calvinist in color, whilst the classical side to his education was delegated to the Rev. W. Russell, rector of Shepperton. An extract from a letter written by the seven year old Neale to his tutor gives a rich insight into both aspects of his early childhood schooling:

My Dear Mr. Russell,

…The text last Sunday was taken from Is. 51:15. 1st head, the broken-hearted under a sense of sin; 2nd, the broken-hearted under a sense of affliction… I have been to see a printing press…. I had my name printed ‘Ultinam quod videram te.’… We have learnt 132 words in French.… I have learnt 11 conjugations in French…

Your affectionate boy, John Mason Neale26

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given this precocity, like both his father and his 17th-century ancestor and namesake, John Mason Neale was admitted to Cambridge University in October 1836 with a scholarship to Trinity College.27 He inherited his maternal grandfather’s aptitude for ancient languages, although not his father’s for mathematics, a lack which unhappily denied him a distinction upon graduating in 1840.28 During his time at Cambridge Neale’s theological and ecclesiological outlook underwent a significant, albeit gradual and seemingly crisis-free, change from Calvinism to Anglo-Catholicism, influenced in large part by the Oxford Movement but differing somewhat in emphasis: Neale stressed the aesthetic and symbolic aspects of Catholicism, where the early Tractarians had focused more on its doctrinal aspects.

In this vein, Neale, alongside his friend Benjamin Webb and other like-minded undergraduates, founded the Cambridge Camden Society in May 1839, for the promotion, restoration, and continuation of the Catholic spirit in the architecture and decoration of England’s churches.29 Fortunately, neither the tenor of this endeavor, nor the lack of a distinction in his BA, prevented Neale from being appointed as chaplain and assistant tutor to Downing College in 1840, given its distinctly Reformed foundation and ethos.30

However, he was to leave this post after only a year to enter parish ministry, being ordained a deacon on Trinity Sunday (6th June), 1841, and priest on Trinity Sunday (22nd May), the following year, in St Margaret’s, Westminster.31 In July of 1842, having already taken up his parish post in Crawley, Sussex, Neale married Sarah Norman Webster, the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Webster, then rector at St Botolph’s Church, Cambridge.32

Neale’s tenure at Crawley was brief, on account of ill-health, and he was forced to seek more congenial air in Madeira, setting sail on 2nd February 1843.33 It was here he not only found great comfort in the use of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes’ Devotions but –– despite having only started learning Portuguese upon arrival –– beginning on 24th October 1843 Neale translated Andrewes’ work into Portuguese in the space of 47 days.34 Furthermore, during his two year stay in Madeira Neale also revised the Portuguese version of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.35

Like Bishop Andrewes himself, Neale was “more or less conversant with no less than twenty” languages, including Slavonic and Syriac.36 He was also a gifted poet, winning Cambridge’s Seatonian Prize (for original sacred verse in English) 11 times between 1845 and 1863.37 Wielding these twin intellectual swords, Neale was to make an incomparable contribution to English hymnody; a voluminous legacy that would resonate long after his death, on the Feast of the Transfiguration, 6th August, 1866.38

To list some of the most relevant publications from his lifetime: in 1843, his original Hymns for the Sick and Hymns for Children: Series 1 & 2; 1851, his translations from Latin of Medieval Hymns & Sequences (which ran to 3 editions) and his contributions to the Hymnal Noted: Part I; 1853, Carols for Christmastide; 1854, Carols for Eastertide and the Hymnal Noted: Part II; 1862, Hymns of the Eastern Church; 1865, Hymns, chiefly Medieval, on the Joys and Glories of Paradise; and 1866, his Original Sequences, Hymns, and other Ecclesiastical Verses.

Counting both translations and original verse, Neale’s hymns total 420, although the translations comprise the more significant part of his output, in both quantitative and qualitative terms. To name but three examples: “Before the Ending of the Day,” “Sing My Tongue, the Glorious Battle,” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Whilst for us to imagine congregational Anglican worship without these hymns (let alone countless others!) is an exceptionally bleak thought, Neale’s endeavor faced opposition from some within his own circle. In a letter of 1849, his friend, Benjamin Webb, uncharitably attributed Neale’s hymning to the “slough of Evangelicalism” from his youth and protested that whilst “[h]appy those who can use the ancient Latin ones [hymns]; with our vernacular we have lost our privilege.”39

Neale remained undeterred, and it was fortunate for the Movement that Webb and he both fervently supported that he did so. Neale, as he himself put it, was confident that “in spite of the becalvinization of England, there is yet a chord in most people’s hearts which vibrates to Catholic truth.”40 His metaphor was apt. As John Shelton Reed notes, “dozens of Anglo-Catholic hymns made their way into hymnals used by churchmen of all persuasions” during the 19th century, with “the largest individual contribution…from the indefatigable John Mason Neale.”41 The first edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, published in 1861, was largely an Oxford Movement initiative, and to this day, if one looks at the index of authors and translators in Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard, Neale’s contributions form the longest list, with only Charles Wesley’s coming a close second.42 “In hymnody, the ‘subtractarians’ not only outperformed their predecessors, they simply overwhelmed their Low and Broad Church competitors.”43

Or is it just a metaphor, “…there is yet a chord…which vibrates…”? John Mason Neale was a wordsmith and, whilst his Cambridge Camden Society template (for recording the schematics of church buildings) includes a treble clef staff for notating the bell chime (implying a good musical ear), he was in no way a tunesmith.44 Indeed, one reason he gives for turning down the position of Dean at Perth Cathedral around 1850 was that “It would be most highly desirable that the Dean should be acquainted with music. I have a zeal for it, but not according to knowledge.”45 I dwell on this point because when hymnody’s history, legacy, and theology are discussed in Christian circles, I have often found that there is at least a tacit doctrine of sola verba at work. Words are crucially important, but I believe that a hymn’s success depends upon an essential integration of poetry, melody, rhythm, and harmony. Music is neither accidental to a hymn’s essence, nor incidental to a hymn’s temporal endurance.

Consider the first of the four original hymns by Neale found in Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard, “Christian, Dost Thou See Them.”46

Fig. 1: “Christian, Dost Thou See Them”

Each of Neale’s four eight-line stanzas are split in half in terms of mood, where the first four lines highlight an obstacle to be overcome in the Christian life, and the following four lines exhort and encourage the Christian to overcome it with confidence. This dark/light split is reflected in, and accentuated by, the text’s musical setting, composed by John Bacchus Dykes (1823-76), which begins in the key of C Minor but then changes to C Major at the music’s halfway mark. The text also alludes to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus asked His disciples to “watch and pray” (Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38), and the music dramatizes the anxious expectation associated with this biblical episode through the use of a two beat silence after the first and fourth phrases of music (bars 1-2 and 7-8, respectively). Honing-in on the fourth line of Neale’s first stanza, the repetition of the word “prowl” is arguably redundant and thus diminishes the poem’s quality. However, Dykes’ melody (top line of music) mitigates against this sense of redundancy by having the first “prowl” on the note g’ and the second “prowl” on the note eb’ (bar 7). Not only does this create melodic variation where the text remains the same –– the inverse of the opening two lines, where the melody repeats the same note, g’, and the text provides variation –– but it outlines the interval of a falling major third, in the key of C minor, at a crucial structural moment in the hymn (namely, at the cadential phrase of the hymn’s first half).

This is precisely the same musical interval which constitutes that famous opening melodic motif of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor (Fig. 2). This motif became known as the “Fate Motif” amongst many 19th-century concert-goers, following Anton Schindler’s 1840 biography of Beethoven, which was translated into English in 1841 by Ignaz Moscheles and documents “Beethoven’s alleged remark” that the motif’s rhythmic pattern signified “fate knocking at the door.”47 This musical allusion, therefore, further heightens the fatefulness of the Gethsemane scene. (Lest this musical parallel be seen as fanciful it is worth pointing out that Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 also begins in C Minor and ends in C Major.)

Fig. 2:“Fate Motif”

Another musical allusion can be found in the third melodic phrase (bars 5-6). This descending natural minor scale, from c’’ to g’, is typically used as an accompanying bass line in Baroque music, and is known as a basso lamento (lamenting bass), due to its associations with conveying tragedy or loss (as in Henry Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament,” where a chromatic form of the basso lamento is employed). By an associative mental series, therefore, the basso lamento calls to mind Christ’s sorrowfulness in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:37-8; Mark 14:34; Luke 22:44) and communicates the posture of lament that ought to characterise the season of Lent.

Finally, and by contrast, the fifth melodic phrase (bars 9-10) outlines the perfect intervals of a rising fourth and falling fifth (bar 9) and the major intervals of a rising sixth and falling third (bars 9-10), which give a sense of both spaciousness and brightness, as well as providing the first instance of a sustained ascending melodic movement in the hymn (the second and last occurring in phrase seven at bars 13-14). The falling pentatonic scale, which constitutes phrase six (bars 11-12) can also be heard as alluding to “Amazing Grace” (Fig. 3). Again, therefore, the music powerfully communicates and accentuates the mood of Neale’s hopeful second half of each stanza.

Fig. 3: “Amazing Grace” (Extract)

As shown, the music of John Bacchus Dykes imbues Neale’s verse with drama, elevates its meaning through musical allusion, and even mitigates against redundancy in the text itself. All that said, approaching this hymn with 21st-century ears may elicit an adverse reaction –– it skates close to the edge of sounding melodramatic, musically overwrought, and pietistic.

When Dykes’ harmonisation is brought into the analysis I think this hymn emerges as perfectly balanced –– but this is perhaps a surprising fact, given that it is Dykes’ harmony which endured the most vicious criticism, as garishly chromatic and sentimental, in the early 20th century. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), in his capacity as editor of the 1906 English Hymnal, lamented “the miasma of the languishing and sentimental hymn tunes which so often disfigure our services”, and specified 1861 to be the beginning of “this bad state of things.” In this, he appears to have had Dykes in his sights –– 1861 seeing the first publication of Hymns Ancient & Modern, to which Dykes had contributed seven of his most influential tunes.48 As the Times newspaper commented in 1958: “…it may be suspected that Dykes was not much to Vaughan Williams’s taste.”49

Graham Cory’s 2016 doctoral thesis powerfully argues that much of this criticism was prejudicial, not reasonable. However, the fact remains that musical taste had changed, and we have good reason to think Dykes would have taken this in his stride, having said, “each age should contribute to the Church’s store of music according to the spirit of its own time.”50

John Bacchus Dykes was born on 10th March 1823 in Hull and became de facto assistant organist at St John’s, Myton from the age of ten.51 He went up to Katherine Hall (now St. Catherine’s College) Cambridge in 1843, graduating BA in 1847 and MA in 1851.52 During his time at Cambridge, Dykes helped found the University Music Society and was sympathetic to the aims of John Mason Neale’s Cambridge Camden Society, although never became an official member.53 Dykes was ordained a priest in 1848 and moved to Durham in 1849, becoming vicar of St Oswald’s there in 1862, where he remained until his death, on 22nd January 1876 –– although not before his Anglo-Catholic leanings got him into hot water with his Evangelical Bishop.54

The Durham musicology professor, Jeremy Dibble, writes that

Dykes was thoroughly aware of the rich reservoir of continental harmonic innovation in the music of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Weber, Spohr, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and early Wagner and he had absolutely no compunction in using this developed harmonic vocabulary in his [hymn] tunes both as a colourful expressive tool and as a further means of musical integration.55

Clearly the Cambridge soundscape had altered significantly by the time Trinity College’s Ralph Vaughan Williams chose to replace Dykes’ tune for (Horatius Bonar’s) “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” with the Anglo-Irish, medieval folk-tune “Kingsfold,” in 1906.56

Vaughan Williams’ composition tutor, Charles Wood, likely played a significant role in this regard. Wood was born 15th June 1866 in Armagh, Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital, to a lay vicar of St Patrick’s Cathedral, also Charles, and his wife, Jemima. Wood was admitted to Selwyn College, Cambridge on 16th January 1888, before migrating to Gonville & Caius the following year, to become organ scholar there, graduating BA and Mus.Bac. in 1890; proceeding to MA, in 1894; and receiving his Mus.Doc. in 1895. He also composed the chime for the Caius clock.57

Wood made a “substantial contribution to Anglican church music” and is said to have “had a more beneficent and far-reaching effect on contemporary musical production than any other teacher” in late 19th-century Cambridge.58 As a founding member and vice-president of the Irish Folk-Song Society, and given “his utilization of metrical psalm tunes from Sternhold and Hopkins, the Genevan psalter, and plainchant” in his compositions –– not to mention his use of John Mason Neale’s translation “Sing My Tongue, The Glorious Battle,” as an opening chorale for his St Mark’s Passion –– Charles Wood acted as a conduit for the rustic, simpler, and more modal features of England’s musical past to reach the ears, and excite the aural taste buds, of Ralph Vaughan Williams. Wood died in Cambridge on (fittingly for an Ulster Protestant!) 12th July, 1926, and is buried in the Ascension Parish Cemetery on Huntingdon Road.59

After a year that has left Anglican parishes bereft of congregational hymn-singing, and English choral centers such as Cambridge bereft of college chapel evensong –– a year in which even St. Paul’s Cathedral in London has been threatened with the loss of its choir60 –– the need for the Church of England to gain a deeper awareness and appreciation of its hymnodic history is self-evident. What is perhaps less evident to most is the fact that this history calls into question aesthetically- or theologically-exclusivist claims for the “authentic purity” of any one musical tradition within Anglicanism.

Indeed, if the Church of England is serious about obeying the Scriptural command to “Sing unto the Lord a new song” (Ps. 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Is. 42:10), much prayer, discernment, imagination, and diligence will be required to shape –– like our aptly named John Masons –– spiritual songs of lasting value out of the granite and marble of words and music. And, in that endeavor, we should not be surprised if the misguided charismatic visionary, the meticulous Catholic scholar, musicians of greater and lesser note, and music of both concert hall and local pub, all have a key part to play.

1 “John Mason”, DNB &

2 Maurice, Henry (1695), An impartial account of Mr. John Mason of Water-Stratford, London, 5; Anonymous (1694), Some Remarkable Passages in the Life and Death of Mr. John Mason, London, 1-2.

3 Some Remarkable Passages, 3.

4 Ibid..

5 An impartial account, 8-9.

6 Some Remarkable Passages, 3 & 5.

7 “John Mason”, ODNB.

8 An impartial account, n.p..

9 Ibid., 7 & 27; Henry Maurice (1650-1699) was also a sizar at Cambridge, shortly after John Mason (1646?-1694), although at Christ’s College, as opposed to Clare Hall (now College), cf. “Henry Maurice”, ACAD & “John Mason”, ACAD.

10 Some Remarkable Passages, 6-7.

11 “John Mason”, ODNB.

12 An impartial account, 25.

13 “John Mason”, ACAD.

14 An impartial account, 26.

15 “John Mason”, ODNB; An impartial account, 26.

16 “John Mason”, ACAD. 17 “John Mason”, ODNB. 18 Ibid..

19 An impartial account, 13; Some Remarkable Passages, 5; john-mason/john-mason-hymns.


21 Towle, Elizabeth (1906), John Mason Neale, D.D.: A Memoir, London, 3.

22 Ibid..

23 Ibid., 3 & 5.


25 Towle, A Memoir, 1.

26 Ibid., 10-12.

27 Ibid., 26.

28 Ibid., 31.

29 A Memoir, 43.

30 Ibid., 48.

31 Ibid., 53.

32 Ibid., 56.

33 Ibid., 76.

34 Ibid., 83.

35 Ibid., 126.

36 Ibid., 95.

37 “John Mason Neale”, ACAD.

38 A Memoir, 317.

39 Ibid., 208.

40 A Memoir, 44.

41 Reed, John Shelton (2017), Glorious Battle: The Cultural Politics of Victorian Anglo-Catholicism, Chapel Hill, NC, 74.

42 Neale’s total 32, Wesley’s 28.

43 Reed, Glorious Battle, 74.

44 A Memoir, 331.

45 Ibid., 185.

46 No. 55, Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard, Full Music Edition, Beccles, 116-117. N.B. Neale attributed this hymn to St Andrew of Crete (660-732) in his 1862 Hymns of the Eastern Church, but no original Greek source has ever been found, prompting most scholars to assume Neale’s authorship (cf. This assumption is certainly open to challenge, but for present purposes I will go with the authorial attribution given in Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard.

47 “Beethoven”, OMO & Moscheles, Ignace (1841), The Life of Beethoven: Including His Correspondence with His Friends, Numerous Characteristic Traits, and Remarks on His Musical Works, Vol. II, London, 149-150.

48 Cory, Graham M. (2016), The Life, Works and Enduring Significance of The Rev. John Bacchus Dykes MA., MUS.DOC.: A Critical Re-appraisal, Unpublished PhD Thesis: Durham University, 289-90.

49 Times, 4 July 1958, 13.

50 Dykes, E.O. (1902), Hymn Tunes Composed By John Bacchus Dykes, Novello & Co.: London, vii.

51 “John Bacchus Dykes”, ACAD; Cory, The Rev. John Bacchus Dykes, 29 & 32.

52 “John Bacchus Dykes”, ACAD.

53 Ibid..

54 Ibid..

55 Dibble, Jeremy (2014), “John Bacchus Dykes”, in Watson, J.R. & Hornby, E. (eds), The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology.


57 “Charles Wood”, ACAD

58 “Charles Wood”, ODNB; “Charles Wood”, ACAD.

59 Ibid..



Peter Elliott

Peter Elliott is a scholar and musician currently based in Cambridge, England. He read Music for his bachelor’s degree at the University of Oxford from 2013-16 and holds an MMus in Musicology & Ethnomusicology from King’s College London. Prior to postgraduate study, Peter worked as a guitar teacher in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He is a Research Associate in Christian Humanities at the Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi Christian University and a PhD Candidate in Music at the University of Cambridge.

'John Mason & John Mason Neale: Anglican Hymnody’s Cambridge Connections' has 1 comment

  1. August 21, 2021 @ 2:15 pm J. Keith Wright

    As a Hull born person myself, it was good to read of a fresh appraisal of John Bacchus Dykes. Professor Arthur Hutchings who often invited me to play at St. Oswald’s (Harrison organ) whilst I was sojourned at the University in the late 50s, also wrote a fine appraisal of Dykes. Inter alia, he commented on the tune St. Oswald for “Through the night of doubt” This has a repetitive bass note, perhaps regarded as boring and dull by singers-Hutchings suggests that this alluded to a steady tramp of pilgrims. Hutchings also wrote of Dykes’ early ecumenical “Songs of Praise” a post Evensong event of hymn-singing which attracted worshippers of other churches in Durham City. This enterprise was also not to his Bishop’s liking!


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