Hymn books and hymnody

Methodism is famous for having been born in song, so we need to make especial mention of the various collections of hymnbooks, or telling the story of music within the Methodist tradition.

A representative sample of Methodist hymnbooks can be viewed following the links in Blasts from the past


The Methodist Archives and Research Centre have a fine collection of about 3,000 hymnbooks and associated texts, and these are described in the online guide at


These collections include a copy of the very first hymnbook compiled by John Wesley, published in Georgia in 1737.

Images of some important items in the collection may be viewed here http://luna.manchester.ac.uk/luna/servlet

Click on the link to the Non-conformist collections, and then search for hymns or hymn books.

Papers relating to the publication of the latest Methodist hymnbook Singing the Faith have been recently deposited in Manchester. The papers of the Convenor of the committee charged with compiling the book have been deposited in the University of Durham Special Collections, in the collection named after the significant twentieth century Methodist hymn writer, Rev. Fred Pratt Green.

A description of the Pratt Green Collection may be found here www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/collection_information/cldload/?collno=118

There is a link to the current catalogue. The material relating to Singing the Faith is Pratt Green MS 21, but the whole collection is of value to a student if hymn writing.

In Bristol, Charles Wesley's House is a Methodist Heritage site, and the home of the Hymnody project. The intention is to use this early home of the preeminent Methodist hymn writer to tell the story of hymn writing and this will be completed as part of the New Room's Horsefair Project by March 2017. An online timeline has been developed. http://hymnodytimeline.org.uk/

There is an excellent collection of early Primitive Methodist hymnbooks in the Englesea Brook Library.  http://service.modes.org.uk/enbpm/index.asp?page=index

This may include unique early editions of Hugh Bourne's hymns for camp meetings and revivals.


  • Singing the Faith


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