On some occasions the tune of a hymn comes into being before the words. Francis Jackson composed ‘East Acklam’ in 1957—when he was the organist at York Minster—to be sung at a reunion service of old choristers, for the words ‘God that madest earth and heaven’. He named it after the village in Yorkshire where he lived. It was printed in the Methodist Supplement Hymns and Songs
in 1969, but was not taken up until Fred Pratt Green, then becoming known as one of our leading hymn-writers, wrote this harvest hymn for it. The words were published in The Methodist Recorder
in August 1970 and used all over the country because of their freshness and realism. They were recognized as what we need to be singing at our harvest-thanksgiving services today. The author takes the three short lines of the tune and uses them for a refrain; he takes the three successive long lines to build up the message of the words, holding them back in the last verse for the climax of the tune on ‘Love has found us’.
from notes by Alan Luff © 1999