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Hills of the north, rejoice – Little Cornard

First line:
Hills of the north, rejoice
author of text
adapted 1970s

Charles Oakley, lawyer and clergyman, wrote this unique hymn in the mid-nineteenth century, expressing the Advent message of the coming of Christ to all four corners of the compass. It became popular, and then irresistible, when in 1915 Martin Shaw published for it his leaping tune ‘Little Cornard’. Tune and words became inseparable. But by the middle of the twentieth century the text’s patronizing attitude to people of other lands made it difficult to use. For example, how could ‘Shores of the utmost west’ be called ‘unvisited, unblest’? A skilful rewriting in the 1970s is often preferred for today’s use, retaining the call of the first four lines, with answer of the final couplet that is so clearly reflected in the tune.

Martin Shaw was immensely influential in the world of theatre and education as well as serving as organist of a number of London churches and writing and editing much church music. He named the tune after the village in Suffolk where he spent his honeymoon.

from notes by Alan Luff © 2002


The English Hymn, Vol. 3 - Hills of the north, rejoice
CDP12103Archive Service
The Hymns Album
Studio Master: SIGCD079Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 1 on CDP12103 [2'52] Archive Service
Track 13 on SIGCD079 [3'11] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDP12103 track 1

Recording date
19 June 2002
Recording venue
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. The English Hymn, Vol. 3 - Hills of the north, rejoice (CDP12103)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: September 2002
    Deletion date: September 2016
    Archive Service
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