John Speller's Web Pages The shining heralds from on high

John Speller's Web Pages - Cornish Carols
The shining heralds from on high
The second, third and fifth stanzas of a carol, "Hark! all around the welkin rings," published by Davies Gilbert in Some Ancient Christmas Carols (1823). This version was published by William Tangye (1816-1893), collector of taxes in Redruth in 1869. Mr. Tangye wrote:

"The above Cornish carol, never before published, was found amongst several very old and delapidated MSS, partly undecipherable and brown with age. It was set in four separate clefs for musical instruments or voices and has been rearranged by the writer in short score. In the original MS age had caused two or three measures to be uncertain, but whilst the music was being played casually in the hearing of an elderly Cornish gentleman, he recognised it immediately as having heard it sung when a boy. With his aid, by singing it over, the uncertain notes were verified and restored. From the repetition of the words, the ancient appearance of the MS, and by the fact that three persons of advanced ages have heard it sung 50 or 60 years ago in Perranporth, Nancekuke and Stythians districts, it appears probable that it was sung in West Cornwall at a much earlier period than the great majority of Cornish carols at present in use, and it is unfortunate that the name of the composer has been lost. Valuable assistance has been given by Mr. H. Dennis, organist of Redruth Wesley Chapel, who has looked through the carol and made some necessary corrections relative to the laws of harmony. At the same time every possible care has been taken to preserve the characteristics of a typical Cornish Carol. It may be added that the last chord should be sustained somewhat longer than usual, in accordance with the ancient style of singing carols in Cornwall."

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Wesleyan Chapel (now Wesley United Methodist Church), Redruth, circa 1870, showing the fine organ built by William Sweetland of Bath in 1857, and still happily preserved
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