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The following is a selection of books which contain information about the background to certain hymns – stories about how they came to be written, what inspired them and what part they have played in Christian worship:

Note: These books are not available for sale from this site. They are listed here for information purposes only.

  • A Dictionary of Hymnology (John Julian: John Murray, London 1892, with second Revised Edition 1907)
  • A panorama of Christian hymnody (Erik Routley; Paul Richardson, GIA, 2005)
  • A Short Companion to ‘Hymns and Songs’ 1969 (John Wilson, Methodist Church Music Society, 1969)
  • Abide with me, The World of Victorian Hymns (Ian Bradley: SCM, 1997)
  • An Annotated Anthology of Hymns (J.R.Watson: OUP, 2002)
  • Awake My Soul, Reflections on Thirty Hymns (J.R. Watson: SPCK, 2005)
  • Christian Hymns Observed (Erik Routley:  Prestige Publications,1982)
  • Companion to Congregational Praise (Independent Press Ltd, 1953)
  • Companion to Hymns and Psalms (MPH, 1988)
  • Companion to Rejoice and Sing (Canterbury Press/URC, 1999)
  • Companion to Church Hymnal 5th edn (Edward Darling and Donald Davison: Columba Press, 2005)
  • Companion to Christian Hymns (Cliff Knight: Evangelical Movement of Wales, 1994)
  • Companion to Sing Alleluia (Wesley Milgate: Australian Hymn Book pty Ltd, Sydney, 1988)
  • Companion to the School Hymn-book of the Methodist Church (W.S. Kelynack: Epworth Press, 1950)
  • Companion to the Song Book of the Salvation Army (Gordon Taylor: The Salvation Army, 1989)
  • Exploring Praise! Vol 1 –  Companion to Praise! (Christopher Idle: Praise Trust, 2006)
  • Famous Hymns and Their Stories (Christopher Idle: Lion 1987)
  • Favourite Hymns (Marjorie Reeves, Jenyth Worsley: Continuum, 2001)
  • Handbook to the Church Hymnary (1927 edition) (ed. James Moffatt and Millar Patrick: OUP, 1935)
  • Handbook to the Church Hymnary Third Edition (ed. John M. Barkley: OUP, 1979)
  • Historical Companion to Hymns Ancient and Modern (Wm Clowes, 1962)
  • Hymns and Human Life (Erik Routley: John Murray, 1952)
  • Hymns and the Faith (Erik Routley: John Murray, 1955)
  • Hymns for Today Discussed (Cyril Taylor: Canterbury Press/RSCM, 1984)
  • Hymns in Christian Worship (H.A.L. Jefferson: Rockliff, London,1950)
  • New Church Praise Commentary (Peter Cutts: United Reformed Church, 1981)
  • Songs of Praise Discussed (Percy Dearmer: OUP, 1933)
  • Songs of the People of God  – Companion to the Australian Hymn Book (Wesley Milgate: The Australian Hymn Book Pty. Ltd, 1982)
  • The Baptist Hymn Book Companion (Hugh Martin, E.P. Sharpe et al: Psalms and Hymns Trust, 1962)
  • The Daily Telegraph Book of Hymns (Ian Bradley: Continuum, 2005)
  • The English Carol (Erik Routley: Herbert Jenkins Ltd, 1958)
  • The English Hymn: a Critical and Historical Study (J.R. Watson, Clarendon Press, 1997)
  • The Hymn Lover (W. Garrett-Horder: J. Curwen & Sons Ltd, 1889)
  • The Nation’s Favourite Hymns (Andrew Barr: Lion, 2002)
  • The New Methodist Hymn-Book Illustrated In History and Experience (John Telford: Epworth Press, 1934)
  • The New Oxford Book of Carols OUP, 1992)
  • The Penguin Book of Hymns (ed. Ian Bradley: Viking 1989/Penguin Books 1990)

Note:  The Revd Gordon Giles writes a Hymn Meditation for each edition of Church Music Quarterly (the RSCM magazine) providing background information about the hymn’s origin and meaning. Dee Moss does a similar thing on the ‘Music Makers’ page in The Methodist Recorder.

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