Sing Nowell - 51 Carols


Bibliographic Information


This book was published by Novello & Company, Sevenoaks, Kent. There is no publication date on the flyleaf, but the copyright statement on individual page suggests 1963.

It was edited by Louis Halsey and Basil Ramsey, and aims to be "a mid 20th century collection of the best in contemporary British carol writing and arrangement", with most material "within the range of a reasonably proficient choir".

A key feature is that the book suggests which carols are suitable for the feasts in the Advent and Christmas period, including the Annunciation, St Stephens Day, Holy Innocents, New Year and Epiphany.

It contains 52 works in total (two share a stave, giving the 51 in the title). Of these, 41 are in standard English, 7 combine Latin and English, and the others are a mix of early or middle English, and French/English combinations.

The book is now out-of-print, but copies are usually available on Amazon - UK


About the contents listing

Composer, author and copyright ownership are shown as they are recorded in the book, in accordance with this site's copyright policies.    This means that the copyright information is not necessarily correct today.

Detail  pages for some songs are linked from the titles, and more detail-pages will be added as time and copyright permissions allow..  They may include:
  • background information about the hymn, 
  • the full lyrics, 
  • downloadable PowerPoint slides of the words, 
  • sheet music (lead-sheet and/or guitar chords only), 
  • (links to) samples of the song.  

If you own the copyright to any of these carols, and would like to grant permission for items to be made available here, or to provide a link to sources where they are still available for sale, please contact us.


Table of Contents


Title (first-line) Number
A Babe is Born 1
A babe is born all of a may
Lyrics: Unknown - 15th century - Public domain
Tune: Peter Racine Fricker © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + piano
Language: Latin and English
A Child this Day is Born 2
A child this day is born, a child of high renown / Glad tidings to all men
Lyrics: Traditional - Public domain
Tune: David Barlow © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: Bm
Language: English
A Shepherd's Carol 3
O lift your little pinkie / O lift your little pinkie and touch the winter sky
Lyrics: W H Auden © W H Auden
Tune: Benjamin Britten © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Language: English
A Virgin Most Pure 6
A virgin most pure as the prophets do tell / Aye and therefore be merry, rejoice and merry
Lyrics: Traditional - Public domain
Tune: English tune - arranged by Brian Brockless © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: F
Language: English
Adam Lay yBounden 4
Adam lay ybounden, bounden in a bond
Lyrics: Unknown - 15th century ©
Tune: Boris Ord © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: Bm
Language: Old English
An Australian Carol 5
The thin distraction of a spider's web
Lyrics: James McAuley © Angus & Robertson Ltd
Tune: Malcolm Williamson © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Language: English
Words from "A Vision of Ceremony"
Angels from the Realms of Glory 7
Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o'er all the earth / Gloria in excelsis deo
Lyrics: J Montgomery - Public domain
Tune: French tune - arranged by Arthur Oldham © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: G
Language: Latin and English
Angelus ad Virginem 8
Gabriel,from heaven's king sent to the maiden sweete
Lyrics: Adapted by Raymond Warren ©
Tune: English tune - arranged by Raymond Warren © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: G
Language: Early English - modernised
Away in a Manger 9
Away in a manger no crib for a bed
Lyrics: Anonymous - Public domain
Tune: W J Kirkpatrick - arranged by Hugo Cole © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: G
Language: English
Balulalow 10
O my dear heart, young Jesus sweet
Lyrics: James, John and Robert Wedderburn © Novello and Co
Tune: Louis Halsey © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: F#m
Language: English
Blessed be that maid Mary 11
Blessed be that maid Mary, born he was of her body
Lyrics: Old English - modernized by G R Woodward © Novello and Co
Tune: English tune - arranged by Louis Halsey © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: Em
Language: English
Cherry Tree Carol, The 21
Joseph was an old man, and an old man was he
Lyrics: Traditional - Public domain
Tune: English tune - arranged by Peter Wishart © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: A
Language: English
Coventry Carol, The 37
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
Lyrics: 15th Century - from the Pageant of he Shearmen and Tailors, Coventry ©
Tune: English tune - arranged by John Rose © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: Gmin
Language: English
Ding Dong Merrily on High 12
Ding dong merrily on high / Gloria in excelsis deo
Lyrics: G R Woodward © SPCK
Tune: French tune - arranged by Malcolm Williamson © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: A
Language: English
From the Cambridge Carol Book
Dormi Jesu 15
Dormi Jesu, Mather ridet / Sleep sweet Jesus while thy mother smiles
Lyrics: Traditional - English translation by Peter Aston © Novello and Co
Tune: Peter Aston © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: F#min
Language: Latin and English
Eastern Monarchs 13
Eastern monarchs, sages three / Cum Virginae Maria
Lyrics: Latin 15th century, English translation anonymous - Public domain
Tune: Peter Naylor © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: F
Language: Latin and English
Ecce Puer 14
Of the dark past, a child is born
Lyrics: James Joyce © Society of Authors
Tune: Bernard Naylor © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Language: English
First Christmas, The 38
A star was his night-light, his quilt was the sky
Lyrics: Elizabeth Fleming © Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd
Tune: Peter Racine Fricker (1938) © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: Em
Language: English
From The Creepie-Stool
First Nowell, The 37
The first nowell the angel did say / Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell, born is the king
Lyrics: Traditional - Public domain
Tune: English tune - arranged by John Gardner © Not stated
Score: SATB + organ
Key: Dmin
Language: English
From heaven winging 16
From heaven winging, angels are singing
Lyrics: Traditional German - English translation by Lawrence Swinyard © Novello and Co
Tune: Hungarian tune arranged by Basil Ramsey ©
Score: SATB + organ
Key: G
Language: English
God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen 17
God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay / Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Lyrics: Traditional - Public domain
Tune: English tune - arranged by John Joubert - Public domain
Score: SATB + organ
Key: Em
Language: English
Good King Wenceslas 18
Good king Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Stephen
Lyrics: J M Neale © Not stated
Tune: Tune from Piae Cantiones - arranged by Malcolm Williamson © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Language: English
Here we bring new water 19
Here we bring new water from the well so clear
Lyrics: Anonymous © Not stated
Tune: Bernard Naylor © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: C
Language: English
Holly and the Ivy, The 40
The holly and the ivy are trees that's both well known / The rising of the sun, the running of the deer
Lyrics: Collected by Cecil Sharp © Novello and Co
Tune: English tune - arranged by Benjamin Britten © Boosey & Company Ltd
Score: SATB
Key: F
Language: English
Infant Holy 20
Infant holy, infant lowly, for his bed a cattle stall / Christ the babe is Lord of all
Lyrics: Traditional Polish - translated by Edith M Reed © Evans Bros.
Tune: Polish tune - arranged by Edmund Rubbra © Aldred Lengnick and Co Ltd
Score: SATB
Key: Fmin
Language: English
Infant King, The 41
Sing lullaby, lullaby baby now reclining
Lyrics: S Baring-Gould © J Curwen & Sons Ltd
Tune: Basque tune - arranged by Desond Ratcliffe © E H Freeman Ltd
Score: SATB
Key: F
Language: English
Let us Securely Enter / Entrez-y tous en sureté 22
Lyrics: French - Christin Prost (17th Century). English translation - Edmund Rubbra © Aldred Lengnick and Co Ltd
Tune: Edmund Rubbra - Opus 93 © Aldred Lengnick and Co Ltd
Score: SATB
Key: Amin
Language: French and English
Linden Tree, The 42
There stood in heav'n a linden tree
Lyrics: Joy Finzi © Novello and Co
Tune: German tune - arranged by Jeremy Dale Roberts © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: F
Language: English
Translated from German
Lord at first did Adam Make, The 43
The Lord at first did Adam make / Now let good Christians all begin, sins evil ways to shun
Lyrics: Traditional - Public domain
Tune: English tune - arranged by Arnold Cooke © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Key: F
Language: English
Lord Jesus Once was a Child 23
Lord Jesus once was a child like thee
Lyrics: Ronald Duncan © Eric Glass Ltd
Tune: Thomas Eastwood © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Language: English
For RNF
Lully Lulla 24
Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child
Lyrics: 15th Century - from the Pageant of he Shearmen and Tailors, Coventry ©
Tune: Kenneth Leighton - Opus 25, No 2 © Novello and Co
Score: Solo + SATB + accompaniment
Language: English
Nativity 25
And hark! The hearld angels sing tonight
Lyrics: W R Rodgers © W R Rodgers
Tune: Elisabeth Lutyens © Novello and Co
Score: Solo + organ
Language: English
Nowell, nowell tidings true / The Salutation Carol 26

Lyrics: 15th Century ©
Tune: English tune - arranged by Richard Rodney - Public domain
Score: SATB
Key: Amin
Language: English
O Leave Your Sheep 27
O leave your sheep, your lambs that follow
Lyrics: Alice Raleigh © Novello and Co
Tune: French tune - arranged by Kenneth Leighton © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: Dmin
Language: English
Translated from French
Old year now away is fled, The 50
The old year now away is fled, the New Year now is entered
Lyrics: Traditional - Public domain
Tune: Arranged by Alan Ridout © Novello and Co
Tune-name: GREENSLEEVES
Score: SATB
Language: English
Our Lady's Song 28
Jesu, swete sone dere! On porful bed list thou here
Lyrics: Anonymous - circa 1375 - Public domain
Tune: Nicholas Law © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + accompaniment
Language: Middle English
Out of Your Sleep Arise 29
Out of your sleep arise and wake / Glory to god, glory to god, glory to God in the highest
Lyrics: 14th Century ©
Tune: Anthony Milner © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: A
Language: Latin and English
Remember O thou man 30
Remember O thou man thy time is spent
Lyrics: Thomas Ravenscroft - Public domain
Tune: Arthur Oldham © Novello and Co
Score: Solo + SATB
Language: English
From Melismata, 1611
Rise up now, ye shepherds 31
Rise up now, ye shepherds, haste with joy to greet the morn / Glory in the highest, peace on earth we sing
Lyrics: French - Paraphrased from The Townley Mysteries ©
Tune: French tune - arranged by Alan Bush ©
Score: SATB
Language: English
Shepherds Come 32
Shepherds come, brothers come, from the hillside
Lyrics & tune: Neil Saunders © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + accompaniment
Language: English
Shepherds shake off your drowsy sleep 33
Shepherds shake off your drowsy sleep / Sing noel, oh sing noel
Lyrics: Anonymous ©
Tune: Besancon tune - arranged by Bernard Naylor © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Language: English
Translated from French
Silent Night 34
Silent night, holy night
Lyrics: W G Rothery © Not stated
Tune: Franz Gruber - arranged by Alan Ridout © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Language: English
Star Song, The 36
Tell us, thou clear and heavenly tongue
Lyrics: Robert Herrick ©
Tune: Adrian Cruft, Opus 42 © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Language: English
Sweet was the Song 35
Sweet was the song the virgin sang
Lyrics: William Ballet - Public domain
Tune: John Rose © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Language: English
Lyrics from Lute Book - 17th century
There is no rose of such virtue 44
There is no rose of such virtue as the rose that bore Jesu, alleluia.
Lyrics: Medieval - Public domain
Tune: John Joubert - Opus 14 © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + accompaniment
Key: Fmin
Language: English
Thou Whom Shepherds Worshipped / Quem pastores 45
Lyrics: C S Phillips © Proprietors of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Tune: German tune - arranged by Desmond Ratcliffe © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: G
Language: Latin and English
Translated from German
Twas in the year that King Uzziah died 46
Lyrics: G R Woodward © SPCK
Tune: Arranged by Geoffrey Bush © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Based on: Isaiah I
Language: English
From the Cambridge Carol Book
Until I wander'd 47
Until I wandered thru the world I did not know
Lyrics: Herbert Read © Herbert Read and Faber & Faber Ltd
Tune: Alan Ridout © Novello and Co
Score: SATB
Language: English
Unto Us is Born a Son 48
Unto us is born a son, king of quires supernal
Lyrics: G R Woodward © A R Mowbray Ltd
Tune: Arranged by Thomas Eastwood © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: D
Language: English
From Piae Cantiones, 1582. English translation from the Cowley Carol Book.
We Three Kings 49
We three kings of Orient are / Oh, star of wonder star of night
Lyrics: J H Hopkins, 1857 - Public domain
Tune: J J Hopkins - arranged by Richard Drakeford © Novello and Co
Score: SATB + organ
Key: G
Language: English
What Child is This 50
What child is this who on Mary's lap
Lyrics: 17th century - Public domain
Tune: Arranged by Alan Ridout © Novello and Co
Tune-name: GREENSLEEVES
Score: SATB
Language: English
When Christ was Born of Mary Free 51
When Christ was born of Mary free / In excelsis gloria
Lyrics: Anonymous, 15th century ©
Tune: John Gardner, Opus 55 © Novello and Co
Score: Melody line - verses. 2-part chorus
Key: C
Language: Latin and English

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