Sussex Carol / On Christmas Night all Christians Sing

This Christmas hymn was first published by 17th-century Irish bishop, Luke Wadding, in "Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs" (1684). It not known if he wrote the song or simply collected it from an earlier work.

The tune which it is usually sing to was written down by both Cecil Sharp in Buckland, Gloucestershire and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who heard it being sung by a Harriet Verrall of Monk's Gate, near Horsham, Sussex (hence the name SUSSEX CAROL). Vaughan Williams first published an arrangement of it in 1919.


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Choir with gentle organ accompaniment, on-screen lyrics:

Four part choir, with piano and chamber orchestra:

Large choir with piano, concert performance:

Duet with guitar:

Male voice choir with organ:

Instrumental - harp, lute and guitar:


On Christmas night all Christians sing,
To hear what news the angels bring.
News of great joy, cause of great mirth,
Good tidings of the Saviour's birth.

Angels with joy sing in the air,
No music may with theirs compare;
While prisoners in their chains rejoice
To hear the echoes of that voice.

So how on earth can men be sad,
When Jesus comes to make us glad;
From sin and hell to set us free,
And buy for us our liberty?

Let sin depart, while we His grace,
And glory see in Jesus' face;
For so shall we sure comforts find
When thus this day we bear in mind.

And from the darkness we have light,
Which makes the Angels sing this night:
"Glory to God, His peace to men,
Both now and evermore." Amen.

ABC Notation:

Ref:  What is ABC

T:Sussex Carol
O:Geographical origin
Z:abc-transcription ,
d|d2 B c2 d| BA G A2|
w:1~~~On Christ-mas night all Chr-ist-ians sing
w:2~~~An-gels with joy sing in_ the air,
w:3~~~Then why should men on earth be so sad
w:4~~~Let sin de-part, while we_ His grace,
w:5~~~And from the dark-ness we_ have light,
FG2G AB c | B2 A1 G2 |
w:1~~~to hear the news_ the an-gels bring. an-gels bring.
w:2~~~No music_ may_ with theirs com-pare;
w:3~~~since our re-de-em-er makes us glad.
w:4~~~And glory_ see_ in Jesus'_ face;
w:5~~~Which makes the angels__ sing this night:
d|d2 B c2 d| BA G A2|
w:1~~~News of great joy, cause of_ great mirth
w:2~~~While prison-ers in their chains_ rejoice_
w:3~~~When from our sin he set_ us free,
w:4~~~For so shall we sure comforts__ find
w:5~~~"Glo-ry to God, And peace_ to men,
FG2G AB c | B2 A1 G3 |
w:1~~~Good tid-ings of_ the Sav-iour's birth
w:2~~~To hear the echoes__ of that voice.
w:3~~~All for to gain_ our li-ber-ty.
w:4~~~When thus this day_ we bear in mind.
w:5~~~Both now and ev-er--more." A-men.
"^Chorus"A3 A2 G | AB c d c B | A6 |
w:~~~News of great joy_ news of_ great mirth
d3 e3 | d3 c2 B | AG AG2|]
w:~~~News of our glo-rious__ king's birth.

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