THREE MANUSCRIPT HYMN BOOKS BY JOHN HALE FOR GREAT BOURTON CHAPEL

Scope and Content

These books were given to Oxfordshire Archives in 1993 via Banbury Museum, and assigned the Accession Number 3727.

The music in these books consists entirely of hymn tunes (with the exception of MS/1). More information about their contents is given below. Many tunes are common to all three books, and they were all written in the same hand, so it seems likely that they formed a set of books, for several people to use at once.

There is no explicit information in the books concerning their use. However, the depositors, in whose family the books had stayed for many years thought that they were connected with Bourton

Chapel. This seems very likely. MS/1 is dated 1834, and the writer, John Hale, identifies himself as coming from Great Bourton. At that time, the Anglican chapel there were out of action, but there was a flourishing Nonconformist Chapel (see Vol. X [Banbury Hundred] of the Victoria County History for Oxfordshire, pp.182-3). Furthermore, many of the tunes bear titles like 'Justification', 'Happiness', or 'Grace Triumphant', which would seem more appropriate for a Noncomformist than an Anglican congregation. Nonetheless, some of the tunes, especially in MS/1, and the anthems also in there, are quite difficult and could only have been sung by a choir, which was uncommon in Noncomformist chapels.

Catalogued by Robin Darwall-Smith in September 1994.

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Geographical Names