Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Colin's Little Known Facts: Carol Written for Daughter as a Prese

“Christians Awake”, the splendid Christmas carol that you may well sing on Christmas morning, has an interesting story behind it.

It was written by Dr John Byrom, a fairly prominent resident of the Manchester area who invented an early form of shorthand.

As so many parents have done over the years, he asked his daughter Dorothy what she would like for Christmas. She couldn’t really think of anything, so after a bit of dithering she said “Oh, write me a song”.

And so it was that on Christmas morning 1749 Dr Byrom sang “Christians Awake” to his daughter.

Exactly a year later, the Stockport parish church choir turned up outside Dr Byrom’s house and sang it to him and his household. I hope it wasn’t too early.

The story of “Christians Awake” is one of many that I tell during the “Ding Dong Merrily on High” talk which I give to groups.