[Bell Historians] Ellacombe

John Camp camp at b...
Sat May 29 23:15:34 BST 2004

At 17:36 on 28 May 2004, Michael Childs wrote:
> I know Eastertide is drawing to a close and Easter
> Sunday seems a long time ago,  but does anyone know
> why the hymn tune "Ellacombe" is thus called?

> The tune is of German origin and first appeared in the
> Wurtemburg Gesangbuch. I have often wondered if the
> name had anything to do with Mr Ellacombe himself.

At 20:10 on 29 May 2004, David Cawley wrote:
> I understand that it was given its present name after the Devon
> village of Ellacombe (now a suburb of Torquay).

The version we sing first appeared in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1868,
as the tune for "Come, Sing with Holy Gladness" . The arrangement of
the German original was made by William Henry Monk, who edited the
first edition of A&M. It seems reasonable to speculate that it was he
who named it Ellacombe. One could further speculate that he would be
more likely to name a tune after a place than a person. He names tunes
Beverley, Melton Mowbray, Peterborough, Ravenshaw and Wells, for
example (though he did name one Wordsworth, after the author of the

When did people start singing "Why was he born so beautiful" to

John Camp

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